How Games thief and a man who raped a six-year-old bring shame to all of us

Two extremely disturbing stories appeared on the front page of your Samoa Observer newspaper yesterday. Both stories are a reminder about the ugly side of paradise with the suggestion there is a serious illness in Samoa that needs to be dealt with and eliminated immediately.

We are talking about the alarming rate of vile crimes that continue to send a shockwave across this family-oriented and Christian state.

Coming after the high our country experienced during the hosting of the 2019 XVI Pacific Games, they are the kind of developments we are not proud of. In fact it’s embarrassing for everyone.

Take the story titled “Man who stole passports from Pacific Games team guilty” published on the front page yesterday for instance.

While most Samoans were putting their best foot forward to make Samoa proud during the Games, not everybody had the same idea.

Tele Lemalu had criminal intentions. Not even the fact that athletes and officials were staying in a church compound would deter him.

So he armed himself with a fake accreditation, forced his way into the Athletes Village and ran off with more than 10 passports and other valuables belonging to members of the Papua New Guinea team. What he planned to do with P.N.G. passports, nobody seems to know.

But you would think he would at least be scared of stealing from a church compound. Obviously he didn’t care. The only consolation is that this story has a happy ending since all the items were recovered and returned to their rightful owners.

Still, the idea that someone would jeopardise the hard work done by so many Samoans to showcase the best of this country is not only disturbing, it is disgraceful. Tele should be ashamed of himself.

We certainly hope the Court will give him a sentence that would teach him a lesson – and anybody else who is thinking of taking a similar path.

We also hope the Court would do the same thing to another criminal whose disgraceful behaviour was highlighted on another front-page story yesterday.

This time we are referring to a story titled “Man found guilty of raping six year old girl.“ That man was identified as 20-year-old Tamapa’a Siueva.

It’s bad enough that he raped a young girl who in some respects could still be called a baby. And then he had the audacity to plead not guilty to the charge so that this young girl was dragged before the Court where she had to relive this shocking ordeal.

What is wrong with these people these days? We agree that rape and incest offenses are not new but there is something incredibly disgusting about this incident. At this tender age, this girl did not need to suffer such a traumatic ordeal. She did not need to be raped and then be put through what would have obviously been a very difficult position of having to try and prove herself in Court.

The only good news is that after a two-day trial, the Assessors found him guilty. They obviously did not buy his lies. And good on them.

Now think about this for a minute.

What will it take for Samoa to put an ending to such disgusting behaviour? What happened to kindness and tender care that all grown men should have towards women, especially young girls? What would make a man commit such a shameful act?

These are the questions we need to ask. We say this because the answers will form a critical part of a solution, which is something we should all aim for.

In this newspaper, we subscribe to the words of Arthur Miller that a good newspaper is a nation talking to itself. For the past two weeks, this nation was so preoccupied with the Pacific Games where we devoted all our time and attention. What fabulous fun that was.

But the stories we are referring to bring shame upon Samoa, especially for a country that prides itself in its culture of respect, love and care as well as our Christian principles.

We agree that people like Tele Lemalu and Paa Siueva are among the minority of Samoans. Thank goodness for that. Unfortunately their behaviour doesn’t just reflect badly on them, their families and villages. It impacts an entire nation and all of us, which means we have moral duty to do whatever we can to stamp out this disease and make this country a better place for everyone.

What do you think?

Have a fabulous Friday Samoa, God bless!

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