Saturday, December 16, 2006

Kidnapping II

Here are a few more points about the kidnappings.

The kidnappings terrorize the rich and the poor. No class of people has been immune from being snatched. The kidnapping of children to this degree is a new phenomenon.

One of our Haitian Hearts patients called his host family in the United States and asked them to encouraged us to go home, as he was worried about our safety. Our little commitment asleep on the mattress prevents us from doing this. We stay in a safe place, so that's good.

The kidnappings get a lot more media coverage than the kids dying quietly in the slums. Unless the hospital morgue workers put out their bodies in a courtyard to protest their low wages, which happened this week at the General Hospital in Port-au-Prince.

The kidnappings hurt Haiti beyond the immediate victims. People don't want to come here or invest here when they learn about the crime. The kidnappings really hurt the economy.

There are all kinds of theories about why there are kidnappings. One is that the powerful people who control the drugs that move easily through Haiti want to keep the country unstable and the law enforcement corrupt and disorganized so they are allowed to conduct business as usual.

One of Wyclef Jean's workers was snatched. At the concert that Jean put on in Jacmel a few weeks ago, he pled for the release of his employee. The man was released, and this is what one of his captors had to say about kidnapping. "We freed the journalist after considering how much effort Wyclef is doing to help our sisters and brothers in the forgotten ghettos," said a captor who called himself the "Commander." "I don’t like what I’m doing, but I don’t think I have an alternative for the time being," said the Commander, who has three children himself. "Sometimes I really want to stop...I wish I could have a normal life. We also have feelings." Many of the gang members have had terrble lives and now resort to doing terrible things themselves.


kjn469 said...

I'm going to Haiti myself in July for 6 weeks. I'm a 20 year old nursing student and hope to offer any assistance that I can while I stay at a creche (infant care center). It has always been in my heart to help Haiti, but my family is discouraging me from going. They have of course heard of the kidnappings and fear for my safety. I too worry sometimes, but I know this is what I am supposed to be doing. Do you have any advice for me?

Maria Carroll said...

There are different kinds of risks in traveling to a place like Haiti. In some ways, there is less crime there, but then there is the kidnapping. Most, but not all of this, happens in the Port-au-Prince area. If you are a novice to Haiti, I would recommend traveling with a group or at least a person experience in traveling there. Once in Haiti, you want to take the kinds of precautions you normally would when traveling to a big city. Also, check with your health dept. about the innoculations and other preventative health care that is recommended for travel to Haiti.