Hopes are riding high in the wake of the Obama victory. Every news channel is busy trying to see whether the world will be a better place now, whether things will actually change. Even though we all know that miracles cannot happen, that the situation on the ground is far from happy, that what happens in the USA does not truly affect our realities, the victory of this black man of humble origins has somewhat given everyone a ray of hope and I guess that is what everyone is busy celebrating.
Yesterday a horrific incident brought to light the dark side of the reality we live, one that we try and conceal but that nevertheless exists; one that makes me wonder where the hope we are busy celebrating actually is.
A 13 year old girl was rescued from the clutches of her employers after 8 months of torture and pure hell. She had been in the service of a young up market educated couple with two children. The couple abused her mercilessly and endlessly. What was even more horrifying was that the couple admitted they acted in such a despicable manner to bust their stress.
I am wordless and cannot begin to understand the hows and whys of this tragic case. What frightens me is that this act was perpetrated by educate and well to do people. And if educated and well to do people act is such ways then there seems to be no hope for anyone of us. A litany of questions come to mind: why do educated people break laws (the child was under age)? what gives one human the right to abuse another (modern day slavery)? what is the point of education if one behaves in such a way? how can a mother treat another child this way? and will the law actually punish the perpetrators? who will heal the scars of the little girl and what will her future be?
The case of this girl is an extreme one. That anyone should feel the need to use another human being to deal with their own stress seems a psychotic behaviour. But let us not take solace in this: the week gone has seen many tragic occurrences: the honour killing of two young teenagers who had dared followed their dream, a hate campaign fueled by a senseless killing, protectors turning into perpetrators of terror, and more of the same. Such incidents lead us to believe that all is not right, that our search of hope seems very futile and empty, if not fake. The day when an Obama like person comes our way is remote if not chimera.
The reasons are many. Our society is still far too divided and fractured what is frightening is that this state of things is accepted and even sustained by the so called educated. I was appalled at the reaction of a well educated lawyer to the honour killings of the two girls. He seemed to almost condone the act explaining that if a girl in a family stepped out of line it would lead to the family being ostracised by the community. What was scary was the fact that he felt there was no solution or way out.
This is the sad reality we live. One where we are always politically correct in denouncing wrong doings but are never willing to walk the talk. One where issues are worth being debated but are never translated into action.
Rather than celebrating hope, it is perhaps time we for once looked at ourselves honestly and candidly and accepted our share of responsibility. Then perhaps we could be justified in beginning to hope....