It was a low stucco building, poorly maintained and badly discolored. As we entered, we were hit by an overpowering stench of waste and chemicals. The UN observer, a fresh-faced young woman, promptly regurgitated, adding to the odor.
Forty years earlier I’d been a school boy of seven in Calcutta, India, when a religious war had broken out between Hindus and Muslims. Since my family’s house was on the border between the two communities, we became helpless spectators to many violent incidents. One morning a Muslim tradesman who had done some masonry work in our home was passing by, and a chance remark he made caused some Hindu youth to attack him. Five people surrounded him and just kept beating him till he was still. I stood at a window and watched the puddle of blood around the body expand until it seemed to cover my entire view.
The same was true in Haiti as it had been forty years earlier in India: none had raised a finger to staunch the flow of innocent blood.