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Posted September 28, 2010
|Nestor Isidor, a Former Haiti
Governor, the Father
Nestor Isidor, the father of this publication's executive editor, Professor Yves
A. Isidor, died early Saturday evening at the Dexter House Nursing Facility, in
the nearby north of Boston small working class city of Malden. He was 96.
|of Professor Yves A. Isidor,
Died. Aged 96
Mr. Isidor, immediately after he successfully met all the requirements for a
degree in Haitian law, in Haiti's capital city of Port-au-Prince, in the early
1940s, at the urging of his mother, he returned to his adopted town of Les Anglais (he was born in the nearby
town of Port-Salut in 1914, and one year before the United States first occupied
Haiti), south of Haiti, to assume the very demanding
responsibilities of her conglomerate. The purchasing of dried coffee beans, mostly
from peasants, for resale to
plantations and other diverse types of plantations, a
retail store, a boat, and a few commercial buildings, both in Les Anglais (it
was founded by British colonists in 1774) and
Haiti's capital city of Port-au-Prince, were the many industries his mother,
commonly, respectuously referred to as Madame Simeda Val, who died in 1959, at
the venerable age of 88, savvily invested in.
|Nestor Isidor in an undated photo.
It is because Mr. Isidor was indisputably a Haitian provincial bourgeois, a man
of culture many Haitian presidents - from Durmasais Estimé
to Paul Eugene Magloire to Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier - happily visited his
grand home. There were eloquent speeches, all in French, fallowed by sumptuous receptions. So, too, the many army generals and other
dignitaries who visited unannounced never left a dime behind. As they say in the
American vernacular, maybe it is because they were all cheap. So much his first wife,
the intellectually curious, the generally well-liked Hermante "Ayante" Philippeaux (the
mother of Professor Yves A. Isidor), who had an elegant presence in her husband's
life, and who expired on August 4, 1965, at the premature
age of 41, after long suffering from breast cancer, liked the name that occurred
first in President Magloire's wife given name, Yolette, she did not hesitate to name her first
daughter after her.
In Haiti, if you were not a public servant or somehow affiliated with the
dictatorship of Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier you could easily be perceived to
be an enemy of the retrograde government. Often, that meant a no-return from
the largely dilapidated Fort Dimanche - the murderous dictatorship notorious prison, where approximately
55,000 Haitians died from malnutrition, tuberculosis, torture, to name only
|Hermante Philippeaux Isidor, the mother of Professor
Yves A. Isidor, who had an elegant presence in
her husband's life, in an undated photo.
Yet, like many other Haitians who did not want their lives to be sadly
terminated, during the 1980s Mr. Isidor unwillingly accepted the prestigious post of prefect (literally,
governor). That appointment, in fact, came long after he was the mayor of his
town. But in the months that preceded his nomination, life was not a happy one
at all. He was taken out of the circulation by a Duvalier's second in command Tonton Macoute
(dictator François "Papa Doc" Duvalier's unpaid
personal police force; it was given virtual license to torture, kill, and
extort) chief named Baltherlmy, in the
other nearby town of Roche-à-Bateaux,
on the accusation that he raised his voice when he was talking to Mr. the
big commander who stopped his public transport bus and placed its driver, Jean,
under arrest. The basis for Mr. Jean's lost of liberty was that he did not remit
to a resident of that town a few Haitian gourdes (Haiti's currency; it was first
introduced in 1813, replacing the livre) sent by a
family member who resided in Port-au-Prince. The future governor, but timid, and his detained
driver regained their liberty only after a series of
unjust fines were paid - 50 Haitian gourdes for disrespecting authorities, 30 Haitian gourdes for
the complaint filed against the driver, and the reduced sum of 40 Haitian gourdes sent
to the inhabitant in Roche-à-Bateaux. Overall, 3.02
US dollar, at today's exchange rate of 39.75 percent.
What is more, behind every mountain is another mountain, is a famous Haitian
expression. Never assume the power that is vested in you, of relating
to terrorizing the citizenry or spreading terror, is or cannot be surpassed, in
scale, by that of someone else. Consider a Voodoo priest who was tortured by Mr. Batherlemy. In the aftermath of so, his victim was said to have placed a curse
on him, and he later died from complications from an unknown disease.
Mr. Isidor was
never something of a profiteer. That certainly left home for many to conclude
that he did not personally benefit financially, nor did he also, indirectly or directly,
assist in the pillaging of the small, dirt-poor tropical nation of Haiti's public niggardly purse, by way
of his position of prefect. It is because of so many friends were reassured that
he occupied that senior post only for protection or to protect himself from
government abuse. Still, his affiliation with the government produced a revolt
within his own family. His daughter Yolette found it difficult to accept that the father
she loved so much, the one she was not inclined to see his reputation shattered,
was a Duvalier's senior official. A few days before February 7, 1986, when Baby
Doc finally fled Haiti like a mouse running away from a cat, the anti-Duvalier
daughter had a few unpleasant words for her father. "Your trash is finally
living," a reference to the man, the junior Duvalier, who like his father, the always bloodthirsty
long deceased François "Papa Doc" Duvalier
(he and Stalin were nearly murderous in measure), called
himself president for life.
Yolette's other words were certainly not meant to be a volte face. In fact, there
are explanations for so. A few years before the forced departure of the tyrant, while conversing
with her brother, Professor, Yves A. Isidor, with the help of a telephone, she had a few nice and derogatory words,
tough indirectly, for the late Dr. Roger Lafontant, a supreme Tonton Macoute
chief and minister of interior, who a few years later (on September 30, 1991)
some fatal shots would be pumped into his corpulent body while incarcerated after an
attempted coup against then President-elect Jean-Bertrand Aristide, allegedly on
the order of the latter, whose tumultuous presidency a few hours later, by way of a
bloody coup d'état, would become a thing of the past, after barely seven months
in office. "J'adhore ce monsieur, parlant de Dr. Roger
Lafontant; il parle Français, la langue de Voltaire,
très bien; c'est ce genre d'homme que j'aimerais
avoir comme mari; c'est domage q'il est Macoute," (I adhore this man, referring
to Dr. Roger Lafontant; he speaks French, the language of Voltaire, very well;
this is the type of man that I certainly would like to have as husband;
too bad he is a Macoute).
|Yolette Isidor, the anti-macoute daughter.
Really? There is no question that for many Dr. Lafontant was a man of extreme cruelty.
It is because of so, not that he was of the European race or white, that Haitian
human rights and democracy activists rather referred to him as Haiti's Dr. Josef
Mengele - a reference to the German Nazi doctor who was influenced by the racial
ideology of Alfred Rosenberg. The ardent Nazi doctor who selected incoming Jews
for labor or extermination, conducted medical experiments on inmates in
pseudoscientific racial studies, would later become to be known as the "Angels
of Death." He died in Brazil, in 1979, decades after he fled his World War II
shattered Germany. But ironically, it was the Haitian Dr. Mengele who chastised Madame Max Adolphe (Rosalie Bosquet), who
discontinued her medical studies to first become a Fillette Lalo (female Tonton
Macoute) for verbally threatening the life of Mr. Isidor during a visit to
Haiti's Department of Interior. "Prefect, I heard that you are harassing my Tonton Macoutes in Les Anglais; if you don't stop, I will be forced to fix you,"
she arrogantly told him. What exactly she meant by the harassment of her macoutes? Mr. Isidor, a man who always proudly spoke of "generational
responsibilities," for example, respect for human rights, that guided his
decisions as prefect, should not feel obliged to prevent those who were in
position of responsibility from abusing members of the general population. "Rosalie, écoute, il ne faut pas parler ainsi
á monsieur Isidor; c'est un homme
qui respecte tout le monde," or "Rosalie, listen, you do not talk this way to Mr. Isidor; this is a man who respects everybody,"
he calmly told her.
Also talk more about the Tonton Macoutes (one of the 20th century's greatest
barbarisms) who sometimes publicly hanged the corpses of
their victims as warnings, leaving millions of citizens in fearful solitude.
Before Mr. Isidor became governor he was also the victim of a series of
government extortion acts. The supreme Tonton Macoute commander, Astrel Benjamin,
also known as Casa (his tortionnaire nickname); ABCD, meaning Astrel Benjamin
(the semi-illiterate, the rapist was based in Les Cayes, the Caribbean nation's third largest city), who was
in charge of Haiti's south department (state), usually arrived
unannounced at his house in the middle of the night and demanded thousands of
dollars. Even an apparent no-answer was sufficient enough for him to be accused
of being against the government and sent to Fort Dimanche to die shortly after his
Besides his son, Professor Yves A. Isidor, he is survived by his second wife, Marie Antoine Isidor;
his daughters, Marjorie Isidor Edmund and Lucienne Isidor Doyleyres; his sons, Jeanner
Isidor, Jean Moreno Océ, Carmelle Océ, Paul Thelemarque,
Robert Anglade, and Brunel Estimé; and a multitude of grand
children and one great-grand child.
Mr. Isidor's wake will take place Sunday, from 4:00 to 8:00 PM, at the Doherthy
Funeral Home, 855 Broadway (not too far from Davis Square), in Somerville,
Massachusetts. His funeral will be Monday, at 10:00 AM, at the Haitian Seventh
Day Adventist Church, 575 Main Street (in Malden Center), Malden. His lifeless
body will ultimately be interred at the nearby Holy Cross Mausoleum, in Malden, where a final
adieu will be said to a man, who in life, like the mother of Professor Yves A. Isidor,
was the never-said-no-micro-credit bank of an immeasurably number of peasants
and others - for funeral services, school tuition, to cite only these ones.
God also proceeded to form the man named Nestor Isidor out of dust from the
ground and to blow into his nostrils the breath of life, to paraphrase Gen. 2:7,
and then his body, not his soul that refers to the theoretical entity that
exists inside, has now permanently departed us. Like his long deceased children - Marc Joe Isidor, Yolette Isidor, and Pierre
Claudelle Isidor Sinjour - may he rest in peace. Amen!
For more information, please call 617-852-7672.
By way of electronic mail:
|Wehaitians.com, the scholarly journal of
democracy and human rights