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The video was captured using a cell phone showed a UN Peacekeeper from Uruguay raping a young man with his face down on a mattress. On the video, the victim, 18-year old Johnny Jean, is shown being assaulted on the video while the Peacekeeper and several of his colleagues are heard laughing in the background. The attack took place in the southern town of Port-Salut.
In a letter apologizing to the Haitian people, Commander of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), Major General Luiz Ramos wrote:
“As commander of the military forces of the United Nations Mission for Stabilization in Haiti, I want to express my sincere regret for the unfortunate events caused by a small number of soldiers of MINUSTAH in Port-Salut…It is very unfortunate that the bad actions of a few tarnish the many good works of many others. Every day, the vast majority of staff of the MINUSTAH is working to display a high level of professionalism and discipline, and build good relations with the Haitian people. We are guests in your country.”
Both Jean and his mother, Rose Marie Jean, spoke out about the incident on local radio stations and testified beore a judge in a hearing on the July 28th assault. Initially, a preliminary UN report ruled out that a rape had occurred but the video made the charges impossible to ignore.
Speaking of the incident, Haitian President Michel Martelly called the attack “a collective rape carried out against a young Haitian” and said it would not go unpunished.
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You’ve just told me some high spots in your memories. Want to hear mine? They’re all connected with the sea. Here’s one. When I was on the Squarehead square rigger, bound for Buenos Aires. Full moon in the Trades. The old hooker driving fourteen knots. I lay on the bowsprit, facing astern, with the water foaming into spume under me, the masts with every sail white with moonlight, towering high above me. I became drunk with the beauty and singing rhythm of it, and for a moment I lost myself—actually lost my life. I was set free! I dissolved into the sea, became white sails and flying spray, became beauty and rhythm, became moonlight and the ship and the high dim-starred sky! I belonged, without past or future, within peace and unity and a wild joy, within something greater than my own life, or the life of Man, to Life itself! To God, if you want to put it that way. Then another time, on the American Line, when I was lookout on the crow’s nest on the dawn watch. A calm sea, that time. Only a lazy ground swell and a slow drowsy roll of the ship. The passengers asleep and none of the crew in sight. No sound of man. Black smoke pouring from the funnels behind and beneath me. Dreaming, not keeping lookout, feeling alone, and above, and apart, watching the dawn creep like a painted dream over the sky and sea which slept together. Then the moment of ecstatic freedom came. The peace, the end of the quest, the last harbor, the joy of belonging to a fulfillment beyond men’s lousy, pitiful, greedy fears and hopes and dreams! And several other times in my life, when I was swimming far out, or lying alone on a beach, I have had the same experience. Became the sun, the hot sand, green seaweed anchored to a rock, swaying in the tide. Like a saint’s vision of beatitude. Like the veil of things as they seem drawn back by an unseen hand. For a second you see—and seeing the secret, are the secret. For a second there is meaning! Then the hand lets the veil fall and you are alone, lost in the fog again, and you stumble on toward nowhere, for no good reason!
—Edmund in Eugene O’Neill’s A Long Day’s Journey Into Night