Immokalee
 

Book pages 44-46


It was a happy surprise to find here a poor white who did not indirectly blame the blacks for her misfortune, as it is very common among the poor whites to make them scapegoats.

Her town, Immokalee, had more slave camps than any other town and it was here that some of the white owners were imprisoned by Florida's attorney general.

But conditions are still the same and there are now armed guards in the camps who shoot at all intruders.

When an NBC-TV crew arrived in town, they were beaten up and shot at and they did not manage to film anything.

Even white rednecks of the violent type, who certainly knew how to defend themselves, warned me not to go to that town and did not even dare to drive me there in daylight.

I ended up living there for a week with some poor migrant workers, but to this very day I am amazed that I escaped with my life.

Somehow I managed to make friends with one of the armed black guards, who gave me a little food and followed me at a distance in the streets to protect me.

The police chief told me that 25 dead bodies had been found in the streets in the last half year in this town of only 3,000 inhabitants.

Every single night I could hear gunshots. I saw more blood there than in any other place in America.

This Mexican was stabbed in the stomach while I was sitting next to him (and calmly asked the bartender to call the sheriff, when it was his turn to be served).

Every morning there was a row of shabby individuals along the road who had been knocked down and robbed of everything the night before and now tried to hitch-hike out of town.

But many will never get out of this slave camp. What soon came to interest me most was not the dead bodies, but the live ones – people in whom everything was extinct.

The whites seemed to have much less resistance than the blacks. These exhausted wretches, who earlier had managed to survive by working hard seven days a week like the other slave workers, had slowly succumbed and were now just lying and waiting to die.

At night they slept in the streets. Often they never woke up again. One of them is squeezed in between the Pepsi- and the Coca-Cola machines.

 

 

Copyright 2005 AMERICAN PICTURES; All rights reserved.

 

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