Think safety, value life and share the love

At a time when everyone should be happy, the front-page stories on Friday and Saturday’s Samoa Observer editions made for some sad reading.

As if we are not sad enough with the tragedy of the measles crisis that has already claimed 81 lives, injuries and deaths caused by recklessness, violence and alcohol consumption simply boggle the mind.

We say this because we believe that in times like this, everyone needs to be taking extra care to ensure their health and safety. The idea is to avoid any unnecessary burden on our limited health and law enforcement resources, which should be concentrated on the national effort to eliminate the measles epidemic.

Indeed, the nationwide effort to reduce and eventually end the spread of measles in Samoa should remain our priority. We cannot be complacent. Just because the number of cases are dropping and the death toll slowing down does not mean we should let our guard down.

Besides, our health manpower already have enough on their hands. What we need to remember is that inside all the hospitals across the nation, measles is not the only illness being dealt with there. There are hundreds of patients with different conditions who need help.

Which means the health workers of Samoa – and many from around the country who are here today - do not need the extra burden.

Looking around the country, a number of incidents reported during the past couple of days, including some deadly ones, we believe are unnecessary.

They are a burden we can do without.

Take the story titled “Two charged with murder over Christmas beating” published on the front page yesterday for instance. The incident at Vaimea-uta on Christmas eve has given the families involved a very sad Christmas. Our thoughts and prayers are with them today.

According to the Police, the death was a result of a fight which broke out “as a result of consuming too much alcohol.” Police Commissioner, Fuiavaili’ili Egon Keil, summed it up aptly when he said that "[it is] really sad this happened.” He also used the opportunity to issue a warning about alcohol, which we believe is readily made available and far too easy to access in this country.

“One must consume alcohol responsibly otherwise this is the [consequence] and we cannot continue down this road: drinking until you are no longer in charge of your actions,” Fuiava said. “I am certain the matter in Vaimea could have been settled with a conversation and mitigation. There was no need for someone to die; but when [drinking] alcohol is out of control this is what happens.”

This newspaper cannot agree more with the Commissioner. Another story titled “Holiday crackdown nets 52 arrests” is even more alarming. The arrests involve domestic violence, assault, fights, drunk driving and other forms of bad behaviour.

Needless to say, we don’t need these, especially at this time.

The tragedy of the 81 lives lost to measles should teach us to appreciate life even more. That means spending quality time with people who matter dearly to us and making sure everyone around us is protected.

While you are reading this, let’s remember that there are people in hospitals yearning for the opportunity to live and be healthy. They would do anything to get better.

If we are well, let’s not waste this opportunity; let’s make the most of it to do something good and positive. Let us build up one another instead of tearing each other down. Let us love, forgive and do unto others, as we would have them do to us.

 The fact is, as we keep reminding at this time of the year, there are dangers lurking around the corner. Whether we are at home, on the road, enjoying the pristine beaches, waterfalls, forests of Samoa, we can never be too careful.

We are talking about basic safety matters we must consider to ensure Christmas and New Years is truly a happy experience for everyone. Stay safe, have a restful Sunday and God bless Samoa!




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