Well let’s begin by admitting that some people among us are sick. They seriously need to have their heads reexamined and maybe someone to knock some sense into it.
You see; the time for denial is finished. We cannot ignore what’s happening today, it is staring us in the face, begging us to do something.
Take for example the story titled “Brutal beating leaves family shaken, angry” published on page 2 of yesterday’s Samoa Observer. The accompanying photograph was one of a 16-year-old boy beaten for no reason by a group of people at Mulivai last weekend.
Lanu Palepoi, of Talimatau, and some friends were apparently just hanging out in town after a feed at McDonald’s when they were set upon.
“Suddenly, we noticed a group of youngsters walking straight to us,” he said. “They didn’t ask questions. They just started punching us for absolutely no reason.”
While Lanu’s friend sought help from a nearby taxi stand – whom we’ve been told did not help at all – the poor 16-year-old got an absolute hiding.
“I was trying to fight them off but there were too many of them. They started kicking and punching me and I was helpless. It wasn’t until a security guard of Ace came and that’s when they ran off.”
But they didn’t just run off.
“They ripped off my clothes and took all of our money that night.”
Lanu said the memories of what happened are horrific.
“I was helpless. I thought to myself, what have we done to deserve this? All we did was just stand there. We were just hanging out and next minute we were getting beaten up. I thought they would never stop.”
Lanu’s mother, Anna Tofoipupu Palepoi, is understandably angry. What parent wouldn’t be angry? Who wants to see their son in such a state?
Initially, Ms. Palepoi said her son didn’t want to speak up but she wanted to tell his story to warn other parents.
“The message I want to send to the parents is be careful about letting your kids out because there are losers out there who have nothing better to do than going around and beating up kids,” she said.
“What do they get out of it? Does beating up other people’s children give them a better future? No, it only makes them cowards and losers.”
Well we thank her for finding the courage to share this story. We say this because this is the reality of these evil days and awareness about such behaviour will go a long way towards finding a solution.
Besides Lanu is not the first innocent member of the public to be beaten by a group of thugs in town. And if these people are not found soon, we can guarantee you that he will not be the last. Which is a scary thought.
What can we do? Who is responsible?
Well the simple answer is everyone is responsible. I have a responsibility and you have a responsibility. So does the government, churches and the village leaderships.
The government for instance should be alarmed about growing unemployment among young people who end up on the streets causing wanton violence nobody needs.
If you analyse the crimes being committed today, the majority involve young and able-bodied men who are unemployed. These people need somewhere to channel their energy that’s otherwise being abused and misused.
The government, we feel, should look at utilising our rich and fertile soil to create employment for young people. Instead of encouraging that begging mentality, they should insist on investing in farms and agriculture development so that our people become self-sustained and self-reliant.
Indeed, the term to think about is wealth creation.
Imagine if every family in Samoa is given a grant of some sort from the S.N.P.F or the Development Bank so they can go out and begin to take farming as a commercial venture seriously?
Many families would love to do that but they need financial support – which is what’s missing. Subsistent farming no longer cuts it. It might put food on the table but that’s about it. Listen to all those people in the Village Voice section of your newspaper?
What about the Church? Does it have a role to play in solving today’s problems?
Of course it does. The Church is one of the pillars of Samoan society and as such; it should do more than preach to people and demanding ridiculous amounts of money from them.
The Church should make an effort to minister to people’s real needs and work harder to change their behaviours. It should stop taking from the people and start giving back. For instance, if the people are hungry, feed them. Jesus Christ fed the hungry and the poor; he didn’t take their food and told them to get lost. He gave them food and it was more than enough. The Church should do the same.
Here’s the thing, if members of the church are misbehaving, it means the Church has failed. What is the Church doing about what’s happening today? Will they continue to sing to themselves in those flash buildings while people in the real world are perishing? Will it continue to ignore what’s happening in the real world? There is a time for prayer and preaching and then there is a time for action.
God has done his part and he has shown the church what to do. That is the church’s part and it requires the churches to reach out and make a difference.
What about the village leadership? Are they responsible? Yes they are.
We need matai with integrity to step up. We need men in the villages who are not easily swayed by money, bribes and power to lead. And we need strong fathers in families to guide their children and their wives. We need stronger families.
The point is that this country today is in trouble – judging by such thoughtless and unnecessary attacks on members of the public – unless we all come together and do our part to find a solution.
That’s what we think anyway. What about you? Write and share your thoughts with us!
Have a great Wednesday Samoa, God bless!