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Nation Needs to Dig Deep to find Courage

By Verna St. Rose Greaves
June 01, 2008

My head is spinning, I think it's whiplash, as I switch between daring headlines, stories changing fast and furious, radio and television talk shows swamped with misplaced hostility of the self righteous. Is it just me or are we all mad. As I listen I can hear, feel and see the face of insanity as I crave self sedation. Perhaps I need to be numb like so many others who unknowingly have been co-opted by the perpetrators enabling them with their silence and inaction. Some say that they have turned off, they no longer look at news or read the papers they do not want to know; it is their form of protection. They advise me to stop 'worrying myself'; read the Bible they say; there is nothing you or I or anyone can do. Only God can help us now; and prophesy must be fulfilled. How dare they bring their fatalistic crap to me? It is damning to use God as an escape from identity, reality and responsibility.

I move between laugh and cry, silently shouting obscenities at them, which while they cannot hear I hope they can feel. Vile and bitter words bring only temporary respite to my burning belly. My venom is still not strong enough to cancel the disrespect they continue to show to the memory of our children already dead and those yet alive to the promise and the possibilities.

It's hard to accept the brutal and shameful acts committed against our children; but the savagery of the public response is cruel and disheartening. We focus on harsh, cruel and inhumane punishment. We speculate, blame, judge, arrest, prosecute and call for hanging as a cure for all a 'geri toute' for a sore throat.

A young woman in evidently abnormal circumstances gives birth and walks away from her new born child. We need to make an example of her to show how much better we are than she is. We give the child a biblical name but for God's sake she does not deserve to see or hold her child. Punish them both and wipe that silly smile that she wears on her face, her amour of protection in the face of our hostility as she goes to court. How dare she laugh at our impotence; challenging us to do better. She is just like Amy's mother, what's her name again?

Media codes become important if it is our children who are before the court wearing white collar CAPE. Then, it's okay to chuck, pull and kick photographers because our penance is assured once we pray the Rosary. However these codes mean nothing when eight and six year olds, who beat or are beaten, are interviewed, their pictures published, life stories told; but we fail to ask pertinent questions about the lack of support services for primary schools. Such as organized pre and post school hours supervision; the institution of a well supported system which can do post roll call checks with parents and guardians about children who are not at school.

Yet we are quick to recommend prosecution illegal as it may be and suspension from school with no planned follow through. Think about it these children were transported from school yet were invisible to adults in their environment because we truly do not see them if they are not our own.

A distressed student is described as stupid to commit suicide over an exam, he could have talked to someone. After all we put in telephone hot lines after his body was already cold.

Maybe just maybe, this week's real message lies in the distressing headline HOPE IS GONE. In her honor let us focus less on 'the perceived shortcomings which we have imposed on her mother and take some time instead to examine our own lives and truly confront our own attitudes about child care and child abuse, our relationship with self and others. Maybe just maybe if we dig deep enough we will find the courage to work towards the things which really matter and which will contribute to better protection of our nation's children.

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