Saturday, July 16, 2005


Your tax dollars at work in the lives of Haitian women and children

(Please note that the post below on the arrest of Khalid, not Riverbend, has been corrected.) Phoenix Woman asked for photos of injuries caused by security forces in Haiti to be posted as they become available. The article from which this comes is at describes an operation in a residential section of Port au Prince called Belair on June 29th (distinct from the apparently much larger operation in Cite Soleil on July 6th). Someone with better French can say whether the boy's story is included (I think it is not). And someone with better experience with battlefield medicine can tell me whether this is a shrapnel injury as might result from tank fire or a gunshot wound. It is very dangerous for correspondents to operate in Haiti, and even more so for native Haitians who filmed the incursion on Cite Soleil, so the film is coming out slowly. The following images are from the website of Marc Parent At upper left is one-year old Nelson Romelus, killed by the same bullet that killed his mother. Gunshot wounds are never pretty. Sometimes they are necessary. Without knowing the precise circumstances, one hesitates to judge troops. But it is difficult to see why arresting a so-called "gang leader" would require killing a mother and child. There are sufficiently specific allegations of firing on civilians to open an inquiry. The failure to do so, indeed the failure of even human rights organizations to respond speaks volumes of what we think about the value of Haitian life.
Charles: Thank you for bringing these evidentiary photos to our attention. You are right -- there is no excuse for shooting children and infants.

Of course, if this news percolates beyond the handful of progressive sites discussing it, the current régime will try to blame these deaths on pro-Aristide forces. But that's going to be quite difficult to do. So our media, which follow's Bush's lead -- and Bush wanted Aristide's removal and replacement with the current junta -- is not saying much of anything, since it can't be blamed on Aristide.
This lack of interest in Haiti has been going on for a century, PW.

A relative happened to be in Geneva in the early part of the last century and looked at the records of US intervention in 1915-1934. Even by the standards of the day, the US occupation was brutal.

It was this occupation, among other American interventions, that led General Smedley Butler to equate war with organized crime.
Good to see that the Haitian disaster is getting plenty of attention. But you might like to know that the images were taken from the World Crisis Web - to be precise.

Anyway, keep spreading the word.
Thanks for the clarification, Danny. I try to credit people who do this kind of newsgathering because I understand that such pictures are obtained at great personal cost. The least we can do is give them credit.
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