Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Attacking an elder is a crime against us all

 (Originally published in Guyana’s Kaieteur News on 27 April 2011)

Those who prey on the weak are the personification of cowardice. To harm a child or an elderly person is to go against all virtue and honour that we as humans have established as the moral foundation for our species. Anyone who seeks out these weaker ones for no other reason than to inflict harm demonstrates the epitome of a depraved mind.

We are taught to have the utmost respect for our elders. In society, they are the ones with the wisdom. They are the ones with years of experience to share. They are living history. It is an honour to spend a day in the presence of an elderly person and to gain even an ounce of what she or he has to offer the world.

Yet the elderly in Guyana are now being targeted for robbery. To make this vile matter even more disgraceful, it is elderly women who are being attacked. An April 22 article in Kaieteur News entitled, “Murders of elderly ‘home alone’ women worry cops,” said, “Homicide ranks here are worried at what appears to be a pattern of brutal murders of elderly women who live alone. Of the nine women slain so far for the year, three of them were between the ages of 68 and 74.”

The article continued, “In each case the motive appeared to be robbery, but police said that two of the victims were sexually assaulted. Two were strangled and the throat of the third was slashed.”
I cannot even begin to imagine the type of person who would rob, sexually assault and violently murder a grandmother.

The viciousness continued after the aforementioned article was published. Last Sunday, those vile beasts beat and robbed a 72-year-old businesswoman during a brutal robbery at Triumph, East Coast Demerara. This situation is the worst of the worst.

I don’t care how bad off I am, I would starve to death before I ever harmed an elderly person. Our elders have worked hard their entire lives and deserve to live out the rest of their lives in peace. Moreover, our female elders have brought life into this world and nurtured that life until it could care for itself. They deserve the greatest respect that can be afforded a human.

Instead, they are being sexually molested, beaten, terrorised and robbed. I find this recent development to be utterly revolting. I am disgusted by the audacious dishonour that it would take to perform such evil on an elder and I am repulsed by the engulfing cowardice of these loathsome acts on the weaker ones of society. Only a tremendous coward would target older women for crime.

And we are no better if we allow this evil to continue. It is our responsibility as a society to ensure the safety of the elderly. We must do all that we can to make sure the elderly women of Guyana are protected right now while they are being targeted for harm.

I am not talking about vigilante justice; I am talking about taking care of our elders. Right now is a very dangerous time for the elders in the nation and there are some small steps that can be taken to ensure their safety and well-being.

For example, if you know an elderly woman who is living alone, go check up on her on a regular basis. If you live close to an elderly woman and you hear suspicious noises, grab a neighbour and go make sure she is not being attacked like these others have been. If there is trouble, raise the alarm and call the police.

There are so many small steps that can be done to protect our elders, most of which should be done on a regular basis anyhow. Elderly relatives should not be neglected. Neglecting our elderly is a social wrong, but not protecting them is unforgivable.

We cannot allow the depraved to rob society of these valuable gems just to appease their insatiable greed. There is nothing that can be stolen from these elders that is more important than what they themselves have to give society. We must protect them at all costs.

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