Friday, January 22, 2010

Summary Execution: The Penalty for the Alleged Theft of Five Bags of Rice in Haiti.

File Under: Epic Failure of Humanity

If this were not Haiti, one could comment that now human rights violations begin, however, this is Haiti. Therefore, it would be more appropriate to say human rights violations resume, and of course, Westerners are on hand to record this young man’s last moments on Earth and the aftermath of human wreckage. Somehow, I get the distinct feeling that the investigation into this kid’s murder will receive the same diligence as the investigation into his alleged looting and the same attention as his dead corpse.

This news story makes one sad to be human on three accounts. First, for the fact this man had to die. Due process and police discretion would have been sufficient to save his life even had he decided to place it at risk by violating the law. However, it is unclear if he broke the law at all and if he did to what degree. Secondly, independent Haiti has been sitting in our shadow, a stone’s throw from our shores for near 100 years. That it takes a gross loss of life and tremendous suffering for Haiti to make the news is madness. Finally, that this young man did not receive the courtesy to die in quiet dignity but rather had to have his final moments recorded, broadcast to the world, and sensationalized. If journalists truly want to “help,” get witness statements, apply pressure to wounds, and rescue some people. When it is over, apply unrelenting pressure to the authorities. Do not video record a man bleeding to death and tell the world he is bleeding to death.

WARNING: For anyone following this link, the attendant video clip is graphic compared to anything you have ever likely seen on the 6 O’clock news.

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