Victims stripped of their dignity in Haiti

From Port-au-Prince, Haiti – The pancaked buildings are startling. The smell is unforgiving. But the one aspect of the disaster that has struck me the hardest is how the victims have been largely stripped of their dignity.

This is not a novel observation, but being here in the aftermath it’s a thought that keeps crossing my mind – especially since I have a camera in my hand. In fact, there are times when I just don’t take photographs.

At the hospital, the patients are broken and shriveled from dehydration – and they are on display. With the overflow, many patients are lined up along the streets of the hospital compound, shielding themselves from the sun with pieces of cardboard boxes.

In the States we would pull a curtain around us, cling to our privacy. Here, everything is out in the open.

I watched a woman on the street get an external pin drilled through her broken leg while people were all around, listening to her agony. Another delivered a baby with dozens of people in view. (I personally was appalled by one video-journalist who practically tried to point his camera right up her birth canal.)

But as one doctor said as he worked outside under a tarp: “This is not the time for modesty.”

[PHOTO: Megan McCloskey]

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