Friday, September 02, 2005

Where life is cheap

In Dakar, Senegal, a man robbed a jewelry store on a crowded downtown street. He ran out of the store with a handful of goods, probably only what he could easily carry. As is their custom, the crowd from the streets chased the robber. They caught up with him after chasing him about 2 blocks. The crowd of about 10-12 men beat the robber senseless. A policeman ran upon the scene but could only watch. The robber was murdered on that site. The crowd soon dispersed.
I watched all this from my 2nd floor apartment balcony.

Every day, I left my shipping agent's office located at the main port of Apapa in Lagos, Nigeria. It's a dirty, filthy, polluted area filled with men and women walking in every direction. Cars and lorries have to navigate their way between crowds of humans. Occasionally, a human loses that battle with his life. The dead body is eventually pushed aside as everyone walks past, too consumed in their own miserable existence to even notice.

Also in Lagos, I watched a man suspected of a crime being held by some men as the crowd around them gathered old tires from a nearby trash heap. The tires were dropped over the man's head, up to his neck. The tires were then set afire, trapping the burning man as the crowd watched him die a slow death.

Just some experiences I've remembered today as I see the happenings in New Orleans.

6 comments:

NMAMFQLMSH said...

Cheese and crackers if I saw all that I'd be an alcoholic....wait...I am an alcoholic.
Geez Dave I don't know how you did it.

Scott W said...

It just messes with my mind that people live like that. It messes with my mind that people just to the east of us are experiencing hell on earth. I'm just all messed up.

Hannen said...

NO WONDER YOU DRANK!!

Pat said...

It sounds so dangerous to be there if you can get burned alive just for suspicion. You were very daring to stay!

Trudging said...

When I was in college one of the big things on campus was to protest apartheid in South Africa. At the time we really didn’t even know the true horrors of apartheid. At the same time, I remember seeing reports on black people in the townships burning their neighbors to death with that tire thing. I think they called it “necklacing.” I remember thinking “yee gads and these are the ‘good guys?’”

What a rough way to live. …and I get upset when I have to wait in line.

dAAve said...

NM (JJ) - it was my job to be there, no big deal

Scott - we've all experienced our own hell on earth

hannen - i drank because i'm an alcoholic, regardless of location

pat - it was my job. those events lasted for very short durations and i was just a bystander. i never felt threatened as it was "Street Justice"

trudging - during what would be the last year of apartheid in south africa, i had the chance to go to a black disco-type night club in a township. I went with another white guy. I was accepted with open arms. they are wonderful people.