Monday, August 31, 2009

March for your rights

I thought it apt to tell you this story to demonstrate the difference between our response to violence versus that of Australians. Bullying is a growing problem worldwide and Australia is no exception. Most schools in Australia have strict anti-bullying policies which are largely effective but kids being kids will always do what kids do, fight. On Friday a schoolboy was tragically killed in a fight at a school in a little town.

If it had happened in South Africa, we would have heard about it and thought "thank goodness it wasn't me or someone I know". But not in Australia. The people were incensed and today marched in their hundreds through the town demanding an end to the bullying problem. Every death is mourned, every tragedy is felt by the community and people want answers. This in a country with a murder rate just 0.4% of South Africa's.

On the other side of the pond, what do we South Africans do? We observe as 50 of our citizens are killed every day and do nothing. When marches are organised, we are too busy. We pretend we don't know about it. Or we think, bah, what will one more person achieve? Besides the rugby's on. The last turnout organised in June 2008 attracted only 5000 people. The march before that was in 2006. The march today in Australia in a town of about 3000 people got 900 marchers. When Hugh Glenister tried to stop the Scorpions disbanding, no one joined him, in spirit or financially.

We're our own worst enemies. We're an insular lot, too concerned with ourselves to grasp the fact that if we want to make South Africa our home, we cannot ignore the problem of crime. Writing to the editor does nothing. Talking with people over dinner does nothing. The solution lies with us joining forces and talking as one voice. We really must rethink our attitudes. We need to march, we need to protest, we need to scream at our politicians. Like the Americans do in their Town Hall meetings. United they must listen to us. They can't lock everyone up. Take a leaf from the page of the strikers. They go in numbers, create havoc and go home, no one is arrested. Do it until you get results from the government. Start doing it now or leave the country because nothing will change otherwise. It's sad that we as a people are so diffident when the Aussies and Americans are showing us what true community participation is about.

***

The father of a 15-year-old schoolboy who died after a schoolyard scuffle called for calm and peace during a mass walkout from the northern NSW school today.

Jai Morcom, 15, died in a Gold Coast hospital on Saturday after a fight at Mullumbimby High School at recess on Friday morning.

Hundreds of students and parents, some wearing green armbands and carrying signs, walked out of the school, marched through the town and gathered in a park.

For some, the walk was a protest against a so-called “culture of bullying and violence” they say exists at the school and led to Jai's death.

For others, it was an opportunity to grieve their young friend and share memories.

Jai's father, Steve Drummond, was initially against the walk, telling students gathered outside the school to return to the schoolgrounds where Jai had been injured and remember him there.

“Look inside yourselves, find a bit of peace...stop your bickering,” Mr Drummond told the students.

However, Mr Drummond later joined the crowds in the park and led those gathered in a rendition of John Lennon's Imagine.

"That's the message," he said afterwards.

"Think peace everybody."

Police are continuing to interview students and teachers who witnessed the violent incident on Friday morning.

Inspector Owen King said there was a fight between two boys at recess over lunch tables, but Jai was not involved.

He said Jai was involved in an incident that followed.

One student told The Australian that Jai had stepped in to break up the fight between the two boys.

Inspector King rejected a suggestion that Jai had been thrown against a wall and said there had been no “all-in brawl”.

He said no charges had been laid and police had not identified any persons of interest.

2 Opinion(s):

Anonymous said...

Stupid Aussies stopped smacking their kids and tis is the result. In our future Boer State, corporal punishment will be available in all schools, not that it'll be often needed.

Anonymous said...

So the dad of the killed student calls for calm and a little
"imagine" type of peace music. What's the difference between this guy and the parents of Amy Biel ?
I wonder what will happen to the killer? If you want to stop this type of violence you do it with more violence. The state has a monopoly on " legal " violence and if this is not used in the early stages the situation will end up as in South Africa.