Seventy-two migrants were found near the U.S.-Mexico Border, murdered by members of a drug cartel on August 26th. Two days later, Paris Hilton was arrested for cocaine possession in Las Vegas.
And all people can say is that she looks pretty, even in her mug shot.
No one in the media draws a connection between drug use and the violence playing out in Mexico today. People blame the war on drugs, drug policies, prohibition, the governments of the U.S. and Mexico - and all of these play their part - yet no one ever places the responsibility on the people who actually purchase these drugs for recreation.
I'm not saying that Paris Hilton has killed seventy-two Latin Americans herself. But I am saying that instead of focusing on the superficial aspects of the story - like her beauty, her irreverence, her foolishness for getting caught - we should ask her if she knows where her drugs come from. Does she know how they got to Las Vegas? Did they come from a fair trade coca farm in Southern California? Did they come wrapped in condoms swallowed by a drug mule?
When Lindsay Lohan was photographed in Paris with a cocaine-powdered credit card in the corner, people laughed. They said she was stupid for letting herself be photographed with cocaine when she was supposed to be in court in California. But no one drew a connection between Lindsay Lohan snorting cocaine in France and the countries in West Africa that have become violent stopping points for drugs on their way from Latin America to Europe. When celebrities are caught with drugs, the media worries about the end of a career, the affect on beauty, the dimming of a star. No one thinks about the people in the developing world who suffered in the production process. Why is that? Why doesn't anyone make drug use a human rights issue?
Some people argue that legalization of cocaine and heroin might somehow solve all the problems of the drug trade. Some people say drug use should be decriminalized and users should be treated for addiction instead of placed in prison. And those ideas may have their merits. But I see nothing wrong with making the connection between purchasing cocaine, heroin and meth and financially supporting the violent drug cartels that are currently murdering people at will. When you pay for cocaine, you are putting money in the pockets of some messed-up people. When you snort cocaine, you are snorting blood.
Drugs are a Human Rights Violation: Part I
Ms. Hilton in Africa
Ms. Lohan in India