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Grief and despair, all over the world

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Tue, Jan 13, 2015

Had the late, great, black musician and entertainer Louis ‘Satchmo’ Armstrong been still alive, he would undoubtedly have considered revisiting his classic description of our planet as being “a wonderful world.”{{more}}

For sure, the events in what was once called “Gay Paris” over the past week, have cast a grim and gloomy shadow over such a positive view of our world. The latest eruption of mindless terrorism, taking the lives of innocent civilians and police officers gave another sad reminder of our own vulnerability, and inhumanity too.

But grief and despair was not confined to France, for in many other parts of the world, families are grieving, mourning for the loss of loved ones as a result of tragic incidents and accidents.

The grieving and sorrow hit home yesterday, here in St Vincent and the Grenadines, with the tragic accident in the North Windward area, which took the lives of five children on their way to school.

Just as Paris, Europe and indeed the entire world was grief-stricken as a consequence of the terrorist activities of last week, so too has been the Vincentian nation, particularly because the accident took the lives of flowers of the nation with their whole lives before them.

While ours is accidental, it nonetheless connects us with those in other parts of the world mourning the loss of their young ones, albeit in different circumstances. We can think of the parents of the children in Syria, being slaughtered and subjected to a life of horror, while adults get on with their power struggles.

But particularly terrifying is the fate of the children of northern Nigeria, innocent lambs being slaughtered on the altar of terrorism. According to media reports, the latest atrocities being inflicted on them by the criminals of the Boko Haram organization involve strapping bombs on to the bodies of girls as young as 10 years of age, to be detonated in contrived ‘suicide bombings’. A more heinous act is difficult to imagine.

What is especially galling is the contrasting reaction of the international community to the two sets of terrorist actions. There is not only just indignation to the events in Paris, but a coming together of world leaders, pledging cooperation to respond to global terrorism. The indignation to the ongoing terror in northern Nigeria, the abduction, rape and murder of young girls is also abhorred, but there is not the same level of reaction.

It is as though some victims of terrorist acts are to be treated with more urgency and seriousness than others. But we are all vulnerable and must not accept wanton and wilful taking of innocent human life, irrespective of the supposed cause.

The children of Nigeria or Burma or Haiti are no less than those of any other part of the world; they are equally precious in the sight of the Almighty.

As we express our solidarity with the sufferers and the bereaved, let us also ponder our own recent tragedy and vow to give all those families and communities affected all our support in their hours of grief.

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