Who is that big bad savage beast again?
It is certainly nice to hear the high-pitched moral howl of the species, as it berates those big, bad, savage beasts for beating and belittling our children. But we must consider to what extent the highness of the howls is our way of denying our historical and pervasive complicity in these crimes. The human species has always exhibited a pronounced proclivity for child abuse, torture, tapping-and-throwing-down genocide.
There are many ways to abuse, destroy, and defeat our children. We may not each be guilty of each one; but see which of the following eight we might be guilty of:
There is a little trick in this pervasive historical war game. When we go to our cabinets, United Nations security councils, popes, mullahs to get them to agree to war, we pretend that the war is against such abstractions as the nation state, the flag, the butcher of Bagdad, the ideology, the army, the enemy. Ultimately, the victims of war, the dregs at the bottom of the cup, where the poison eventually settles, are always the bodies of our children. Such wars of genocide that we have committed, for example, in Vietnam and South East Asia; Africa; Latin America; and the Middle East, each one claiming the bodies of more than two millions since the end of the Second World War! The children are the poignant watchers, the wait-ers, the losers of fathers and mothers, homes, schools, villages and cities. War sickens the gut and mind of the victims, building pathologies and pain exponentially.
When we mass feed, mass-inject into the bodies of animal species, hormones, quick-growing mash, and often pathogenic proteins, we no longer have a species. We have a zombie robot of a cow, a sheep, a chicken. Food, especially mass produced fast-foods, laden with too much sugars, carbs, preservatives, synthetic proteins have the potential of turning our children into lambs for the slaughter. Studies on the high incidences of obesity, diabetes and cancers in our child populations are well known. Many modern food, commodity and fashion ads which target children in masses, are stealing the bodies of children from children.
Politically induced settlement and housing policy, that is the dumping of humanity in estates and wastelands, without proper housing, education, transport, water, centers of worship, community facilities, is a crime. Locating the poor in high rise, with no commons, no land, no opportunity for economic diversification, subjecting them to overcrowding, the dictates of town mercantilists or government hand-out bureaucracies, for vote-banks, is a crime. A child cannot thrive in a violent or overcrowded neighbourhood; a clean and well-lighted space, access to education and connectivity, are the least requirements for childhood peace and stability.
We school, rather than educate. There is nothing like extra-curricular. Every field is curricula. All schools must be prestige. Poor primary and secondary school education leads to a permanent deferral of training. Poor programs, and evaluation and monitoring, in basic fields such as numeracy and literacy causes apartheid in our society. We are taking our children to the trough, and not letting them drink. The primary and secondary schools remain the largest points of capture of our children. We capture bodies, not imaginations. Alienation within our system of schooling causes hundreds of thousands of suffer-hours each year.
Which one are you? Are you yourself a walking basket-case, that if you got the unmitigated chance, you would abuse your child, sexually, verbally, morally? Are you a super-cool, a shouter, a spoiler, or a self-satisfying parent? A super cool parent might allow her young child to smoke marijuana. A shouter might destroy all the morale and confidence of a child. A spoiler’s tragedy is that the spoilt child first digs out his parent’s eyes, then the society’s, then his or her own. A self-satisfier puts her or his needs before the primary welfare of the child. The fact is that no adult really knows the remnants of abuse, the dissatisfaction, the resentment, the deep malaise, pathology, phantasmagoria in the unconscious, which, a vulnerable moment, a vulnerable child, so innocent and unprotected, might bring out, unleash.
Increasingly large public debts, brought on by corruption, poor decision making, waste, mismanagement, the failure of diversify, the over-dependence on foreign investor or foreign markets and the failure to transfer real wealth, rather than salaried income, to the population imposes an inordinate and massive debt-repayment bill on all our children. This is another way of bringing up children with a yoke around the neck.
Infrastructural error and deficit
These cause suffering. The removal of the rail system; the introduction of ungovernable comprehensive schools; the salination of the Oropouche Lagoon by dredging of the South Oropouche River (the New Cut Channel) leading to the massive loss or agricultural lands and agricultural endeavour. All these occurred in the 1960s. Smart economists and smart engineers must be monitored and challenged. If we do not protect our ecological commons and eco-economic infrastructure, our children will suck salt in the future. Traffic, poor food, and poor literacy, which all afflict our children, all connect to bad decisions by adults in the past.
Finally, we kill millions of children in the wombs of women each year. We may regard this as necessary. But let us not call it ‘abortion’, or ‘pro-choice’, or ‘planned parenthood’ to soothe our adult consciences.
By Wayne Kublalsingh