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A true hero of Seychelles is remembered

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Gerard Hoarau
Gerard Hoarau

Family and friends gathered at the English graveside of Seychellois hero Gerard Hoarau to pay tribute to his memory. Prayers and a blessing were given by Father Roberts at the New Brentford Cemetery in Hounslow, Middlesex.

Sadness: Family and friends at the graveside of Gerard Hoarau
Sadness: Family and friends at the graveside of Gerard Hoarau

Gerard, the popular leader of the Seychellois National Movement, was assassinated outside his North London home just after 10am on Friday, 29th November, 1985. He had decided to walk the few hundreds yards to his doctor's surgery for an appointment and was shot as he approached the front door of the house at Greencourt Avenue.

News of this barbaric act shocked Seychellois communities throughout the world.

A message from Gerard’s younger brother Ralph was read at the Blessing by Josette and Alison Hoarau. These are the words:

Flowers in tribute: Gerard's grave in Middlesex
Flowers in tribute: Gerard's grave in Middlesex
Message for the Blessing

We remember like it was only yesterday, when we had all gathered here in May 1986 to lay Gerard to rest, far, far away from the land of his birth and his people, a land and people that he loved with a passion that perhaps none of us will ever understand. This place was awash then with floral tributes to our fallen hero. Since then much has happened and much has changed.

Many of those who made up that large gathering that day are themselves no longer with us, but what has not changed is the love and dedication to Gerard shown by those that I call his extended family.

Gerard touched many lives and many of those transcended the boundaries of mere friendship, they became part of his family. Ever since Gerard was cruelly taken away from us, his extended family have gathered, without fail, on the 29th of November to pay tribute and honour the memory of their beloved brother. Today, 29 years since that fateful day here we are again considerably older, braving the cold weather, but still our love for him has never diminished, if anything it has grown.

This dedication by us, his brothers and sisters, sends a clear and unequivocal message to those who thought that by killing him, they would silence him and kill his ideals. On the contrary Gerard continues to speak through us in many different ways and his message of freedom and justice in Seychelles resonates as clearly today as it did when he walked among us, which keeps alive the famous words once said by our brother, “you may kill me but you will never kill the idea of freedom”.

We will never bow to tyranny!

Thank you all for coming today and in particular, a special thank you to Lewis, Juliana and Doris who organised this very poignant event.

Remembrance: Alison Hoarau at the ceremony.
Remembrance: Alison Hoarau at the ceremony.
Poignant: Josette Hoarau reads the message sent by Gerard's brother
Poignant: Josette Hoarau reads the message sent by Gerard's brother

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