#JusticeForBlacky…What Justice?

A thought occurred to me as I was driving along the bustling streets of Rose Hill.  The cops were everywhere, walking around surveying hawkers, looking for some ti dimoun who might have committed a petty infraction, scrutinizing parking areas and handing out tickets willy-nilly.  What a horror show, I thought.  If only they would use their energy to keep our streets actually safe, to protect our children and our citizens from lunatics.  But, insofar as their training is concerned, it just doesn’t allow them the freedom to exercise the powers of their own conscience.  Or maybe, they’ve been advised against it, because let’s face it, police everywhere act as a proxy for the ruling party, not the rule of law.

When Blacky’s tragic story was circulating on Facebook, I couldn’t have been more crestfallen.  There it was, an innocent dog, whose severed limbs and nearly disfigured head commanded attention more than anything on social media, not just for its sheer brutality, but for that grisly juxtaposition; an innocent soul that’s been wounded beyond words.  Unspeakable.  Appalling.  The reactions varied, but almost everyone concurred that the perpetrator ought to face a harsh and swift comeuppance.  That is, a very unlikely fate.  It remains to be seen what change the government will bring about to ensure the safety of our animals, because as of today, the maximum sentencing for brutality against animals is 6 months max.  Yes, you can kill an animal and get out in 6 months.  But if you smoke weed, you’re looking at 5 years.  What a paradise, I must say.

The violence isn’t unusual, especially when it comes to animals.  The evolution of our collective intelligence never really included introspection and empathy, or rather, they might be ill-defined.  Discourse on social justice and progressive ideals is limited, which is why, people do not get to access ideas that might reinforce their belief in humankind.  Stratification exists among the class groups, species, families, religions, you name it.  The word ‘Mauricianisme’ is lobbed around by hypocrites who want to sell this image of a pristine island accessible to all, but they willingly ignore the social issues; the bane of our society.

Nikhil Aumeer, the callous piece of excrement who tortured Blacky and killed Dipsy, is not a rare type of psychopath, especially when we analyze the kind of environment that spawns soulless creatures like himself.  His history of criminal convictions includes attempted murder and yet he remained at large, terrorizing his family and neighbors, in spite of the charges levied against him.  Violence begets violence, and violence is the norm in many parts of this island.  Whether it’s communal violence, domestic violence or drug-fueled violence, it’s rarely tackled because our judicial system is as weak as it could possibly get.  You’d think that it should be the first thing to fix on the government’s agenda, but maybe a society hamstrung by its ills, is more easily wooed.

It goes without saying that progress will not be achieved unless we all stick together, stick to ideals rather than petty tribalism and figure out where we’re headed as a society.  We’re after all a fledgling democracy, our colonial past is still looming behind us and our principles are as jumbled as they could be.  But we must not kid ourselves, justice is a rare treat in this type of paradise and many have their own stories to tell to corroborate this statement.  If mob justice prevails, then maybe we have a chance.  But, mob justice doesn’t bode well for a democracy, a strong judicial does.

So what are our MPs waiting for?

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MAURITIUS: My Ex Boyfriend Beat Me Up With A Metal Rod, Causing Considerable Injuries And He Is Still Enjoying His Freedom

Something is off with that man, I’d tell myself every time he would throw a tantrum in his drunken stupor.  And yet he claimed to love me, despite all my faults.  Those faults, he was always eager to point out and when I would suggest we break up, he would change his tone and profusely apologize.  The hallmark of a liar.  The last time I saw him, I had already broken up with him.  But he wouldn’t let me have some personal items he’d borrowed; camera, tripod, microphones, inter alia.

I was livid that I had to live in fear of such an individual, in a country where apparently if you’re a woman and you get assaulted, you have to bear the brunt of the accountability.  As if I asked to be assaulted.  The problem with third-world, developing countries is that even if they advertise themselves for making strides in gender parity and equality, it’s usually not the case.  Because at the very crux of the problem, is the corrosive nature of our culture, and its corollary-our laws.

The first thing I did, after suffering blows that caused my near disfigurement, was to go to the nearest police station and clearly point out my assailant.  I was under the impression that once this was done, he would be arrested and I would be granted a protection order of some kind but according to the law here, no such thing would be available to me as I wasn’t ”married” or living with my assailant at the time of the crime.  I would have to live in fear, dread every moment the psychopath might use to complete what he started.  Because his goal wasn’t to maim me or even injure me, it was clearly to kill me.

It all happened under the watchful eye of his mother, standing right at the door as his son was bludgeoning me with the tripod he had borrowed from me.  I yelled for help, I exhorted her to call the cops, but all she did was leave me to fend for myself.  A friend was waiting for me outside in the car, and even he couldn’t intervene, faced with the terror that would not abate.

I collapsed in the corridor, feeling the life slipping out of my body, feeling my head explode and not understanding how I was able to swallow so much pain.  But I couldn’t let him finish what he started.  Sure, I wasn’t as muscly and I was rather frail, but I had come a long way to let a man, who hadn’t achieved half of what I had achieved, inflict death upon me.

I knew what would put an end to all of it and I pretended to regret breaking up with him, telling him I still had feelings for him, while my face was bruising up and that shiner was getting worse.  His simplistic barbaric mind bought those excuses just as quick as he was to resort to violence.  His was so clearly a mind that never developed, he couldn’t understand nuances and everything was prone to duality.  She broke up with me, I will kill her; She loves me, I will stop beating her. 

 After that event, the legal procedures were a blur, but I felt something I had never felt before.  Contempt.  His father, being highly ranked in the police force would certainly interfere to impede my quest for justice.  His son could beat anyone, kill anyone, but owing to our ambiguous, poorly implemented laws, his father could just bail him out, with no regard for the safety of others.  But I will not stay silent.  I never beat anyone up, all I wanted was to regain my possessions and never see that person again.

I should not be living in fear and neither should the millions of women who suffer silently in developing countries.  The feminist wave that captured the West ought to liberalize women from the shackles that prevent them from even being safe in developing countries.

 

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.

 

Around 500 Mauritians Undergo Diabetes-Related Amputations Annually

Poring over our national health statistics, the numbers look glum to say the least.  In a population of around 1.5 million people, 12.7 % are known to have diabetes whilst a whopping 17.5% have an impaired glucose tolerance.  But what’s even more shocking is the fact that between 400 and 500 people undergo diabetes-related amputations each year, which is an unsettling health crisis we’re never at ease to address.

We all know we’re quite fond of our local cuisine and we never really changed our eating habits despite being exposed to the consequences of an unhealthy lifestyle.  We still swear by this culinary triumvirate-gateau de l’huile for breakfast, a shitload of greasy curries accompanied with gluten-laden rice for lunch and an even bigger dose of calories for dinner.  After all, it’s our culture, it’s what we’ve always known and it’s pretty unlikely that we will redeem ourselves overnight.  But we should at least try.

Here are some guidelines on how to stay healthy.

1.Cut down on carbs posthaste

Just because it’s cheap doesn’t mean it’s providing you with the nutrients you need.  The dholl puri you’re picking up at Rs12 has 500 calories, which amounts to a quarter of the recommended calorie intake for a normal adult.  The alouda you’re gulping down after devouring that dholl puri has heaps of artificial sweeteners that will most likely increase your dependence on sugar.  The mountain of rice on your plate alone has 500  calories, imagine adding myriads of side dishes to this, it’s easily 800 calories for lunch.  And now dinner, the propitious time of the day to murder your health.  Even more curries, this time with either starchy faratas or an even bigger mound of rice or highly calorific french baguettes.  None of these are even healthy options and yet we’ve normalized our unhealthy habits, to the detriment of our overall health.

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While it’s nearly impossible to extricate these staples from our diets, we can at least cut down on sugar, rice, dishes doused in all sorts of oil and street food.

2. Know your calorie count

An adult man should consume 2500 calories a day whilst an adult woman should keep that number to 2000.  In Mauritius, our staple food is rice, and we always forget that rice isn’t a neutral aspect of our diet.  A small bowl of rice has 130 calories.  Most Mauritians will plate up until the plate actually gets lost underneath a mound of white rice, adding other side dishes to it which can easily bring a mundane meal’s total calorie count to 1500 or beyond.  Needless to say, the excess calories you consume will transform into flabs of fat, which can be hard to get rid of if you don’t have time to exercise and many of us clearly don’t.

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So what can you do instead of gorging mindlessly on fatty foods?  Well there are a few things to keep in mind.  Educate yourself on the amount of calories that’s present in your favorite foods and ask yourself if putting your health at risk, is going to make it taste better.  It is a no-brainer that fruits and veggies are our best options, and ‘lo and behold, they’re quite cheap as well!  Some of you might ask, ‘What about organic options?’, well you’re quite lucky in that department as Mauritius has the perfect climate to grow your own food.

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3. You don’t need to go to the gym to exercise

While it’s a major marketing gimmick, exercising doesn’t really amount to much if you whip up your own routine.  Calisthenics is one of the easiest, inexpensive options out there when it comes to exercising in your home, instead of emptying your pocket for a gym subscription.  A grueling work out of 1 hour everyday can help you mitigate the effects of a bad diet, strengthen your immune system and it can also help you avoid seasonal infections, making you pretty much inured to illness.  It is heartbreaking to see so many Mauritians succumbing to diabetes related illnesses and crowding hospital wards across the island.  The most glaring reason for this health crisis is our dependence on easily available street food and our indifference to their calorie count.

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4. Share the wisdom

All this information is useless if no one uses it to sensitize their friends and family on their potentially lethal lifestyles.  Older people are more vulnerable to these illnesses as they are less inclined to change after years of commitment to the local cuisine.  But we cannot ignore its ramifications on our health and let the future generation inherit the same indifference that’s led to this crisis.

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The consequences of indulging in calorific diets are staggering and encompass all areas of your life, for your health is the driving force behind your existence.  Failing to be healthy and succumbing to easily preventable illnesses is preposterous because we have all the information we need at our fingertips and we just need to adopt a disciplined lifestyle instead of conforming to the notion that deep-rooted habits are irreversible.