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Oh! what a world!

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Just thought I would make a little shift this week from usual column approach to draw attention to some interesting reports that I have come across in the British press. First though, permit me to make a public apology to both sides of my family, the Dopwells (mother) and Roses (father) for missing the birthday celebrations of two venerables, the patriarch Lawrence Dopwell (90th) and matriarch Alice Rose (88th), coincidentally both widowed.{{more}}Unfortunately, duty called and while, in my sphere of activity, many are prepared to “run dey mout”, few are prepared to try to meet the challenges. My apologies, but I have chosen the latter course. Forgiveness asked.

CHILDREN BEATING PARENTS

London’s Chief Prosecutor, Ms Alison Saunders, is quoted in the EVENING STANDARD (Oct. 04), as revealing that children as young as 11 years old, boys and girls alike, are being convicted in British courts for violently attacking their parents.

She said that the impact of “poor upbringing” and “bad examples in society” is being seen in the courts. More than 50 boys and girls, 13 years old and under, have been prosecuted since 2010 for domestic violence offences. Earlier this year, an 11-year old boy was convicted of assault for punching, spitting and throwing a drawer at his mother. Her crime? Not paying the phone bill on time. Similarly, a 13-year-old, with previous convictions, was found guilty of threatening his mother with a knife after being refused pocket money to stop him from buying drugs!

Over the past three and a half years, another 850 juveniles between the ages of 14 and 17 were prosecuted in the courts for domestic violence. Commenting on this alarming situation, Ms Saunders said that while it was difficult to establish the causes for these acts in some cases, diminished respect for authority was playing a clear role.

“There is a lack of respect and a lack of regard for authority. When I was growing up, the thought of striking a parent was beyond the pale. Is that peers, is that TV, is that the general environment in the house? You are not born to commit domestic violence. It’s really about nurturing. That’s what we, as a society, need to discuss.”

Perhaps this should cause us to reflect on our own society. Is it happening here? At home? In schools? Are we paying attention?

POPE ATTACKS CHURCH FOR SELF-INTEREST

The new Catholic Pope Francis has accused his church’s governing council, the Curia, for seeking

self-interest. This was revealed in a recent interview the Pope did with the Italian newspaper La Republica.

Pope Francis attacked what he deemed the

“leprosy” of the Vatican bureaucracy. He is quoted as saying that “the Heads

of the Church have often been narcissists (self-admirers), flattered and thrilled” by those around them. According to the interview, the Pope went

on to say:

“This Vatican-centric view neglects the world around us. I do not share this view and I will do everything I can to change it”.

Brave words indeed from the new Pope who has announced his bold intentions to make sweeping reforms in the church, plans which do not seem to have gained the approval of many entrenched in the hierarchy of the church.

FIFA: BETWEEN CORRUPT AND INCOMPETENT?

A British journalist has described the governing body of world football, FIFA, as being “an organisation that could be said to occupy a space somewhere between corrupt and incompetent”.

Dan Jones was writing in last Friday’s edition of the Evening Standard, about the current international controversy over the award of the 2022 World Cup hosting to the Middle East country of Qatar and FIFA’s problems in resolving major problems with the choice. FIFA had chosen Qatar in preference to Australia, the USA and Turkey, ignoring the fact that the World Cup has traditionally been played in the northern summer months (June/July) when temperatures in Qatar can rise as high as 50° centigrade (over 120° on our farenheit scale).

Faced with mounting criticism, FIFA president Sepp Blatter has raised the idea of a shift to the winter months, but this has presented problems in terms of scheduling, conflicts with other major sporting events, including the winter Olympics, and clashes with television contracts. A FIFA Executive meeting last week failed to resolve the issue and has postponed any decision until next year.

But the countries which lost the 2022 bid are saying that a shift would be in breach of the basis on which the competition was awarded and are threatening to sue FIFA for compensation. In addition, a major social row has erupted over Qatar’s alleged violations of international labour laws in violating the rights of migrant workers there, including those building football facilities.

Given this situation and the persistent charges of widespread corruption at the highest levels in FIFA, Jones referred to the Fifa leadership as “villains”. His column accused Fifa as operating “with little transparency, accountability or good sense…” He went on to charge that Fifa’s leaders “have caused massive damage and turmoil in the sport they are charged with leading and protecting”.

FIFA has a herculean task on its hands to restore confidence in its administration.

Renwick Rose is a community activist and social commentator.

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