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A reporter comments about reporting on Haiti

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GliderGuider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 06:22 AM
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A reporter comments about reporting on Haiti
Edited on Mon Jan-25-10 06:22 AM by GliderGuider
In Port-au-Prince, Haitians mete out rough injustice

My colleague, Paul Waldie, and I were on our way back from the police station by the airport, the nominal headquarters of the nominal government of Haiti, where we had interviewed, Marie-Laurence Jocelyn Lassgue, the culture and communications minister.

Returning, we encountered a body on the side of the road, which is now unusual. More unusual, his hands were tied behind his back. We stopped the car.

He was a teenager, not more than 18, his face lying in the gutter. The back of his head was caved in, the stone still in place.

"He was a lazy boy, said Reggie, our driver. He would not work.

Instead, he stole, or did something else to offend the crowds of people who now live on the streets, and they meted out their own rough injustice.

Interview a cabinet minister. Examine a corpse.

For a reporter accustomed to the comforts of a political beat, covering the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti is an exercise in managing, and containing, emotion. Not horror or grief, for we are only watching this event, not living it, but guilt at finding it so fascinating.

A few days ago, I was visiting one of the camps, when a young woman with a baby started pleading in Creole. The interpreter said she was asking me to take her baby. I just shook my head, said sorry, and signalled we needed to move on.

At moments like this you feel that everything you are doing is pornographic, that you are not a journalist telling a story that needs to be told, but a tourist dropping in to have a good look at an apocalypse. Such a thing would be evil, and all of us grapple with the ambiguity of this mission, with what we are doing here, and why we are doing it, and what we really feel about it.
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aquart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 06:26 AM
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1. Yes.
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