Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Haitian Kidnappings Part Deux

On December 27th The Miami Herald provided another account of the upsurge in kidnappings afflicting Haiti at the moment. Herald reporter Jacqueline Charles's article reiterates the mounting concern that children have become the primary targets of the kidnappers on the island. This development is particularly alarming as school's are gradually re-opening after the holidays. By January 8th all schools in Haiti should have returned from winter recess, but it remains to be seen whether families will feel safe sending their children back to school admidst this harrowing climate.

Charles's article interrogates the idea that these kidnappings are an attempt at destabilizing Rene Preval's government. The synchronization required to conduct this spate of child abductions is one of the reasons that some believe that these kidnappings are a deliberate effort at undermining any possibility for stability in the country.

It remains to be seen exactly how calculated these kidnappings really are. To the outside observer they still ring like copycat crimes, a perverted approach to acquiring quick cash for many. Indeed these crimes do undermine Haiti's political stability, but no more than the poverty and limited economic opportunities for young people that has arguably allowed kidnapping to fester as a viable money-making option.

Whatever the cause, nothing can relieve families like that of the recently murdered Natacha Farah Kerbie Dessources, the central figure in Charles's article, of the pain and suffering that they are enduring. Dessources, a 20 year old student who was murdered in spite of the fact that her family paid the kidnapper's ransom, reveals the unpredictability of these kidnappings. Many Haitians have always reserved a modicum of hope of saving their loved ones if they paid the ransom, but Dessources's murder provides evidence that this unspoken agreement is not as tenable as it at first seemed. Her mother's pain also iterates that while for the country and politicians these kidnappings may be a black eye, for family members of these kidnapping victims these random acts of violence are gruesomely painful reminders of what has yet to be settled.

The Nightshift Chronicler


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