Friday, 15 August 2008

The shout that whispers

The woman shot the night before last was, allegedly, a drug dealer. She had just bought a flashy new pickup truck. Not much use to her now. The young man was believed to be a junkie. Such violence can happen anywhere. The Third World isn’t always a happy place. But, these days, where is?

Here is the report carried by the Rio Dulce Chisme,

According to information received from El Periodico in Guatemala City, Carlos Ernesto Lemus Hernandez, 19, and his brother Elfido Concepcion Lemus Hernandez, 33, both of the village of Esmeralda, near Mario's Marina, were taken in custody after a search of their home resulted in the discovery of an ice pick, binoculars believed to have been taken from the Dryden's sailboat, s/v Sunday's Child, as well as a quantity of marijuana.

One source who had seen the body of Dryden said the fatal wounds appeared not to have been caused by a machete, but would be consistent with those inflicted by an ice pick. INGUAT has also confirmed that the wounds were made by an ice pick, not by a machete.

At the time of this writing, seven other houses in Esmeralda are being searched by police, according to sources.

The two suspects were said to be under the protection of a woman nicknamed "Reyna del Sur" (Queen of the South) of Morales, believed involved in various illegal activities in the area, including drugs and stolen outboard motors.

Several local Guatemalan residents confirm that the woman, who with her 14-year-old son who were killed last night near the Backpackers Hotel gate was indeed nicknamed "Reyna del Sur".

And last night there were a lot of armed soldiers around. Some 50 police raided the local village and three arrests were made. We had a vaguely surreal conversation with one of the soldiers about what weapon he was carrying. No it wasn't an MK47 or a Kalashnikov but rather an Iraeli made 556.

For me there is a voyeuristic quality to these moments. We have a 'normal' bit of social chit-chat as yards away from us people are in real fear as their homes are being searched for murderers... I find it difficult to sort out my own feelings about these events.

On one hand there is a cold acceptance that this is the way of this world and on the other I have a deep empathy for the awful spectre of the past that must be in the minds of those locals who lived through the atrocities of 20 years ago.

One of the saddest thing about this rash of misfortunes on the Rio is the drivel now being spewed out on forums and web sites by wannabe sailors, desperate to prove they are saltier-than-thou.

Such puffery is coming close to Brent Borthwick’s bull sharks, dinghy fever and little-brown-children-who've-never-seen-a-white-man; not to mention Captain Heather’s I’ll-be-setting-two-world-records.

Deep inside all of us who sail probably have inflated images of ourselves as 'hairy-arsed' skippers or gentlemen adventurers surmounting horrendous dangers with ease and grace. But most of us are not stupid enough to let everyone know. Asked about our scariest moments, we tend to play them down. The whisper that shouts, and all that.

Heroes aren’t braggarts. They don’t feel any need to tell everyone how great they are. In my experience, it has been the quietest, least-likely individuals who have had the most interesting stories to tell, most useful wisdom to impart and greatest competence to support it.

What comment can I possibly make about such a world when I come with my own baggage of cultural assumptions and bigotry? Best to just watch and learn.

1 comment:

Don Gato said...

"What comment can I possibly make about such a world when I come with my own baggage of cultural assumptions and bigotry? Best to just watch and learn."

Good advice! Why don't you take it.