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5500: Re: Subject:5433 Two Americans Injured in Haiti : an addendum

From: "Haitian Street Kids, Inc." <haitianstreetkids@rescueteam.com>

This story concerning the TV journalist and entourage who were
attacked by men in Cite Soleil, brought back memories of something which
happened to me in the same area last May.  It would be my guess that it was
the cameras they were displaying that sparked the violence.

I was walking down the main drag of Cite Soleil toward the back end near the
harbor. Upon reaching the end of the road at the harbor, I walked out onto a
pier reaching out into the water. Eight men approached, defensively postured
and obviously agitated. These were men in their upper 20's and 30's and
obvious residents of Cite Soleil. The leader of the group began to preach to
me in a loud and agitated voice, how we "blans" come there only to "make
money off  of them and then leave them with nothing". He cited cases where
he knows of Americans and Europeans coming there to make pictures and film,
giving them nothing, and then returning to America and Europe to make much
money from the pictures and films they made.

After a bit of debate and explanation, we departed company as friends (which
was an extreme bit of luck on my side), but it could have easily ended very
differently. I think a bit of diplomacy, explanation, respect, consideration
and common sense goes a long way with these people. Situations such as the
one in the referenced story could possibly be avoided. Obvious
outsiders driving through their tragic lives with cameras in hand, as if
they were driving through a wildlife park, quite understandably doesn't go
over very well.

Even Cite Soleil has recognized community leaders that the population
respects. Maybe just a little bit of preparatory diplomacy with one of them
could have negated this unfortunate incident altogether.

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