Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Al-Fatihah

The news about little Nurin''s tragic death has weighed heavily on our minds for the past week. My prayers go out to her family who not only are grieving for her, but coming to terms with the cruelty and depravity with which she met her end.

I read recently in her uncle's blog , just at the time of the confirmation of the identity of the body found as Nurin's, that the family had, during the whole of the time Nurin was still missing (about a month), received prank calls, accusations and false leads as to the whereabouts of their girl.

Yesterday in the papers, the parents were accused of negligence and apparently there is some discussion as to whether they will be charged for it.

My initital reaction to learning of the circumstances of her disappearance, that she had walked alone to the markets and had been gone an hour before anyone noticed, was, how could anyone believe that an 8-year old could be safe, even on a short walk to the markets nearby? Yes, one could trust that she knew her way and would not get lost, or even that she could handle trafffic and understood the dangers of passing cars. But would she recognise a stranger with bad intentions, or even be able to defend herself if she did?

By way of explanation, the parents have stated that they assumed her nine-year old sister was going with her and didn't realise that she left alone. Surely an eight and nine-year old together might not prove that much of a challenge to someone bent on getting one, if not both of them?

I feel that this is not a fault or mistake of the parents. It is a pervasive, cultural phenomenon, and I will explain myself below.

In all honesty, I do not feel I can blame the parents, because I cannot imagine the horror the past month has been for them, and what the next few months and years will be like. I am not sure I agree with the intention to prosecute for negligence, either. I feel that the energy would be better spent trying to find the killer.

The media has quoted someone or other proclaiming that the killer should be given the hardest penalty to ensure he/she is punished real good.

All these elements point to one thing for me: society's unwillingness to see the real picture.

The real picture is:
Hundreds of children are abducted, sold to slavery, raped, tortured, sodomised, prostituted, abused, drugged, forced to work in abysmal conditions, forced to beg... and so many of them by their own parent/s.

The real picture is:
In our society, children are left to run free ("for their own good"/"because they are innocent"), are uneducated about strangers, being alone, asking for help from the right people, recognising a bad situation, resisting when they feel uncomfortable, knowing what an unwanted sexual advance is, knowing what is sexual in the first place... and all because we adults can't get over our squeamishness about taboos someone else decided were taboos, for the sake of our children's safety.

The real picture is:
Predators are on the lookout for children. They hunt. They play the waiting game. They might makes friends with a child first. They might just take the first unaccompanied child there is. If they aren't insane, then they are completely psychopathic - nothing they do seems wrong to them. You can't teach them a lesson by incarcerating them. You need to create a society that doesn't create psychopaths. Oh, how idealistic you may say. What else are we here for except to make things better than they were?

The real picture is:
People want to know. They want closure. They want black and white. Their minds fill in the gaps to make things make sense. When it comes to a senseless torutre and killing, the mind goes crazy and emotions take over. Accusations fly and assumptions emerge. The facts in the case of Nurin are: we do not really know what happened and should wait for the results of the investigations, and please, all those assholes out there getting their kicks off those poor people by being judgmental, presumptious and righteous, go back to the slime you emerged from.

Leave her parents alone and focus on who did this and WHY.

Let's not lose sight of the fact that Nurin was taken within an hour of leaving her home and may have spent almost a month with her abductor, because she had not been dead long when her body was found. What kind of mind delights at the torture of an innocent? What does that mind tell itself when it sees the desperation, pain and helplessness, and makes it alright to continue?

For those of us out there actively playing with the family's grief and torment, think on that and wonder at how little the scale of your deeds differentiates the NATURE of them from that of her tormentor. We are all morally bound to protect the innocent and the helpless, I don't care whose god is better.

For the parents of Nurin and many other parents out there who may not yet even know if their lost child is safe or lost forever, my condolences are all I can offer and I hope that peace will come to you somehow one day. May her soul rest in peace.

5 comments:

Elween said...

how sad huh, there are some psycho ppl who are really cold blooded. it's really depressing.

shamaine said...

Nurin was screaming as she was pulled/dragged into the white van. This incident was witnessed by the people at the pasar malam .It is sad that none of them reacted accordingly. As Malaysians- we have to also be socially responsible and have ourselves to be partly blamed for this unfortunate tragedy.

uen said...

"We are all morally bound to protect the innocent and the helpless."

The problem is that few of us feel morally bound to anything other than to champion the strength of our own convictions.

Hence the delight in apportioning blame on the victim, rather than the perpetrator, as is common in considerations of sexual assault, harrasment, and, in this particular instance, murder.

These are the same moral binds that encourage people to judge the actions of others, especially when things go wrong, and to take the high ground when that which all of us stand is undoubtedly swampy. But it is so much easier to do this than to think properly about how it was even possible that someone, some human not that dissimilar to us, killed Nurin in this fashion.

The outrage lasted only as much as whatever shred of humanity we still have left in us allowed. Beyond that, our "convictions" have taken over. We glory in the fact that this hasn't happened to us because we are in some way better than they, that they have terrible secrets to hide, or that they care not for their children as we and they should be punished for it.

Maybe we misdirect all our anger, fear, and discontent that we derive simply from having to live, at this poor family just because they are there and they are easy targets.

Who then are the real monsters?

mamasan said...

And we are all of us guilty of that kind of judgment or finger pointing at some point in our lives, whether it's about toilet habits, politics or moral crimes.
It's acknowledging that fact about ourselves which reminds us how little we differ from others - in the sense that, we all need or want something better for ourselves - and lapses in clarity or rationality should not deteriorate into lapses in humanity and compassion.
(For me this is the purest reason for religion and its/their philosophy - teaching mindfulness.
Being in constant perception of one's own beliefs and actions instead of allowing emotion or fear to overwhelm one's inherent urge to do good.
Unfortunately religion and any other institutionalised belief system is manipulatable because most people don't practise this basic tenet: using your brain to think for yourself instead of letting your fear of reprobation allow you to buy into false ideals. But I digress)

As I said in my post, people need to ahve that certainty, and they will build it or force if if they have to. It irks my children no end when I say there doesn't have to be an answer to some of their questions. then they get pissy if i gve them every possible answer there may be...

karulann said...

What can be said anymore. It's simply because of our own community mindset and the government propaganda. Just give it a few weeks more, and of the tragedy will be forgotten. Just look at all the previous cases kids, women being rape and killed.. E.g Canny, Altantuya,Sherway Ooi Ying Ying .. And what make it more scary is that these tragedy will happen again and again..

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