Human suffering

Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing. Luke 23:34

I’ve been reading Mountains Beyond Mountains, a great book by Tracy Kidder about the work of Paul Farmer and Partners in Health recently. It tells the story of how the dedication of one talented person can mushroom into a global effort to heal the poorest and most vulnerable.

Today is Good Friday, when Christians around the world remember the death of Jesus, something I was reminded of when I read this recounting from the book of the horrible death of a victim of the political violence in 1992 Haiti whom Paul Farmer examined.

On January 26, Chouchou, a handsome man in his mid-twenties, was scarcely recognizable. His face, and especially his left temple, was misshapen, swollen, and lacerated; his right temple was also scarred, although this was clearly an older wound. Chouchou’s mouth was a coagulated pool of dark blood; he coughed up more than a liter of blood in his agonal moments. Lower down, his neck was peculiarly swollen, his throat collared in bruises, the traces of a gun butt. His chest and sides were badly bruised, and he had several fractured ribs. His genitals had been mutilated.

That was his front side; presumably, the brunt of the beatings came from behind. Chouchou’s back and thighs were striped with deep lash marks. His buttocks were hideously macerated, his skin flayed down to the exposed gluteal muscles. Many of these stigmata appeared to be infected.

On this day, let us remember all who suffer all kinds of pain in this world.

Published by Bill

Social justice advocate and collaborative leader

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