Sun | Sep 26, 2021

Letter of the Day | Return to the village construct

Published:Thursday | July 22, 2021 | 12:06 AM

THE EDITOR, Madam:

Once again, the nation has been shaken with the tragic news of the death of a four-year-old child who was allegedly beaten cruelly by his stepfather with a piece of stick because he was “eating slowly”. It would appear that this was an act of rage rather than anything else and it calls into sharp focus many defects that exist within the family structure that contribute to a wider societal dilemma. The signs have been there that our country is heading down a dreadful road and we have been slow in our response to address these phenomena. When a society turns on its children, it calls for a time of national planning, as things cannot continue in the direction they are trending currently.

Crime and violence is high in all its forms, such as rape, domestic violence, robberies, murders, human trafficking, etc. When you assess the situation that the country has now found itself in, after its decades-long slumber, you cannot help but wonder if we are being guided by even the slightest notion of morality and respect for country, self and neighbour. The ingredients for our current pot of disaster were already simmering but that process has been greatly amplified with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. This has plunged most families into a hole that seems to be without a bottom, there to suffer in utter and complete silence, as is often the case. We are speaking about a contracting economy that seems resistant to the minimal stimuli that have been attempted by the Government, massive job cuts (whether through lay-offs or redundancies) and reductions in wages. These grim circumstances must be matched with the prevailing increase in the cost of living, such as increasing gas prices and food prices, on the ordinary citizen who survives from day to day and from pay cheque to pay cheque.

If we continue to react to these instances rather than addressing the true underlying causes, then we will forever be lost in our own shadows. What we need is a holistic approach aimed at addressing the inherent defects in the family structure. Many of the nation’s problems stem from a breakdown in the family structure that has gone unnoticed or unaddressed for decades with the notion that things will get better. When a two-year-old child is killed along with their mother and a stepfather is alleged to have raped and buggered his teenage stepdaughter, one must awake to the realisation our country is under siege.

We are one nation and if we are going to overcome this dark age that we have found ourselves in, we must begin to seriously consider embarking on a national call to reinstitute the village approach to nation-building. Crime and violence is no respecter of persons, and though it may directly affect various individuals, it is indirectly injurious to the development of the country. The family unit is to the society what a cell is to the body, the basic building block of all living things. The time has come and long passed for the village to just raise a child, it’s the dawn of a new era where the village must not only raise a child but also a family.

JOSEPH WILLIS