A time of reflection

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Mata'afa Keni Lesa

Christmas is upon us. In a few days time, this nation will join millions around the world to mark one of the best times of the year in so far as celebrations go.

It’s not just Christmas that makes this time of the year special. 

It’s the idea that for many hard working folks, work is winding down and there is finally an opportunity to unwind, relax, reflect and spend some quality time with loved ones. 

It’s such an important time for all of us especially given the chance to reflect. We say this because it’s only when we learn how to look back, reassess ourselves and learn from the past that we are able to move forward with a clear view of where we are heading. 

Looking back this year, there is no denying the fact we’ve had a very challenging year. Each one of us faced different battles. We lost a few but we also celebrated some sweet victories. 

That’s life though, isn’t it?

There is a touch of sadness though to all this. Today in Samoa and all over the world, there is suffering and evil everywhere we look. There are murders, rape, incest, robberies and all sorts of petty crimes being committed left, right and centre. 

Here in Samoa, we’ve seen some very sad developments, which give us the idea that something is terribly amiss somewhere in this country. It has something to do with the senseless beating of our women and children, dishonesty, rape and some visitors to this country being harassed and violated that some have left with very sour memories, not ever wanting to come back. 

We don’t blame them. You see, when people look to Samoa from afar, they see pristine beaches; lush greenery and they imagine the sort of tranquility that cannot be matched anywhere. They see pictures of friendly Samoans, which are true and accurate to an extent.

But the reality on the ground can be quite contrasting. You see, over recent months, there have been a number of suicides involving people of all ages. Gone are the days when suicide in this country mainly involved young people. We’ve had several cases this year where grown men and women have resorted to the unthinkable. 

Elsewhere, incest has been rising alarmingly. Young girls are being sexually molested by their own fathers and grown relatives. This has become so common these days. We can go on and on but you get our drift. There is so much evil we have to do more to bring out the goodness we know exists in this country.

The point is that as we prepare to celebrate one of the most joyous times of the year, we need to take stock, reevaluate and find exactly where we are in relation to a number of challenges.  

We’ve asked these questions before and we will ask it again, what is going on in Samoa today? What has become of this country that is supposedly founded on God? 

Speaking of God, we accept that we are a deeply religious country, aren’t we? There are four, five, six and sometimes up to ten church buildings in some villages. There are church meetings happening throughout the year and they continue to occupy a good part of our annual calendar. 

Sundays are days to behold. 

But how can evil flourish in a country where there are so many churches? 

Is it possible that maybe the church is finding that it’s no longer able to appease troubled minds, spread the meaning of kindness? 

How can we exalt God with one hand and kill with the other? 

How can we profess to love God and harbour so much hate for a brother/sister?

Have we become a nation of hypocrites? Whose examples are we following?

These are tough questions. We know. 

But today is a Sunday. It is times like this we need to be reaching deep down inside us for solutions. 

We are a country of the “we.” It means each and every one of us has a role to play. The government leaders have got a part just like the church leaders. Village matais have to step up just like the every family leader.  

We need to be asking tough questions about ourselves.

Has life in our country become so unbearable that some people are finding it difficult and are therefore resorting to the unthinkable?

Where is our Parliament? Where is the government? Where are the church leaders?  What about our matai and village leaderships? Where are our law enforcers? What are the Police officers doing? 

What about the individual households? Are parents performing their God-given roles or have they become so caught up with their busy schedules they simply don’t have the time to be parents anymore? Are children being instilled the right morals and values? If some elders are complaining that today’s generation has become so spoilt, whose fault is that anyway? 

Having said that, as a country, let’s not lose sight of hope. Christmas after all is about hope. And so as we rest this Sunday, let’s cling on to hope for dear life; believing that together there is plenty more good left in each and everyone that when we rise up, we will defeat evil once and for all. 

Have a peaceful Sunday Samoa, God bless!

© Samoa Observer 2016

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