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Re: Dr. Nantambu's essay on violence
Posted: Tuesday, May 9, 2006

By Linda Edwards

I had just finished reading Dr. Kwame Nantambu's essay on violence in Trinidad and Tobago at, when I switched to Newsday to read of all the dead bodies left unclaimed in the morgue at Mt. Hope.

Now if there was ever a sign, one particular sign, of moral decay in a society, it would be the abandoning of the corpse of the dead by relatives. I would hope that if there are relatives of the published dead, they would hasten to collect the last physical remains of their family member and give him/her a decent burial.

Maybe the country has priced itself out of the funeral business, and these people's families are penniless. But nonetheless, leaving a corpse there unclaimed if he or she is your relative is so awful, I cannot think of a word to describe it.

Perhaps we need a landfill for old people where we simply dump them along with other garbage, in order to save costs that we must save for when we are finally at the bottom of the tar pit of humanity. I hope we turn around before that.

Whenever I see an old vagrant, a beggar, a homeless person, my mind goes back to the first time my child kicked in the womb. Did that vagrant's mother, at that same point, want her child to be any less than other people did for their children?

Life happens to people. Sometimes a wrong turn in the road leads to other wrong turns, and one never gets back on track. Perhaps these unclaimed dead belong in that category.

We used to call ourselves a Christian society before that became unfashionable, politically incorrect. In that old society, even a few friends would have come forward to chip in to bury the poor. What have we progressed to? regressed to?

You can tell a lot about society by the way it treats its dead people.

This could be the final sign of a society broken beyond repair, but I do not think so. There has to be hope. There has to be hope that at least one family member will claim these dead and do the decent thing by them. There HAS to be hope. It's why we get out of bed in the morning.

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