Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Glass Justice

The other day, Roger and I went to the corner store just down from our hotel. We needed some water for the week and were checking this place out – the Glass Center. We live in a section of the city called Glass – hence the name of the store. As we entered, we noticed a bit of commotion down one of the few aisles. Being the nosy one, I went down one aisle to come back up the next where I saw the security guard (who was maybe 6’-5”, 230 lbs) lifting this guy off the ground who was maybe half his size. A couple of other guys were around him and they were all yelling at the guy whose toes were barely touching the ground.

The security guard was holding the guy by his shirt collar twisted a couple of turns in his fist. They were all asking the guys questions and getting madder as he could answer. The guy could hardly breathe and started making a husking sound as a dog does when it’s pulling too hard against its leash. It got to a point where the guy couldn't breathe, his eyes were popping out and the others were getting louder with their yelling. It was not a comfortable situation (and talk about letting culture do its thing versus knowing when to step in). Just as things were getting worse for this guy, the owner, a small Chinese man, came over, said something to the big security guard who then carried and pushed the guy through a door and into a back room. It didn’t take much French to know the guy was about to receive the beating of his life, and all for an apple.

It must be tough being poor and hungry in a place like Libreville where even the judicial system doesn’t see you or hear you crying.

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