Stop pretending that things are okay. Clearly they are not

By Mata'afa Keni Lesa 07 November 2017, 12:00AM

Think about this for a moment. Judging from the number of serious crimes reported in small Samoa, something is terribly amiss somewhere.

The truth is that people talk so much about progress and how far we’ve come as a country, which is true to an extent.

Look at the high rises in Apia, the flash lights, the advent of the internet technology and so much more. These are all pleasing to the eyes.

But all that glitters is not gold, we should be reminded.

You see ladies and gentlemen, when we sit down to consider what’s happening today, it’s hard to ignore the feeling that something is just not right. Indeed when you scratch a bit deeper what you will find would alarm you, deep beneath all the façade there is a sense of sadness.

The signs are there. We’re talking about the rise in serious and petty crimes, rape, incest, theft, robbery, murders and so much more.

Then we need to look at the poor standard of living among some people, the deteriorating state of our morals, values and our culture.

Now just look at the story on page 3 of today’s newspaper about a grand uncle who sexually abused two young relatives? This is sickening to say the least but it is one of far too many similar incidents we have seen in Samoa today. 

Not a day goes by without some sort of sex crime, incest and rape namely, is reported on the news. 

Fathers are raping their daughters, uncles turning on their nieces, brothers having sex with their sisters and the list goes on. 

What is going on in Samoa today? It is utterly shameful and disgraceful, especially in a country where we pride ourselves on our cultural and religious values.

These are not new issues. They have been with us for sometime now but we cannot help but get the feeling we are going backwards in terms of our efforts to address them.

Yes there is a lot of noise being made but the results don’t stack up.

The truth is there for everyone to see.

How did we end up this way? Why does one get the feeling that Samoa is going backwards morally and ethically? 

Have our standards slipped so low to the point where rape, incest, abuse and stealing have become an accepted part of life? Have we become so immune to the stories of sexual abuse, theft and other petty crimes we are told from left, right and centre that we no longer care?

Take the issue of theft for instance. Folks, we’ve shared this with you before. According to a number of business people and employers we’ve spoken with, theft is one of their biggest problems.

They say some employees would steal everything and anything, that in some work places, if they could steal the toilet bowl, they would. How do you explain toilet rolls disappearing, the faucet at the sink going missing? Mugs? Coffee? Sugar? And much, much more. 

But these are signs of the times.

The truth is that if the growing number of theft cases – as one example of the many problems - is anything to judge by, this country is surely heading for a future we do not want. 

Now, think about poverty. 

Think about corruption. 

And think about the general attitude towards the abuse of public properties and misuse of power and authority. 

Think about the growing instances of rape, incest and sexual abuse. 

Think about domestic violence, violence in general and people’s attitude to wrongdoing.

The apathy is absolutely unbelievable. Sometimes, you’d think that a life of crime is absolutely normal in Samoa. When you talk to some people, they don’t seem to care. It’s just another case of corruption, they would say. It’s just another case of rape, incest, family violence, extra marital affair and so forth. 

It’s heartbreaking stuff.

Where do we go from here? 

How do we begin to fix this mess?

We need to change mindsets and attitudes. And we need to be completely honest with ourselves. We’ve got to stop pretending that everything is okay when it is clearly not.

And let me remind that we need leaders who lead by example.

In Samoa today, most of our leaders – especially the government - don’t believe that poverty and hardship exist. Whereas poverty is something they say belongs in Africa, they will tell you that corruption in Samoa is a non-issue.

What about sex crimes? What about rape and incest? What about the abuse of girls and women? Don’t you think the time has come that we should stop pretending things are okay when they clearly are not? 

Band-aid solutions will not work. And burying these things under the fala will only keep them hidden until another time. 

We need some real solutions. 

And it’s up to each and every one of us to start conversations where some of these solutions can be found. Don’t be afraid, we need to stop the rot.

What do you think? 

Write and share your solutions with us!

Have a wonderful Wednesday Samoa, God bless!

By Mata'afa Keni Lesa 07 November 2017, 12:00AM

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