Times are tough. You know it, we know it; everybody knows it.
This is not confined to Samoa. It’s happening all over the world. Whether it’s a small island in the middle of the vast Pacific Ocean or the biggest country in the world, these are difficult days.
One gets the feeling that everything is being shaken.
The environment for instance is being shaken. Take a good look at the economies of the world and you’ll find that they’re all slowly but surely trembling. Think about the state of some of the world’s strongest economies – including the United States and China. Even they’re struggling. The fear is that if those countries are struggling, what hope is there for smaller economies like ours?
The political systems are also increasingly coming under attack.
Think of the political upheaval in countries near and far being torn apart by strife, wars, corruption, betrayal and the deadly abuse of power.
In Samoa, we are not immune. That’s why it’s hardly surprising to see how slowly but surely our cultural and religious values are disappearing. They are instead being replaced by evil and thinking motivated by a system driven by greed material wealth and corruption.
With so many problems around us today, we at times ask where they came from?
Well, the truth is simple enough. They came from us. They are part of a system we – mankind – created. You see, sometimes we forget that with every good and wonderful development, there is always another side. And that is often evil, undesirable and far more damaging than we can ever imagine. And that’s where most of our problems.
There is no denying that we have many wonderful developments in this world. But with the good also comes the bad. Unfortunately, it is the bad that is often highlighted and magnified.
In a way, it’s okay as I suppose that allows us to pay more attention to creating solutions that work.
The tragedy is that every time the going gets tough, there are sad consequences.
Confronted by one problem after another, mankind is finding that he doesn’t have the ability to cope. So what does he do?
Well, in some cases, he resorts to the unthinkable by committing the ultimate act of ending his life. We’ve seen this in country. Think of the number of suicide cases during the past few months. There have been far too many.
But that’s not the only symptom of a sick world we are living in today.
In some cases, man has taken out his frustration on his wife, children and the people around him. That’s why cases of murders, abuse and domestic violence are among the biggest challenges the world is facing today.
Some people turn to alcohol as if it’s the solution to everything. And when you’ve had one too many drinks, well we don’t need to tell you what happens.
Others turn to a life of crime, a life where they seek to discover themselves through all sorts of wrongdoing. So they live a life based on stealing, robbery and consumption of illicit drugs. The sad part is that by the time they discover who they really are, it’s lucky if they’re alive. In most cases, they’re killed.
Indeed, the problems we are seeing in Samoa are sending a shock wave with the suggestion that a terrible illness has invaded society. They need to be addressed, and removed.
So where are we going from here? What can we do to make this country a better place? Is there a solution to all these problems?
There are many answers. Yours is likely to be different from mine. If only we lived in a world where there is a one solution fits all.
Unfortunately, each case is unique.
In Samoa, despite the laws put in place, there are far too many kids selling goods around town instead of attending school.
In villages near and far from Apia, income earning opportunities are very limited and that’s why many families are finding it increasingly difficult to get by. Given their desperation, they can hardly cope with the demands of everyday life. That’s why they are failing both financially and emotionally. It is also why they are committing acts that are simply unthinkable – including suicide.
So where do we go from here? And where do we find solutions?
The answer is simple. These problems are a part of systems created by mankind. It means the solutions should also be found through mankind.
In times like these, we need to look at the pillars of our society.
We need to get back to finding out who we are. To move forward, we need to step back a bit to rediscover ourselves. We need to look to the pillars of our community.
Where are our family values?
What about the Churches? Do they have a role to play?
Where are the Village Councils and our matai system?
Where does our culture come into play?
What about the government? Does it have a role to play? Can people find refuge with them?
Looking at what’s happening today, it’s hard not to be alarmed.
But in difficult times such as what we are seeing today, people need to find refuge, comfort, help and real solutions when they look to their leaders. They don’t need to be insulted, hurt and rejected.
They need love, care and strong words of encouragement. Why don’t you try and encourage or help someone today? That would be such a wonderful start, wouldn’t it? Have a great Wednesday Samoa, God bless!