Fri - March 5, 2004
How Does It Feel?
Today's New York Times has a terrifying article about the complete disintegration of law and order in Haiti. What makes the article so upsetting, aside from the graphic descriptions of violence and revenge, is this Reuters photograph of a man identified only as Tiroro, left, and an unidentified member of a band of vigilantes about to exact their revenge on Tiroro under which the article runs.
The Times describes the circumstances around Tiroro's death as follows:
After what the thugs did to his son, no punishment seemed harsh enough to Roland Lysias.
Two months ago, loyalists of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide kidnapped his 21-year-old son, Junior, and tortured him, chopping off his hands and feet and poking out his eyes before burning his body, because he had supported a militant opposition group, Mr. Lysias said.
So on Wednesday, when an armed band of vigilantes found the man he said was responsible for his son's death, a pro-Aristide militant known as Tiroro, he watched with satisfaction, he said, as they beat him unconscious, threw gasoline-doused tires around his neck and set him on fire. He described how the chanting and cheering crowd threw rocks at the man's burning body, indifferent to his screams for mercy.
This is one of the most fascinating and horrifying images I've ever seen (even more so than the Eddie Adams's infamous photograph of a Vietcong prisoner being executed in the street) for all that it shows and all that it implies--its powerful intimacy and complete lack of humanity--and looking at it and reading the accompanying article fills me with questions:
In short, it's one hell of a picture.