Musing -- on sad, outrageous acts By Rickey Singh
Guyana Chronicle
August 18, 2002

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IN THIS journalism profession it is not difficult to become overwhelmed, cynical and sad by the wickedness that surround us as we struggle for survival.

We are faced constantly by the frailties of those who have the privilege of being our elected representatives -- in and out of government. The corruption, nepotism and discrimination in which they engage while using words to mask their misdeeds, are most distressing.

The behaviour of such representatives, to be found in too many of our Caribbean societies, is among the people and things that evoke outrage and sadness on my part. And, I suppose you too!

They often make a mockery of social justice and democracy, of public accountability and transparency. Yet they want to speak and act in our, the peoples', name.

Outrage and sadness also by priests and other religious people of various faiths who indulge in sexual practices, financial and other corrupt acts that shame and disgrace more than themselves, disorienting and making angry those who had come to believe in their commitment, their honesty and integrity.

Saddened and outraged too by the criminal behaviour of elements within our armed force and police services -- those public servants in whom we have placed our confidence and depend on for our physical safety; to uphold the rule of law and defend the security and sovereignty of the state in the face of internal and external aggression and terrorism.

When we also learn of the thiefing habits, worse the illegal deals in arms and drugs of our security forces, acts of sexual abuse and bribery of such elements in the disciplined forces, we know of the sense of shame experienced by the great majority of their colleagues, some of them dying in the line of duty at the hands of armed bandits.

And how can we ignore the consequences when some "big ups" labour union officials and business people misappropriate funds, engage in deceit, cook the books and involve themselves in bribes, nepotism and discrimination, or otherwise misuse their positions for personal and/or political gains that have nothing to do with the welfare of the people.

Readers well may ask: What about the media people, the members of the so-called "fourth estate"?

Such as those who ignore the ethics of the profession when they accept bribes, engage in expedient self-censorship, knowingly misinform the public to satisfy other people's agendas, undermine colleagues at the work place to politicians and their parties, or private sector and social interest groups?

Well, in my book they are also contributors to the social and moral decay, the abuse of power and the corruption that are becoming a way of life in too many Caribbean societies.

The racism and race hate, the falsehood, slander and sheer abuse of the freedom of expression that take place too frequently by commentators and media talk show hosts in some of our Caribbean societies make a mockery of the profession of journalism, the freedom and democracy we are expected to promote and defend.

Outrageous indeed, and sad for all of us.

When a child is sexually molested by a father, brother, relative or close family friend, a teenage girl or a mother raped at home or at work, there must be a feeling of revulsion by all of us who understand that more than the victims, humanity itself is degraded by such cowardly, criminal acts. We have to watch out for each other.

The outrage and sadness spread with the reports of brutish, domestic violence against women, those female species of humankind who remain victims of sexual harassment and discrimination at work places, having survived the violence in their homes where they often have to care for children neglected by the men who batter them.

We place our trust in doctors and nurses, magistrates and judges, only to be let down at critical moments by some of them.

And when they fail to honour the ethics of their own profession they weaken the social fabric of the society.

Health care suffers and so does justice, and our quality of life becomes even poorer, while some conveniently rationalise rascality in high places.

Making this or any other society a better place, a more wholesome environment, requires the collective involvement of all of us.

In practical terms there may be little that some can do, but revealing that moral courage and point of reference that distinguish the difference between good and evil, will be a good start.

The intention is not to preach to anyone, but to reflect what I am persuaded is a concern shared by many others out there, about the wrongdoings from which every society must be cleansed.