Panem Et Circenses

Another week of  political scandals and machinations has elapsed and there isn’t much we can do except ratiocinate even the direst of the events that occurred.  We witnessed our freedom of expression laws being eroded in the most ruthless manner, we read about a high ranking official slut shaming a woman he’d been sexting and an MP publicly excoriated a female journalist by implying her gender is inferior.  These are just some of the new developments in the political arena, notwithstanding the reams of scandals that have already defined this administration.

Three journalists were apprehended in the wake of Ravi Yerrigadoo’s resignation as Attorney General, after Hussein Abdool Rahim alleged that they were implicated in a smear campaign against the latter.  The laws are so bendable when they’re in favour of the  politicians, which means that they get to indulge in their petty shenanigans and wreak havoc on their detractors.  But the fact that our law officials are anything but unbiased in this situation means that anyone who isn’t a politician has a lot to contend with should they dare take advantage of our freedom laws.  A politician can make death threats in broad daylight and that’s the end of it, but a journalist mustn’t ask answers, which essentially negates the whole purpose of their occupation.

What’s more, we’ve become totally attuned to the flow of scandals being unveiled, so much so that they’re now perceived as local entertainment.  The lack of transparency within the government and the justice department has given rise to the ambiguous practice of throwing people under the bus without impunity.  This has been the legacy of our country; politicians (the people who you’d expect would be well versed in our constitution) are often embroiled in legal affairs that would befit only a hardened criminal’s CV.

The press faces lofty challenges in disseminating information among the masses, in the guise of those bendable laws that can be used against them anytime a politician takes offence at a jibe.  For precautionary reasons, journalism has devolved into verbatim translation, which doesn’t leave room for existential debates.  And when they do delve deeper, they face appalling opposition from those who’ve been elected to oversee the rule of law.

As long as the scandals are approached with levity, we’re not addressing the crux of the problem-politicians are above the law.



Women’s Rights And Gender Inequality In Mauritius

Inequality, as a broad term that covers several areas, has stymied progress in Mauritius for a long time now.  What we need to do to liberalize our society, as well as our economy, is to push for forward-looking policies that have the advantage of steering the country in the right direction.

Inequality in our society doesn’t impact everyone in the same way; the distinction needs to be made.  Mauritius, being a highly patriarchal society, has failed to enter a progressive phase that would’ve liberalized society for women, not just in terms of mores and norms, but economic parity as well.  In terms of economic parity, several studies have shown that the gender-pay gap is salient throughout all sectors of our society, which can be attributed to the fact that women in general, aren’t present in the top hierarchies of companies, despite excelling in academic settings.

As well as not possessing economic clout, women are highly disadvantaged when it comes to exercising their own freedom.  The archaic laws that govern our country have made it illegal for women to have reproductive rights, which basically reduces them to brood mares for the state.  And as a corollary to that, just recently the Ministry Of Health was exhorting people to procreate more as the birth rates are ostensibly plummeting.  In light of the various economic and social inequalities stalling our progress, it wouldn’t be unwise to think twice before procreating.

The abortion issue is rarely ever broached into the mainstream conversation because we have a nation of fully-fledged bigots who cannot fathom differing viewpoints.  So much so that you have to remodel your life to meet their expectations, and that too is framed into our laws.  It is quite alarming that in this day and age, women haven’t yet seized the baton of resistance to clamor for their own basic human rights.  This reality is appallingly obvious in the way that women are treated by law officials; several domestic abuse victims are advised to bury the hatchet with their assailants because the rupture of the nuclear family is more worrisome to authorities than the dehumanization of women.

All these issues stem from the very fact that in this society, we rarely ever extrapolate on policies that would really benefit the core of the nation but instead the benign skirmishes among politicians make the national headlines almost everyday.  This languor when it comes to progressive values we ought to espouse, will slow us down further on the evolutionary ladder.

Societies that fail to address their lofty inequalities aren’t conducive to widespread growth.

Child Sexual Abuse In Mauritius-Why Some Victims Suffer In Silence

Recently, we were approached by a young man whose life has been torn apart by the vestigial traumas of his childhood.  For the majority of his life, he battled deep psychological issues on his own, masking his pain with self-destruction and he didn’t know where to seek help.  In Mauritius, psychological trauma is rarely ever broached into the public space and people might feel vulnerable to open up to their own family members, because whether we like it or not, a whole generation of people were brought up with a myriad of prejudices and taught that anything slightly wayward about their lifestyle might bring them shame.  Which is why, many people tend to bottle up the unspeakable atrocities that had been meted out to them for fear that their vulnerabilities might turn them into a laughing stock.

Ravin (fictitious name) was tormented by his own mother throughout his childhood; the pain she inflicted on him would vary according to her mood but it was always a given.  Ravin spent the majority of his childhood slumped in a corner, wailing after each beating he’d suffer through, and he maintains he never understood what provoked the unmitigated ire of his mother.  His father, being an absentee parent, never took notice of his emotional turmoils although he was very well aware that his wife would unleash hell on their defenseless toddler, whose only crime was to be born to people who knew zilch about empathy.

The brutality would escalate in an upward trend, to the point where the only memories Ravin has of his childhood are replete with heartache and isolation.  But he’d internalized one particularly gruesome memory that he was intent on forgetting for the sake of his psyche.  After almost 15 years, he conjured up the memory to share it with the world because he realizes his silence is only abetting the psychopaths who think they can get away with anything with impunity.  And in his case, the psychopath is none other than his own mother.

Their relationship had been fraught with animosity since the very beginning for the reasons cited above, but one particular bout of crazed brutality would mark Ravin for life.  He was only 8 when his mother barged into his room under the influence of alcohol or drugs and proceeded to rape him.  After she’d robbed him of his innocence, she pummeled him mercilessly until he fell asleep.  It happened 4 times according to Ravin and these memories are only now resurfacing to bolster his quest for justice.  All these years, he shared a roof with the woman who’d stolen his childhood and dehumanized him because he had no outlet; the shame of what he’d been through was impinging on his will for a better life.

But he realized since then that he couldn’t let a psychopath revel in his self-imposed tacit suffering and he revealed the full extent of the abuse to his father.  The latter was quick to dismiss his claims on the grounds that it would bring shame to their family to out his criminally-inclined mother.  Ravin was aghast at his father’s apathy but he was only following the lead of so many Mauritians before him, who’d rather preserve their deceptive appearances than address their problems in a productive manner.  Ravin’s father is very epitome of the image conscious Mauritian, whose infatuation with honor overrides basic humanity.

Mauritian society has yet to deal with these taboo subjects because they’re antithetical to the image we’re trying to project.  It’s unnerving to juxtapose such a pristine environment with primitive, carnal behavior and yet there’s no other way that we can go about it.  We need to have an honest discussion about the care set in place for people like Ravin, without the debilitating victim-shaming that is so redolent of our culture.  The only people who ought to feel shame are the ones who commit the crime and we hope that Ravin’s mother faces the wrath of our judicial system.