Friday, 26 August 2011

Different tales of insanity and inhumanity

Two really tragic stories in the press this week, among all the others. Notwithstanding earthquakes, Gadaffi's porn, Syrian murders and now a hurricane edging its way along the East Coast of America, I ask: is someone trying to tell you something? The stories that grabbed my attention were set far apart but so alike. In China an old woman is searching for a carer for her son. She's in her 70s and he in his 40s and he's been tethered to a wall, naked since he was 17. He suffers from a severe mental illness. In Austria, that country, the beacon of light where they elected Herr Hitler and celebrated the Anschluss, an octogenarian has been accused of imprisoning, raping and keeping as slaves his two 'mentally ill' daughters.

We here in the UK tend to believe that social services 'care' for our unfortunate. There are 'slips' but, still, there is usually something available, if you are able to take advantage of it. Consider China, where there is such a total contrast between those who have been able to take advantage of the huge new wealth and priviledge and those who remain on the outskirts in their almost feudal way of life. Austria, we are led to believe, should be among the most 'modern' of our democracies but how many times have we been privy to an insidiously depraved mixture of insanity and evil from that country?

I remember the heartbreaking photographs of children and teenagers also tethered to their cots and beds in mental asylums in Romania. Even though these children are desperate for homes, the Romanian authorites have forbidden their adoption outside of the country and there they remain in their most unwarrented and unwanted circumstances. Is there much difference between them and the young man in China or the women in Austria? When will the world spend less on conflict and more on humanity?

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