We're Not Accustomed to Evil
Posted: Wednesday, April 23, 2003
By Stephen Kangal, Caroni
I wish to take umbrage with Father Clyde Harvey for falsely stating during his San Fernando Hill Good Friday homily that Trinbago was growing "... accustomed to kidnappings... murder," and downright evil/lawlessness (Express April 19, p4; Newsday April 19, p.7; Guardian April 22, p. 5).
What are the bases, the empirical evidence to support his verdict or is he simply flaunting his pulpit licence?
His misrepresentation, in my view, is a non-Christian, uncaring perception of the current harrowing/ambushed state of mind of law-abiding Trinbagonians. He expressed no concern for those non-Catholics who were hitherto the victims of violent crimes. He made no reference to the failings of those who have been elected to govern us or to those who are paid to protect and serve us. His only prescription to lawlessness is prayers and unity. But he did not feel that he had an obligation to tell us who live in an ethnically polarised society what he means by unity. Is it unity Panday-style?
Hundreds of families and thousands of their friends and relatives have suffered from persistent psychological scarring having fallen innocent and unsuspecting victims to the exponential waves of lawlessness and serious crimes (65 kidnappings and 60 murders for 2003 so far). They can never and will never grow accustomed to or accept crime/evil as part of the status quo. What alternative does he have to offer to them?
Is the cleric going against current empirical evidence and falsely insinuating that we are not an empathetic people in the face of widespread community mobilization/ continuing public outcry, thanks to the media, against the crime menace?
In all the national polls conducted hitherto both before and after the elections young and old have indicated emphatically that crime was the most urgent priority issue facing the electorate. Father Harvey must surely be aware of the range of community-based initiatives/media focus/ marches/legislative response that has been mobilized to demonstrate the national no-none-sense response to the crime epidemic/evils in the society. Is he insensitive to the vandalised state of mind of the silent law-abiding majority including the kidnapping victims? Everyday outpourings of our outrage and trauma are articulated in the media against the cascading wanton lawlessness (called euphemistically the lucrative crime industry) that has been allowed to hold us to ransom as well as hostages in our homes.
The fact that the Police crime detection/prosecution rate is minimal should not have lulled Father Harvey into falsely concluding that we are complacent with or can live with the crime scourge. The overwhelming evidence points to the contrary.
Or is he representing the views of selfishness, uncaring indifference of those who are not the targets/victims of crimes in our society having regard to the factors of culture/ethnicity and geography that would appear to be the bases of the kidnapping victims selection process? In fact from what bases has Father Harvey derived his unfortunate conclusions/observations?
Father Harvey has to rationalise his contradictions/accusations on the role of the media, the proverbial sacrificial lamb. When the media prints crime-related stories in the front page he concludes that this is tantamount to glorifying crime. When they do not, that communicates to him that we the people are growing accustomed to evil and crime.
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