Thursday, December 02, 2004



Last night, as we were driving home after I'd finished work, we saw a group of teenage boys viciously kicking and beating two other boys at the side of the road. Across the road, a small crowd was gathered - they looked on with folded arms and grim faces. "Ah," said Tito with a nod, "Pirañitas" (little piranas). Almost certainly, the boys had been caught stealing and were now being suitably punished. Suitably? I hear you protest. How barbaric! Quite, and right bloody effective too. Recently, these sort of occurances have become much more frequent in Peru. If you see a crowd gathered for a fight, it is almost certainly to punish a thief, a ratero (little rat), a choro (mussel), or maybe a perecote (mouse). There are a million nicknames for those who commit petty crime. On the news too, you often see clips of more extreme cases of this vigilante justice. I recall a video clip I saw lately of a man beaten, tied to a pole, doused in oil and set on fire. Why? Because the police do absolutely nothing. If you call the police for any crime now, they will inevitably say that they'd love to help you, but that they need money for petrol. If you, perchance, have 20 soles that you'd like to donate to that fund, the cops might come - probably several hours too late. It's pretty scary stuff, I reckon, but all just part of daily life in a developing country.

Can't be that effective if the little buggers keep thieving things. I like the idea of our thieves having little names. I think the brats on my road would be called little motorpikeys because they ride those minimoto motorbikes up and down the road non-stop all evening long.
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