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28702: ClayKilgore (reply) 28674: Corbett: "rash of kidnappings" (fwd)

From: clay kilgore <claykilgore@kledev.org>

Bob, everyone...

Okay, you got me on this one... Not sure where I'm going with this...

Like many of us, I assume, my ancestry makes it a little tricky to blend in while in Haiti, as I am tall and fair. And it seems the majority of the kidnappings (that I have read about) have been "sure things," linked either by visual perception or known reputation. My solution so far, since the rash began, has been to not go, lest a nice lady I walk to the market or some child I have on my lap in a car on the way to a wedding be snatched up later for the ransom game.

So the kidnappers are really robbers, to me. They're robbing me and my loved ones of the experience of sharing each other's company, and keeping me from getting more things done in a being there kind-of way.

But I do feel things are still getting done by my words, as I have taken to communicating more through people who are there and who can "hide" better than I can. I am standing behind a lot of people in my absence, wiring smaller chunks of cash and saying a lot more words that build a future in people's heads that, so far, the kidnappers haven't gotten wise to... so maybe it's the real "next best thing to being there," to however slowly, fulfill on people's remaining sense hope...

I would hate to have to come to the phone and say something hard and untrue like, "you have over-estimated the value Mme. So-and-so... click," but I DO fantasize that THAT is the world I would like to create for these kidnappers. They are probably used to trying things that don't work, and giving up. Why not one more thing that doesn't work?

Kidnappers are truly making their points, which must be "we're poor, and tired enough of it to do mean things to people." I would like very much to create for them jobs they would LOVE, perhaps working with people who need constant care and attention (I understand they DO return some victims in decent shape...). But if they get used to the kind of money they are probably getting for the safe return of loved ones, they probably won't be happy in a regular paying job anymore - kind of like the drug dealers of the first world... Can't get a better paying job than that without being really creative!

One of these days I will have to go for meetings, etc., and I will hate not hanging out and being free with the really great people over there who I have had the pleasure of meeting and absolutely loving outside hotel's walls... but that is where the meetings will be taking place or in some other secret location that can't be easily traced back - NOT in the streets of Port au Prince!

I have been thinking of this since the day the first kidnapping happened... I'm just writing off the top of my head because my head is in Haiti every day, and I said you all would have a chance to get to know me, even if I appear to be naive and for the most part out of communication... I DO acknowledge each and every one of you who makes this list happen, as it is the only place this kind of thing seems to be available, and it is truly a special conversation that I am excited to be a part of.

So my tough solution of the day would be... keep people safe if you can't hide either your ethnicity or reputation (or both!) ...stay away from / don' be seen with / photographed with loved ones in PauP, don't wire big chunks of cash, and don't have your loved ones wearing flashy bling! Stand by them through communication and support. And simultaneously, create a future with them that is inspiring and that has a different outcome than the one everyone is expecting... Perhaps they could be armed as well - never thought I'd say it! The hardest would be, though, "don't pay ransom, ever." There may be consequences, but that's why the first part...

If it has to be ONE thing, too bad the govt. can't start with "laws / law enforcement" instead of "roads."