By Benjamin Rukwengye
Read this story, a true story, as told by my friend Rita, you will understand.
A mother leaves the country, to go on a business assignment. At home, she leaves her husband, their daughter, and the maid. Sarah*, the daughter, is 13, and has sickle cell anemia.
A week later the mother returns and everything is normal, as she left it. But not for long…
Soon, Sarah* falls sick and has to be rushed to hospital. The medical examination reveals that she is pregnant. Further inquiry reveals that she was raped, by her father!
A little over 2 years ago, I started volunteering with 40 Days Over 40 Smiles. In that time, 40-40 has worked (directly and indirectly) with over 500 children. Most of them, dumped in latrines, at rubbish pits or abandoned by the roadsides and in houses – by their parents/relatives.
All this has taught me one thing; people are capable of the worst; in as much as they may do some good too.
From the holocaust to the genocide to terrorism to the ever-present ritual murders to electoral violence and anything between – all of this evil has been engineered and clinically executed by man.
But that is not the shocker. Most harrowing stories from these heinous events involve families, communities, friends, colleagues and people that will have stayed together for years, only to turn machetes against themselves.
This stuff is not made up; neither is it strange. It (or at least its beginning) happens around us, everyday, and we choose to ignore or gloss over it or unknowingly, take part in banter around it – till a maid is caught in flagrante delicto.
In case you think this doesn’t apply to you, go on and read….
Do you casually take part in banter that reinforces tribalism and stereotypes? Do you gloss over social evils and never take part in efforts to correct wrongs and injustices when you see it done? Do you grade certain evil as greater than another? Do you lie, cheat and steal – even a little?
Do you or your friends and relatives feed the maid on different food, make fun of their level of intelligence (or lack of) within their earshot, underpay them, beat them over a broken glass, etc? Our relatives are stealing government money meant for hospitals and schools and we praise them for being clever and hobnob with them.
How different are we from that maid?! Our kicks and torches are aimed at another sort of baby – we just don’t/ refuse to see it.
Am I angry at the maid’s inexplicable actions? VERY!
Nothing can explain/justify the anger and evil in that video. NOTHING!!! And like you, I hope the law and life screw up her life till God takes over.
Am I Surprised? No!
I have seen fathers, mothers and relatives do worse to children; husbands, wives and children connive to have each other murdered; I have seen lots of evil perpetuated by people I don’t expect it from, for me to be surprised or expect more from the maid.
I’m only bothered that parents and potentials are screaming “Hang her” before listening to her.
But more than that, I hope we all learn to notice injustice and evil, refuse to take part in it but decide speak up to fight it anyway we can. Even if not for justice’s sake, aren’t you in the least bit interested in ‘Why?’
That said, we’re all evil and just haven’t been caught yet. We also have people around us doing stupid silly unfathomable things but we ignore them because these people are our friends and relatives or we think they are small things.
One day, these small things we ignore, like all evil, will sprout and then, it will be too big and too late to prevent damage.
Let us do our bit in cleaning up the world.