The driver slowed as we saw the crowd up ahead. In Haiti crowds can easily turn into riots and we drove past slowly. Road accidents are common here and a crowd often gathers to curiously investigate the aftermath. However, this time I didn’t see any vehicles nearby, with only a couple of motorbikes at the edge of the crowd. A man on the ground looked in a bad way, but we had to drive on, unable to stop and help.
We heard the full story later as we returned along the same road. A young man had been caught stealing a motorbike, and when the crowd caught up with him they beat him, cut him, and set him on fire. We passed his charred corpse on the roadside.
I felt physically sick. Not just at the sight of burnt flesh, but also the terrifying thought that the crowd we had passed had turned so violently upon another human being.
The incident took place only a short distance from the local police station, but an angry mob had chosen to take justice into their own hands.
I don’t understand. I cannot comprehend what it takes to light that match and set someone alight. I am disgusted and disappointed by it. I have lost a little bit of faith in humankind.