What you haven’t seen

Since the earthquake-tsunami disaster of December 26, I have been wading through the hundreds of photographs offered daily to the Caymanian Compass by the Associated Press for publication. Now that more than a week has gone by, I feel obligated to inform our readers that there has been some heavy censorship going on. On these pages you have seen mostly photos of debris, devastated communities and broken-hearted victims. But in this newspaper you have not seen any of the more horrifying photos that show how brutal and unforgiving this tsunami was.

I chose not to show them simply because they were too disturbing. Some of them haunt me now. For example, a crying father holds his dead son, broken and ash colored. A human being lies in mud, five days after the tsunami, half eaten by dogs. A mother screams while the corpse of her child lays in the foreground, nostrils and mouth choked with mud. I only looked at that photo briefly but her lifeless gray eyes stare at me still whenever my thoughts drift. As World News editor, I am simply too polite, or too cowardly, to force these images into your mind. However, I believe it is still important for you to know that they exist.

This disaster is not just about shattered homes and broken boats. Nor is it only about geology and wave dynamics. It is first and foremost about mountains of dead people. They are the story. Tens of thousands of people in 11 countries died horrible deaths and many of them rotted where they landed. But while they may have been robbed of their lives, and in many cases their dignity, they deserve for the world to know what happened to them.

The dead deserve for people everywhere to know how gruesome and terrible this event was. This was nature at its cruelest. If my photo selections have led you to believe otherwise, I apologize to the victims.