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#4401: Driver adds to Paryski comments on "boat people" (fwd)
From: Tom F. Driver <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Paul Paryski was on target when he wrote the following about that NY Times
story of refugees at sea:
It would have been better to have given David a waterproof camera, a
waterproof tape recorder and safety devices and let him tell his story
if he could survive. Finkel could have woven David's story into an
article on the whole "boat people" syndrome.
The main problem is that the author (Finkel) had no intention of doing an
article about the whole "boat people" syndrome. He was not writing in order
to increase the reader's understanding but only a) to pander to the appetite
for sensationalism and b) make the U.S.A. look good. Yes, he vividly
depicted the horrors undergone by the sea-faring refugees, but that much we
could almost have imagined for ourselves. What he does NOT do is tell the
story from the vantage point of the Haitians. They are not the SUBJECTS of
the article and are not viewed as SUBJECTS in their own history. They are
merely the OBJECTS in his line of vision.
The article is like a movie in which Haitians are the extras. Poor David is
barely a featured player. Even the photographer gets only a very small role.
The lead player is Finkel himself, who never engages with anyone except
David, whom he sets up. By not telling us whether he sent out an alarm with
his secret gadget, he keeps the focus on himself. Then everyone gets
rescued by the Coast Guard, who are depicted as very nice people who
never speak anything but the truth. The American flag is waving peacefully
and bravely in the final shot. Haitian misery meets U.S. virtue. Propaganda
worthy of a Spielberg!
Tom F. Driver