I hear the Dalai Lama would disagree with me on this, but my husband and I toasted to the death of former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier. I understand we're not supposed to wish anyone ill, or worse, wish that anyone would hurry up and die, even if they are terminally ill and suffering. And I'm not one to advocate an eye for an eye, either. As the saying goes, An eye for an eye leaves everyone blind, and I generally agree. But isn't there a reason the word "exception" was invented?
In fact I can think of many exceptions to this rule, especially when it comes to dictators, and Baby Doc is well-ensconced on that list. Who cares that he was "better than his father," the infamous François Duvalier, aka Papa Doc--which is how Dictator Junior got the "Baby Doc" moniker. That's what you always hear about him; that information was present in every obituary I could find--he wasn't as harsh as his father; that he was a reluctant and diffident teenager who inherited the head-of-state post in spite of himself. Aww, poor little Baby Doc who only wanted to race cars and live a life of excess but carried on being a brutal piece of shit who killed, tortured and disappeared over 50,000 people during his 15-year rule. I really feel for him. Apparently so does our current Haitian president, Michel Martelly, who called him "an authentic son of Haiti." Apparently a state funeral is being considered. What a disgrace.
The feeling among many Haitians, who lived or suffered under Jean-Claude Duvalier's rule, (and other Haiti watchers) is total disgust that he won't get to stand trial for crimes against humanity under international law, as recently ruled by a Haitian court. It was a juicy ruling too, because the trial would have also included charges for the abuses of his army and secret police forces. But honestly Haitians, do you think that trial would've stood a chance in hell of being fair when you've got the current president practically crying publicly over Baby Doc's death?
"On behalf of the entire government and people of Haiti, I take this sad occasion to extend my sincere sympathies to his family, his relatives and his supporters across the country," Mr. Martelly said. (NYT)
Somebody please give him a hanky. Somehow, I think hijinks would have been the order of the day, and he would've walked. Forget about what might have happened, and just rejoice over his early demise. There's one less dictator on the planet. It's a victory to be savored.