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12 August 2010

We, the broken people of South Africa

South Africa is not at war, but the scope of cruelty and disrespect for human rights in our society is too disturbing to ignore

A year or two ago, after yet another weird atrocity committed against an infant hit the headlines, I commented on a blog that we need a few planeloads of Psychiatrists Without Borders to visit South Africa.

There is (as far as I know) no such organisation – MSF (Médecins Sans Frontières)volunteers represent all medical disciplines – but the fact that war crimes are being investigated in countries across the whole world tells me that there should be. Sure, South Africa isn’t at war, but the scope of cruelty and disrespect for human rights in our society is just too disturbing to ignore.

Whether it’s the shocking report of two girls being raped on their way to school, in separate incidents by different perpetrators, but in the same town and in the same week – or the case of the 11-year-old who appeared in court on Thursday, charged with the alleged rape a four-year-old child – these cases should function as very bright red flashing lights on the dashboard of our nation’s emotional health.

Included in the list of crimes committed by the emotionally-disturbed, I might even number head-boiling cases, muti murders and corrective rape – none of these crimes can be explained sanely in the clear light of day. And before anyone hits me with a cultural clause, the fact that the perpetrators of such crimes hide their deeds and cover their tracks tells us they know that these actions are profoundly wrong.

 
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