As Easter is meant to represent for many of us, new beginnings, a reflection upon the recent past seems appropriate and the evidence of increasing violence both at home and abroad cannot be ignored. Over the last year we have had war, riots, random gun attacks and filicide (the killing of one’s own children and then taking own life) frequenting the news bulletins to the point that we are almost in danger of becoming immune to such devastating news. Torture and discrimination are also frequent visitors as they uncover a response to the failure of democracy within a striving to be compassionate society.
Democracy is what we all hope to live by in demonstrating a tolerant attitude to the many different values and beliefs within a society that needs a certain amount of rules for it to be successful. Politics aim to ‘police’ and develop such rules in the laws of the land and the taxes that they generate. When democracy fails therefore politics also fail and this is demonstrated across the world and in each and every household as the gruesome act of violence. The fact that we accept violence to be part of our everyday lives is sanctioned in the violent films and crime programmes fictitious or real that we absorb through media every day. We allow our children to ‘play’ at being violent and we encourage them to learn self-defence as a part of self-preservation. Many child psychologists will tell us that play is nature’s way of preparing us for the real world and therefore should be taken very seriously in a child’s development.
The recent publicity around our returning fallen war heroes and the celebration of their successful often returning visits to places like Afghanistan reminds us to reflect upon the costs of violence to every family, widow, child in our local community and beyond. For if democracy continues to fail can we really blame the few for fighting against the rules of an unjust society, or do we just need to change the rules?