In 2008 I went inside the largest detainee facility in Iraq, Camp Bucca, where Iraqis by the tens of thousands were being held by American forces. At the visitor center I saw this young girl waiting in line for a visitation with her father. The bright desert sunlight of southern Iraq illuminated her face and her mother’s black abaya acted as a drop cloth behind her, giving this spontaneous shot the feeling of a studio session.
The story about the 14-year-old in Mexico who’s on trial for beheading four people reminds of something Chuck Bowden told me when I interviewed him for this episode of Fault Lines:
He described Juarez as a ticking time bomb. The city’s thousands of murders each year create thousands of orphans. More children without parental supervision are created when families move to Juarez for low-paying factory jobs and find both parents have to work to make ends meet. While this may be common in the States, it’s a new cultural phenomenon in Mexico. Compounding this is the daily scene children witness: murders routinely in the street, violence gripping every part of the city. Yet as bad as it is now — more than 3,000 murders last year — many fear the worst is yet to come. The children of Juarez who are exposed to the violence are desensitized to it and are left with what Bowden says is the choice to live large and die young or be a slave to the factories and fear. A generation is at stake and the evidence from stories like the one today does not bode well for its future.