Sat | Dec 3, 2016

The pain of difference

Published:Friday | January 9, 2015 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:
People are always pushing the limits; always trying to prove someone wrong. Always in a rush to make a statement and forever seeking an audience to receive applause. No one respects boundaries or the notion of respect.

Everyone is above the norms of whatever morals society dares to hold dear, and no one wants to be accountable for anything. The ever-present disregard for basic principles, rules and beliefs is painful for any sober person to watch erode into this mass of liberalisation and freedom of speech.

Who will seriously acknowledge that there are borders and territories within spheres that should not be crossed and who will preach common sense to the learned ones among us and the youths who are given too much freedom to become the 'new norm'? Never has so much pain been inflicted on a society than the modern one in which we are forced to reside. Never has there been so much silence in a society that likes to speak.

A change in our viewpoint must now be our focus. We have to learn to acknowledge and respect other beliefs and be respectful of other cultures. We do not all share the same beliefs on issues related to religion, sexuality, politics or love.

We, however, exist on the continuation of cultures that our ancestors worked hard to build. We are all a little different, but we have to exist together. Let us, therefore, respect other peoples' beliefs and cultures while practising ours. Let us be mindful of their sensitive issues and avoid them.

I am deeply saddened by the deaths of those persons in that attack on the French newspaper office on Wednesday, and really hope that their families will find peace and comfort in God as they try to cope with the horrific way in which their lives were taken away.

However, the reality is that I, too, would be very offended if a cartoonist ever dares to draw God - my Supreme Being and Lord of all my beliefs - and link Him to an unkind joke lined with racism. I believe that there are certain lines that we should never attempt to cross, out of respect for one's beliefs. It seems like such a meaningless thing to do, but the truth is that many of us would be offended if the tables were turn and we were viewing our Supreme Being's image as part of a joke in a newspaper or magazine.

It's time we stop being so insensitive to other beliefs and practices. This is not to say that those who practise violence to defend their beliefs are correct. Violence is never accepted, and those who practise it should receive the wrath of the laws.

Renee A. Cowan,

International trade policy student at UWI, Cave Hill

rencowan@gmail.com