Letter to Uncle Sam
I have listened to your speech made in Tucson to mourn the bereaved and those afflicted by the recent shootings. Earlier, that is hours after this terrible incident, you were right to point out that there was need to go to the bottom of that thing.
You must have heard the news — the bad news, of course. During that same week when you stood in Tucson, the Island woke up to this unenviable headline: Even in Paradise one is not safe. Where the hell then one can seek refuge if Paradise is not safe?
The murder of an Irish lady strangled to her death in her room in a local resort sent a shock wave across all Mauritian homes, including those of US citizens working here. I am sure we will hear more on this tragic story through one of the US Embassy Cables or the annual State Department’s report on human rights and freedom in foreign countries. Let’s agree on one thing: even if this is the first case of its kind on the Island, it is one too many. The media publicity that this dastardly and shameful act attracted here and around the globe is fully understandable.
But one thing seems to have escaped some local experts. If Mauritians were desperately looking for one good reason to support their claim that something is rotten in the Kingdom of God, they should stop at the resort murder case.
For quite a number of reasons, Uncle. The alleged plotters and prime suspects are hotel employees of a five-star resort.
There is little or nothing to complain about the physical work environment. There is little or nothing to complain about salaries. If I am not mistaken, none has to queue up at bus stations to catch the one passing near the resort; because in most hotels, the company cars and other vehicles take care of that. And there is absolutely no stress linked to traffic jam on the roads leading to the hotel. Depending on their work schedule and timing, employees are even provided with in-house food cooked by chefs. Employees are even protected from any Palin’s style brainwashing campaign because none is connected to Fox News or any radio station where GOP trained propagandists manoeuvre to promote hate. In the worst-case scenario, they might be connected to VoA through the MBC. In one word, they are not exposed to hate literature.
So Uncle, it comes to mind that if the alleged suspects are being accused of having allegedly committed this crime and if this turns out to be true, then we need not look beyond the horizon to be convinced that of late Paradise has been witnessing a dramatic loss and disrespect for values and principles that make human life human.
Simple things like love and goodness; friendship and human warmth; the shared pleasure to share words and smile with perfect strangers to make them feel comfortable and happy as long as their stay lasts; the shared pleasure to share and learn whatever oral history is good for; and of course, a hotel resort is an open University where one can learn and be taught the treasures hidden in another one’s culture and tradition.
There is no other compelling reason, however plausible it might be, to explain the unexplainable murder of the Irish woman, except the complete loss of belief and trust in human values.
But Uncle, I don’t know your personal opinion on death penalty; though we know for sure that the US is the world champion and number one advocate for human rights but still the death penalty is fully applicable in the US or at least in many States.
Following the resort murder case, the death penalty issue has again attracted attention here. And every time atrocities such as that one hit the headlines, the issue comes uninvited into the public debate. For the sake of sheer coalition politics, the death penalty has been put to rest since nearly two decades now.
Uncle, let me give you a tip to help you understand the local situation. The anti-death penalty partisans are as vociferous as the GOP-Palin-Tea Party are on the issue of right to birth or your health insurance policy. They are well connected to those who are too happy to make their voices heard.
From their submission on the issue, we understand that they don’t understand the pain and sufferings of those who suffered the loss of loved ones or those who have to live with the atrocities inflicted on loved ones.
As things stand, they are clearly and mostly concerned with the human rights of guilty parties; that is their right to life and freedom of thought and speech.
To tell you honestly, Uncle, I prefer not to take up a position on the matter. But I am inclined to think and believe that this issue could best be sorted out if it is submitted to pass the test of a referendum. I think you will concur with me.
Let it be said then that this is a non partisan issue and political parties should allow their members or leaders to have a field day to campaign on the issue as individuals and citizens free to voice out their personal feelings, opinions and emotions on the matter.
In the end, let the people decide. There can’t be anything more democratic than a referendum.
In Tucson, Uncle, you promised and invited America to live up to the expectations and dreams and vision of Christina’s America. In other words, to make sure she has not died in vain.
I promise you one thing, Uncle. Many here are determined to see to it that the Irish young woman has not died for nothing. Her dream of Paradise should be restored.
* Published in print edition on 21 January 2011