Monthly Archives: July 2012
By Davinder Kumar | Aljazeera
it is already a struggle for Altagracia to carry on living. Each time she looks at herself in the mirror all she can see is the deep scars on her face and stomach. Inflicting grievous wounds, her machete brandishing former partner was adamant to finish her off. Seeing her bleed profusely, he left for her dead and disappeared.
Behind the veneer of glorious sunshine and sandy beaches, the holiday resort nation of the Dominican Republic is grappling with brutal killings and violent attacks on young girls and women.
Every two days, sometimes each day, a woman is killed in an act of violence. For an island nation of nearly ten million, more thsn a thousand women have been killed in the past five years. In the majority of cases, the perpetrators were intimate partners of victims.
From plush urban enclaves to deprived rural counties, “machismo” pervades many communities in the Dominican Republic. A by-word for ultra-masculinity, “machismo” has come to be regarded as a natural attribute of “tough men” who often dominate women with unprovoked aggression and violence as a way of life. From alcohol, drugs, anger to jealously, dispute or just a bad day – anything can serve as a trigger for some men to unleash violence on women.
For the majority of women, escape can be very difficult. The dependence of many here on male partners for financial and emotional support often means they continue to suffer in silence. Those who dare to speak out often face the spectre of being left on their own, risking further backlash and reprisals.
National legislation against violence is in place and international human rights law is clear that states have a duty to exercise due diligence to prevent, prosecute and punish violence against women. However, critics say there isn’t enough meaningful protection, as women continue to suffer violence on a daily basis – while the majority of perpetrators go unpunished.
There is a unique and dangerous commerce system at work in Amazonia, where children risk their lives for a few pennies.
There is a unique commerce system at work along the narrowest stretch of the Tajaparu River in Amazonia, northern Brazil.
This is where the boats pass close to the shore and it is the best place for the small canoes selling sweets and jams to do their business.
The children who operate the canoes weave in and out among the boats, shouting directions and warnings to one another as the propellers of ferries churn just below them. They then climb aboard in a bid to sell their wares to the ferry passengers.
The best-selling item is the ingas, a jungle fruit that is only found around this stretch of the river and which is much in demand among the ferry passengers. But it is a dangerous harvest. The ingas is only found at the top of some trees, often more than 30 metres above ground. Four ingas sell for one real, barely $0.25.
Santos, the captain of the Bom Jesus, is worried about just how young some of the children who climb aboard his ferry are.
“I keep a list of all the children’s names. There seems to be more of them lately,” Santos explains. “There are so many now, especially little ones, less than six years old, on their own.”
About a dozen canoes attach themselves to the Bom Jesus as it approaches the shore, but the captain must maintain his speed as he has a schedule to keep to.
Brazilian law holds a river captain responsible in the case of accidents.
“I let the authorities know about them, because it’s dangerous what they do, especially at night,” he says. “I tell them not to do it at night. By day, it’s okay.”
‘Sometimes we eat, sometimes we don’t’
Fourteen-year-old Jesse is among those who risk death just to make a few pennies.
The little money Jesse brings home is a small contribution to his family’s income. His family of 12 adults and 16 children live in a house on stilts over the water. Theirs is a life that revolves entirely around the river.
Jesse’s mother, Benedicta, wakes him up each morning to work the river boats.
“My husband’s too old to work now,” Benedicta explains. “Sometimes we get up in the morning and there’s nothing to eat for the whole day.
“We hope there’ll be something for the next day. That’s the way it is here; sometimes we eat, and sometimes we don’t.”
In the Amazonian basin, the rivers are the main arteries for virtually everything. The waterways are a constant ebb and flow of people and trade, with barges forming the public transport system – bus, train and tram all rolled into one.
The passenger ferries – 1,500 tonnes of iron and steel travelling at 30km an hour – are the hardest ships to board. But Jesse knows the safest place to board is in the bow, far from the dangerous eddies at the stern.
The trickiest are the merchant ships and barges, whose crews are much less accommodating and do not tolerate the children climbing on board.
But the crews have good reason to be cautious. In recent months incidents of piracy have increased on the river. Bandits, who hold the merchant boats at gunpoint during the night, use the same type of canoes as the children.
The river traders of Brazil follows Jesse, but his is a story that ends in tragedy. The youngster turns to piracy and is shot dead by the captain of a river barge during an attempted robbery.
But, as this film shows, life and trade on the river goes on. And for the children of this area, there is little alternative.
The grieving mother of Chinese university student Jun Lin says her son viewed Canada as a place that was welcoming and safe for immigrants, but his brutal killing and dismemberment have left her with a starkly different view of the country.
“We still believe that most people here are very kind, but this heinous crime happened in Canada. It’s made me reconsider what kind of place this is,” Jun Lin’s mother, Zhigui Du, told the CBC’s Mark Kelley.
Lin’s parents have been treated with “kindness” by the federal government, she said, and people here have shown the couple sympathy and support since they arrived in Montreal following their son’s grisly slaying in late May.
But his death, the brutal nature of which garnered headlines around the world, has shattered the idealistic view of Canada that Du’s 33-year-old son had impressed on her.
Before moving to Montreal from Beijing to study in a computer engineering program at Concordia University, Lin had done extensive research online about Canada.
His mother said he came away with the impression that it was “a peaceful place with great respect for multiculturalism,” and that there was no reason to worry about his safety.
Luka Rocco Magnotta, a small-time adult-film actor originally from the Toronto area who had cultivated a strange assortment of personae online, has pleaded not guilty in the case. He has been charged with five criminal offences including first-degree murder, harassing politicians and posting obscene material to the web.
Today, she says, when she walks down the street sometimes she feels like “everyone looks like Magnotta. I live with so much fear.”
Magnotta, 29, was arrested in Berlin on June 4 following an international manhunt, and was extradited to Canada on board a military aircraft two weeks later. He made a brief court appearance in Montreal on June 21 where he requested a trial by judge and jury.
Lin’s parents flew to Montreal last month to collect their son’s remains and mourn his death, holding a private memorial service that drew between 50 and 100 friends and family.
In an emotional two-hour-long interview, the couple spoke of their struggle to come to terms with Jun Lin’s killing and their anxiety over the court case, which is still months away. Pretrial motions will begin in March 2013.
Asked whether the Canadian legal system will be able to deliver justice in his son’s death, Jun Lin’s father, Diran Lin, said, replied, “I hope so … I can only wish for it.”
Jun Lin was born in the city of Wuhan, in central China. His mother said the family lived in a remote area, “poor with material things, but we were a happy family.”
To get around, the three of them would pile on a single bicycle, Jun Lin on the front, Du on the back, his father in the middle pedalling them along “bumpy village roads.”
Going to Canada was Lin’s dream, his mother said, but after arriving in Montreal he stayed in touch with his family almost every day.
They lost contact with him on the evening of May 24, and his mother then got a phone call from one of her son’s classmates in Montreal saying that his friends also had not heard from him.
“When I heard that, my heart almost stopped beating,” Du said. “I couldn’t breathe.”
She eventually learned of Jun Lin’s death from a TV news report, and said she fainted.
Jun Lin’s death has put a strain on the couple, and the suggestion that his slaying has allegedly been posted online has only heightened their anguish.
“What a disaster and huge pain for our family,” Du said, sobbing.
“The most unbearable pain for me is that the video got posted on the internet. People watched it over and over. It’s like my son is being murdered again and again.”
Diran Lin said he doesn’t believe his son had a relationship with Magnotta, although his apartment was the site of Jun Lin’s murder.
“I’m confident to assure you on that,” he said, adding that testimony at trial may clarify whether the two men knew one another.
While they wait for the trial to begin, Jun Lin’s parents are also trying to decide where to lay their son’s remains to rest.
They had planned to have the burial in Montreal because, his mother said, he loved it so much there.
But the couple is facing mounting pressure from family to lay his remains to rest in the country where he was born and raised.
“We Chinese have an old saying: ‘Fallen leaves must go back to the root of the tree,’” Du said. “We’re caught in the middle and really don’t know what to do.”
I received this heartfelt story by email and decided to share it with u.
I arrived at the address and honked the horn.
after waiting a few minutes
I walked to the
door and knocked.. ‘Just a minute’, answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something
being dragged across the floor.
a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 90′s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940′s movie.
By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets.
There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware..
‘Would you carry my bag out to the car?’ she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman.
She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb.
She kept thanking me for my kindness. ‘It’s nothing’, I told her.. ‘I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother to be treated.’
‘Oh, you’re such a good boy, she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address and then asked, ‘Could you drive through downtown?’
‘It’s not the shortest way,’ I answered quickly..
‘Oh, I don’t mind,’ she said. ‘I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice.
I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. ‘I don’t have any family left,’ she continued in a soft
voice.. ‘The doctor says I don’t have very long.’ I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.
‘What route would you like me to take?’ I asked.
For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an
We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds. She had me pull up in
front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.
Sometimes she’d ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.
As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, ‘I’m tired. Let’s go now’.
We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico.
Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move.
They must have been expecting her.
I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.
‘How much do I owe you?’ She asked, reaching into her purse.
‘Nothing,’ I said.
‘You have to make a living,’ she answered.
‘There are other passengers,’ I responded.
Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly.
‘You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,’ she said ‘Thank you.’
I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light.. Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound
of the closing of a life..
I didn’t pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift?
What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?
On a quick review, I don’t think that I have done anything more important in my life.
We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments.
moments often catch us unaware-beautifully
wrapped in what others may consider a small
PEOPLE MAY NOT REMEMBER EXACTLY
WHAT YOU DID, OR WHAT YOU SAID ~BUT~THEY WILL
ALWAYS REMEMBER HOW YOU MADE THEM FEEL.
“An unbelievable view into an intolerable issue.”
The government of China are selling body parts from the prisoners they executed.
They take them alive some of them are killed. They take their kidneys their other vital organs and they sell them on the worls market.