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#3070: What does insecurity mean to haitians? Ruckle replies

From: James R. Ruckle <jruckle@citynet.net>

When I was in Haiti, people witnessed a photographer paying "rioters"
to smash cars, a picture
which subsequently appeared in the New York Times. Presumably, he/she
was working directly for that newspaper. If not, you all need to be
more careful where you buy free-lance photos.

As another message on this list established, burning tires IS
civilized behavior if it is a normal method of trash disposal. Of
course, one could argue that any general strike is disorderly conduct
and therefore uncivilized, especially if traffic is blocked. I used
"civilized" in the broader sense, meaning nonthreatening and
organized. Burning tires is nonthreatening behavior in Port-au-Prince.
It might not be in New York, although I seem to recall that the
homeless of NYC burn trash in metal trash cans to keep themselves
warm. The operative principle appears to be whether it is burned where
the fire can spread.

The protesters made it very clear that they were only trying to block
the roads to prevent commerce. They were not attacking anyone. It was
their way of imposing a boycott on their own government. The head of
my mission was certain enough of their peaceful intent to drive right
up to a blockade and ask permission to go around it and buy groceries.
When the government went around shooting voters the following
November(?), he hid in the basement. I was back in Uncle Sam by then,
but I was in the car with him during the general strike. If Father
Michael based his trust in the protesters on an unsubstantiated rumor,
he was taking a huge risk. 

James R. Ruckle
"Defeat the enmity, not the enemy."