Remember this name: Jdimytai Damour. It is likely to become one of the iconic names of our age.
Damour was the 34-year-old Long Island man who happened to be standing too close to the front door of the Wal-Mart outlet in Valley Stream, Long island, where he was employed on November 28. That was Black Friday, the busiest shopping day of the year, the warmup to the Christmas shopping mania. The hour was 5:00 a.m. Hundreds were lined up outside, waiting for the hour, the minute, the second when the doors would be thrown open and they could rush inside to claim their Ipods and plasma screen TVs, their Nikes and Barbies. And when it happened, Damou was crushed in the madness.
“They took the doors off the hinges. He was trampled and killed in front of me,” another Wal-Mart employee said. “They took me down, too … I didn’t know if I was going to live through it. I literally had to fight people off my back.”
Other employees were knocked down and trampled, including a pregnant woman, but Damou was the only fatality.
This scene — captured on a number of video and cell phone cameras — could become on of the iconic images of our age, because it speaks so powerfully about who we are. Our appetite for consumer goods is destroying the land, water and soil of our planet. It coursens our culture, undermines our democracy and dehumanizes ourselves and our neighbors. We saw the inevitable result of that dehumanization at the Wal-Mart in Valley Stream, Long island, last month.
Jdimytai Damour is not the first person killed to satisfy our consumer passion. No, millions have been killed, poisoned and enslaved to produce the cheap goods and raw materials to keep our malls full and our people happy. But those are usually in distant places — Africa, Latin America, South Asia — places with different languages and different religions, places where people die like flies every day and there are no cameras to record, no police or managers to make an official statistic out of it.
He didn’t mean to, but perhaps Jdimytai Damour has become the first martyr of the nascent anti-consumer movement. Let’s hope he did not die in vain.