Diamond Jubilee river pageant story was the only escape from disturbing reports in your Monday, June 4 edition
Had it not been for the grand events celebrating Queen Elizabeth’s 60th year on the throne – the Diamond Jubilee – which was published in your Monday, June 4 edition headlined, ‘UK Queen and crowds brave rain for jubilee armada,’ my spirit would have remained dampened for a good part of that day. It was so good and interesting to read about the “most dazzling display of pageantry seen on London’s River Thames for 350 years.” I didn’t get to see any of it on TV but it was good to read about it.
There is hardly a day that goes by without some horrendous report in our dailies about people being slaughtered; it seems as if our newspapers have become the mouthpieces of the undertaker. It has become so frequent that people don’t appear to be that much outraged any more by these gruesome acts; they have become the norm, so people have become accustomed to them. But the June 4 publication had too many disturbing and heartbreaking reports:
‘Plane crash in Nigeria’s Lagos kills all 147 on board‘; ‘Jamaican man says listened as cops killed his brother’; ‘Jamaican woman charged over daughter’s rape‘; ‘Family of murdered Maida woman pained by freeing of accused’; ‘Murdered Vergenoegen woman had difficult life.‘ Headlining them all was the front page photograph and caption, ‘West Berbice hairdresser murdered.’ These were all sad and moving stories. Indeed, what strange creatures human beings are; it looks like we are losing our bearings. We destroy each other with such savagery, that I can’t help but agree with William James, whoever he was, who said: “Whilst part of what we perceive comes through our senses from objects before us, another part (and it may be the larger part) always comes out of our own mind.”
‘Family of murdered Maida woman pained by freeing of accused’ was a tough one – four accused walk free. After reading the story you couldn’t help empathizing with them – all women. Looking at the expression on their faces certainly said much, and in their eyes is the story that only they can feel and tell. One is touched further by the words of one sister who said: “We come from a poor family but we would not let her down. We would try we best to pick up back the story.” Those words moved me so that I wish that there was something I could do to help – really.
Well, if the above was not enough, what do we say of ‘Jamaican man says listened as cops killed brother’? Again, most disturbing was the sad and mournful picture of Shane Schue crying as he recounted how his 25-year-old brother was brutally gunned down in cold blood by the police who then concocted a story that was afterwards told to their superiors and the public. Fearful for his own life, Shane Schue remained silently penned up in his room next to his brother, as he listened as the cops discussed what to do and what they would report. “I heard when him [his brother] said ‘aaahh’ and start to bawl, sometime after one of the policemen shot him again and said ‘stop making noise.’ “ I couldn’t move, I couldn’t move, if they knew I was in there they would have killed me too.”
This young man was killed for the sake of killing – the fun of it, that’s the way psychopaths behave. As reported the youngster had won many awards for exemplary performance as a member of the Mountain View Police Youth Club and the National Youth Service.
It is stories like these that make your blood boil. It seems to me that there is something odd, out of sync. The majority of policemen the world over don’t seem to conform to a regular pattern of behaviour like ordinary folks do. I figure that a thorough examination of people in the force may lead to the discovery of new and interesting information about the human psyche. Probably the mere fact that certain behaviour is regularly employed by members of the force in the course of their work, over time becomes second nature, and they automatically slip into it at the least opportunity, for example, bullyism; violence; brutal and callous behaviour; excessive force; overstepping their limits; taking advantage of their authority; obsession with power, etc. This behaviour we bear witness to every day. And this is why this young exemplary Jamaican was shot and killed for no reason.
Just next to this story was yet another Jamaican sad affair. A woman held her 15-year-old daughter hostage for her 57-year-old lover to have sex with her so as not to prevent her cash flow from being stopped. This story reminded me about an incident I heard about in South Africa. Mahatma Gandhi is walking down the road with his South African comrade, and a black man upon seeing a white man approaching leaps off the pavement into the gutter to let him have the way. As the comrade with Gandhi attempted to explain the reason for the black man’s action, Gandhi cut him short saying, “I can understand the reason for him doing that, what I want to know is what kind of person is it to make him do that.” Gandhi is correct, what manner of man is he to make such a request.
Moving to page ten: ‘Murdered Vergenoegen woman had difficult life’ was a sad story, especially knowing that her mentally challenged teenage daughter was locked up in the house with her mother’s corpse for days before someone went to investigate. She probably witnessed what the murderer did to her before killing her. I will not comment on the murder of the hairdresser, but all these stories were discomforting, emotional and a dampener to the spirit. It was good that I slipped away to your page four to attend the Diamond Jubilee river pageantry on the River Thames for a moment’s respite, and feast my eyes a bit on the Spirit of Chartwell.