Privileges Of The Plighted Essay

1313 words - 5 pages

It is assumed that our lives and the lives of our families could ultimately be at risk without the regulation and authority of our government. The same government which protects us, also damages us, and others from countries around us. It is more than apparent that in our world suffering does exist. However, outlining suffering goes beyond the physical pain. To a degree there is a level of suffering that most of us (U.S. Citizens) can never relate to. There is a suffering unbeknownst to us; because we have never been subjected to it by our governments and institutions. We are a free people, entrusted to ourselves that we have the capacity to take care of ourselves and our own. Others aren’t so lucky.
Violence is in itself brutal. We identify it, we react to it, and it virtually always gets our attention. Structural violence is quite the opposite. It is almost invisible, and impossible to contain. It is rooted in global social structures, long-standing, and frequently puts people at legal, cultural, and economic disadvantages. Nonetheless, both forms of violence produce death and suffering equally. Although through structural violence the damage is more subtle, and a lot more difficult to mend. In cases as drastic as the one Farmer introduced us to about Yolande Jean, who was a Haitian refugee who was detained at our United Stated naval base in Guantanamo Bay for nearly two years because she tested positive for HIV. Yolande, as I’m sure many others have, shown to be a direct victim of structural violence. Whereas our Government held her against her will in a place where she was beaten and neglected simply for testing positive for HIV. What is drastically undeniable though is that at the time of capture herself and other refugees were desperate people fleeing powerful suppressions from their homeland only to be captured by our Government to face further subjugations. Farmers stated about Yolande “[Her] case for refugee status should have been airtight. She was a longstanding member of an organization targeted for political repression; she and her husband had been arrested and tortured; and she had managed to preserve key documents proving this. In fact, Yolande Jean was indeed one of those few refugees who passed scrutiny; U.S. law provided her safe haven as a bona fide political refugee. One problem remained, however: Yolande like all the refugees, had been tested for HIV. Unlike most, her test was positive” (Farmers, 59). Unfortunately for Yolande she was a victim of structural violence, while our Government took nothing into consideration except the opinions and subjections of their own authority. They did not provide help, or humanity to Yolande, instead they did what was cheap and easy, to protect its people.
In the case of Jesus Valle, we see a different form of structural violence. One that contributes to the wellness of the patients, but at the same time diminishes their human right of choice. Treatment and education of HIV was not an...

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