Friday, December 22, 2006

No, not again.

If there is anything worse about violence and ensuing beatings and killings then this only alternative can be that children are involved. Logically, one's mind goes to the numerous children that are maltreated by parents or strangers alike; the vulnerability of children makes it a duty for society to cater for and protect them. What happens though when children are no longer only victims but become perpetrators too?

Today in France two young teenagers, a boy and girl, killed their classmate in the school courtyard. A few days ago, a young boy of no more than 11 years was caught in Salonica, Greece throwing stones at policemen. Last year, in the town of Veroia, Greece a boy was allegedly tortured and killed by his classmates. Just a few years ago, in Columbine, Ohio, a young boy shot and killed his classmates.

Language deprived of sensationalism can make even the most shocking information appear normal. Yet no matter how objective and relaxed the language is, such news is disturbing, even to the most calm and composed individuals. Denial is a common response: one sees it in newspapers analyses, listens to it when people talk, expresses it on his own face. "It is not possible."

Sadly it is. Atrocities occur. Atrocities occur often. Atrocities occur often in many places. Can it go any worse?

Realizing the unrealizable is an obligation. Accepting what is unacceptable is a crime.

Society advances by the day. Is this a measure of our progress? Or is it perhaps a measure of our civility? What is it really that justifies our breeding of violence such that brings horrendous crimes like the ones we read in the papers to life? We talk about education and curricula reforms, we are concerned about what happens in school classrooms when we pay little if any attention to all the 'other' teachers of children: the movies, the games, the advertisements, the media, the archetypes. In her article in yesterday's Kathimerini, Tasoula Karaiskaki condemns society and the culture of abundance that breeds inequality and cultivates disdain to those least favored by society. Explanations there can be many. The question remains, and is poignant one: how do we go about? What sort of revolution it takes, if any, such that would liberate us all from the maze of the 'culture of violence'?

To me in this story there are two other things that are problematic too. Karaiskaki brings the first in her article: democracy, and the inherent inability of our political system to treat all those members of society, and particularly the younger ones, that are deviating. More often than note the society turns its face down to those mostly in need. While sure there are exceptions the fact that incidents occur repeatedly is a sign of our utter failure.

The second concern involves justice. How is it that we can administer justice when there are no fingerprints of the true perpetrators? (Let us not forget that children committing crimes are themselves victims). And, perhaps most importantly, what is that prevents us from doing so? It seems to me that our conception of crime being limited to traditional or almost stereotypical images of criminals as depicted in movies does little service to us in times when the definitions of villain and victim have expanded so drastically.

With the violence of children being such common phenomenon surely we must admit that another pillar of society has collapsed. In front of our eyes. The least we can do: try to pick up the pieces.

Maybe, maybe, one day we can have the full wall up.

References and Links:

Meaux : les deux collégiens mis en examen

Η ευημερία που πληγώνει

4 comments:

dimitris said...

when the unacceptable becomes casual and habitual, then we have a real problem. unfortunately this is the world we live in. instead of using the abundance of information to fix it by knowing how it really looks like, we develop an unprecedented apathy by not realising that all of these events are for real and they do happen, and they could happen to us or our own children anytime.

stratos said...

ευτυχισμένος ο καινούργιος χρόνος

Pixie said...

Such a beautiful article anastasia.Children violence seems to be worsening by the day and this is the example that we adults have set.Something is definitely wrong and education and awareness is the key.Though our education is not centered around children's true needs.

Elpidia García said...

La cultura de la violencia y la falta de respeto y amor por lo más bello que tiene el hobre: la niñez, son los responsables de estas atrocidades como bien apuntas en tu texto Anastasia. Mientras existan personas sensibles a este problema que se manifiestan en contra de esta cultura deshumanizada, hay esperanza.

Aprovecho para mandarte un saludo y desearte lo mejor en el Año Nuevo que comienza.

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