Thursday, May 27, 2010

Some numbers, some words.

Some numbers

Only six firearms have been seized by the police at this point in time, two rifles and four handguns.
How many dead? This morning's paper said 73. many of them could have been gunmen, considering they haven't found very many guns?

[Other things to consider about numbers? The death toll is actually significantly higher for the Kingston metropolitan region, Spanish Town has also experienced significant loss of life but is not included in these numbers. There were about 30 civilian deaths almost entirely due to gunmen, at least that's what I've heard to date.]

Some words

I spent most of the day in Trench Town (though not Tivoli Gardens, that's still sectioned off). There was a lot of disturbing news today from friends and children I spoke with. Some of the children I know told me they've never seen so many dead bodies, and that the dogs were eating the corpses. Another disturbing piece of information is among Trench Town residents there have been rumors of people being buried in unmarked graves. There may be more than gossip to it, since Amnesty International is calling for a full investigation into the actions of security forces, deaths and subsequent burials during the "West Kingston Operations."

Jim Wyss wrote a fairly thorough and clear account of the concerns about respect for the deceased and other issues for the Miami Herald. Check it out to find out more about the situation: Miami Herald-Bullets, bodies haunt Jamaica

Right now, it's not entirely clear, who's dead, missing or under custody. There is a fairly large group of men being held at the National Stadium. I accidently had the chance to see a bit of what was happening there yesterday. While I was out for a run I saw four trucks crammed with people entering the stadium when I realized the security forces must be bringing them up from Tivoli. I verified this with observers and then a few soldiers. Some looked like young teens, others old men, most of them looked between 18-25. By my count yesterday I figured I saw at least 200 to 250 people, so I was surprised to hear there were actually about 560 people being detained, that must have been inside.
Today the police were processing and running background checks on every person in custody to see if they're wanted for any offenses. On the bright side, they have been able to arrest some people for outstanding warrants, no final number yet. But on the other hand residents have said that many of these people are not even gun men, or have nothing to do with gangs, they're just men.* That being said some of them must be gun men or have participated in fighting (some against their will as we're hearing, but that's another story). Still, I hope the men who were just detained for being in Tivoli will get to go home to their families quickly.

*I later found out that a 15 year old boy I know, we'll call him D, was held at the stadium. What's troubling about this is that, he's not a gun men, he's just not totally.....mentally present much of the time? I'm not sure how to describe it, but it is alarming that he would end up in prison for a lot of reasons. Namely, one that he hasn't really developed a filter for seeing situations and assessing them in a realistic way. So he often just ends up places or with people he doesn't intend to be in/with. Second, this isn't the first time that his lack of capacity to explain himself has prevented him from standing up for himself or combating assumptions the police have about him. Really troubling....

1 comment:

  1. :-( i am thankful you wrote this so it is brought to my heart's attention again.