Thursday, June 16, 2005

That Familiar Feeling

I am afraid. Just in case there was a lingering doubt in anyone's mind, let me make myself clear: I am scared. I wake up with fear, I go to work anxious, I come home with my heart in my throat, I go to bed afraid. Every day, every hour, every minute, every waking or sleeping second of my existence is ruled by fear. Just wanted you to know.

Now for the headlines.

The Minister of Justice resigned. A lot of people say it was more than time. I'm not sure. I am biased, of course, as he was a teacher of mine in college. But we all know the truth, no matter how disturbing it is : we are the USA's pawn in this. After all, weren't there American congressmen/women asking for his resignation for the unlawful detention of Aristide's former prime minister? Thy will be done...

The radio was also broadcasting interviews with arrested young members of the gangs terrorizing this city. You hear these boys, some of them with high-pitched voices still, explaining how long they've been in the game, what weapons they've used, and what their functions are. Chilling.

And now the sprinkles : government employees are now the targets of the kidnappers . I have the dubious honor of being one of those. So far this week, two of my coworkers have been kidnapped near their homes. The first one, a woman with no clout or status whatsoever in the administration, was told they would decapitate her if her family couldn't come up with $50,000 USD [at least 4-5 years of her salary, no less]. The kidnappers settled for $14,000 since the family could not afford more.

Stories and rumors abound, of course. They say American Airlines will shut down its flights by the end of the month. They say the airport will also close. They say the kidnappers have lists, and access to potential victims' financial information. They say this is the beginning of a civil war [we can't seem to achieve that status yet].

They say a lot of things. Which will become true?

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Modus vivendi

I was torn over whether or not to post this one. Should I tell you everything, at the risk of turning you, whoever you are, from my blog? Wouldn't it be better, safer, to gloss over things, joke about them, just to keep you coming back?

But then, why did I start this blog? Because I need to tell somebody. Because I find myself in the same place I was almost 15 years ago : feeling overwhelmed, trapped and with no one to share the burden with.

So, I'll risk it. I'll tell you all. Can you handle the truth?

At the end of last week, two of the owners of a well-known, very popular pharmacy were abducted in front of their store early in the morning. They were kept for a couple of days and released one after the other when the ransom was payed. This has become a daily occurrence here. You fear it but you get used to it. It may happen to you today or tomorrow but you're just relieved to get home each night until it's your turn.

Except for the stories the victims tell. Oh, it would be harrowing enough to be kidnapped by armed criminals in broad daylight. Only, these men, these creatures have taken to beating and torturing their prey. Those two victims I told you about? The woman was struck to the face with the butt of a handgun. Her brother's eardrum was pierced with a pencil. Just for fun, it seems. It's not like they were resisting.

Long story short, the criminals were paid, the victims returned home. Shattered, but alive. Maybe that's all we should hope for.