Has compassion completely disappeared from the modern psyche do you think? One of the photographs emanating from the troubles in Harare last Friday showed a woman lying unconscious on the pavement, surrounded by photographers, none of whom were doing anything to assist her.
Yes I know many of them would have been journalists intent on getting their stories and photographs out to the world (which of course wasn’t really interested!) but surely even journalists have a moral duty to help someone who is obviously badly injured. When I was covering the Zimbabwe farm invasions for the Sunday Express, I saw a great deal of horror (read my book Soldier No More) but I tried to assist where I could.
Mind you I am by no means sure that there is any honour left in the journalistic profession nowadays. Reports are sent in without being checked out and published when Editors get even a sniff of a story. When they are proved wrong or wildly inaccurate, no corrections are published except occasionally in a tiny paragraph hidden away in the back pages.
For instance, last week we read about a British woman visiting the Caribbean who was raped and murdered by an intruder. The said intruder allegedly set her on fire to kill her. All suitably horrific and the report even reached the BBC evening news.
What a load of twaddle it turned out to be! Police investigations revealed that the woman had set herself alight in an accidental kitchen fire. Why oh why are these stories not checked before reaching the public eye? Again, I saw no apology from the Beeb for getting their facts so horribly wrong.
An incident over the weekend that caused argument in this household was the felling of Australian batsman, Steven Smith by a vicious ball from the ‘English’ (he is actually West Indian) quick bowler Jofra Archer. It was a truly brutal blow and I was told in no uncertain terms by my Other Half that Archer should have been prosecuted for attempted manslaughter. I did not agree because cricket is a dangerous game and people do get hurt and sometimes killed. I lost a friend to a cricket ball during the Rhodesian war. Neil went on regular call ups and had been in many firefights with the enemy, then he died while fielding close in to the batsman. That is fate and every cricketer at whatever level accepts the risks.
There were two distasteful sequels to Smith’s injury however. Firstly, most of the online newspapers played the film sequence over and over again, obviously hoping to tittivate their readers. How can anyone get pleasure from seeing a young man get so sickeningly struck? I really don’t understand it.
Smith was brave though. Although he was led off the field by the medical staff, he came back as soon as a wicket fell and came agonisingly close to a Lords century. Although obviously still very groggy, he battled on till he was out at ninety-two – a stalwart effort indeed!
Then came the second distasteful sequel. As he walked back to the dressing room through the Long Room (possibly the most hallowed room in sport) he was booed and heckled by a member of the MCC. That really was despicable and thankfully, the member was ejected from the place. I hope he will have his membership taken away but fear that will not happen for fear of breaching his ruddy human rights or right to free speech.
Talking about ethics or the lack of them in the modern world, I couldn’t help laughing aloud when I read about a Mother and Father from the Midlands who sent the RNLI a bill for a £7 lilo after their child was saved in a helicopter rescue.
Why anyone would entrust the safety of their child to an inflatable lilo I have no idea but the lifeguards were stunned to be sent an invoice by the girl’s mum and dad.
Mike Carter, president of the RNLI branch, said a rescue helicopter had to be used to save the youngster when she got into a precarious situation.
“A family visiting Porthleven purchased a lilo from a local shop and went to the beach. There was an off-shore wind and the parents immediately experienced their child waving goodbye as the lilo went further and further out.
“The coastguard scrambled the search and rescue helicopter which was soon on scene. The diver jumped from the helicopter and saved the child. He instantly put a knife through the lilo to save any further drifting and they were both winched to safety.”
All well and good and the parents ought to have been intensely grateful for the rescue of their child. But no, they were obviously incensed that the lilo hadn’t been returned so off went an invoice.
The Commanding Officer of the RNLI rescue station immediately wrote back to the couple.
‘I will be happy to pay your invoice on receipt of payment for the helicopter rescue which amounts to £7,000.’
Needless to say, no response was received.
I am constantly being told off because I really don’t enjoy people anymore. I prefer my own company to that of most folk, but is it really any wonder with incidents like these going on all the time?