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#3185: What does insecurity mean to haitians? Ruckle replies (fwd)
From: James R. Ruckle <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I am not a man of the cloth, but a layman who volunteered in Haiti and
knows whom he can trust. My direct experience of the protests was that
neither I nor anyone I knew felt threatened by them despite being in
the midst of them. Since I am no longer in Haiti, it is difficult for
me to substantiate what I said about the New York Times, but it was
reported to me as fact by people who risked their lives on the
assumption that it was. It is one thing to repeat a rumor, quite
another to live by it. Since the Haitians we worked with spoke several
languages and wrote none, a large amount of information was passed on
to us orally.
I can understand why you would want absolute proof of the Times'
culpability, but in this case the Times is the prosecutor and the
protesters are the defendants. The benefit of the doubt should go to
the people photographed, not to the photographer. That picture fanned
the very prejudice that has led to killings in New York. If there is
a reasonable chance that it distorted events in Port-au-Prince, the
Haitian community in the United States has a right to know.
Put simply, my purpose is to defend people who lack the means to
defend themselves, not to attack the New York Times. Completely
objective coverage of Latin America is rare and difficult to achieve.
On the whole, I think the Times is one of the United States' better
newspapers; I consider its coverage south of the border to be overly
inflammatory. I am glad that they have loaned a publisher to a
domestic newspaper that has the resources to provide balanced
coverage, rather than flying someone down once a year to get dramatic
footage. I really do believe the motto I end my messages with.
James R. Ruckle
"Defeat the enmity, not the enemy."