Reflections

A Different Kind of Cruelty

By Mpuga Rukidi, Uganda:

I just sat and thought about how merciless we can sometimes be to our little ones. In a space of just less than a month, a number of sad stories involving children emerged. Their combined effect left such a huge dent on me. The first one concerned a girl whose mother earned a living by selling a few items on Kampala's streets. The CEO of our city council doesn't like that idea a single bit. According to her, it makes the city untidy. She is one of the most highly paid people occupying a public office in Uganda. Her very strong men, the ones that make you think your parents didn't feed you well, always look out for those that defy the city council orders. One day, this poor old woman was rounded up and thrown onto a waiting city council truck.

She had one plea – she wanted to feed her baby. The strong men didn't want to have any of that nonsense. The truck reversed and ran over the poor little soul. She wasn't taken to hospital instantly, and died from her injuries. One question she asked still haunts me: “What law stops me from breastfeeding my baby?”

The other incident was of a girl, aged about nine years or thereabouts. She is severely disfigured from the face to her left thigh. A hospital that offers subsidised plastic surgery has asked for the equivalent of about eight hundred Dollars to work on her. The mother said that her co-wife poured a saucepan full of simmering beans right from the stove. The motive? Well, the poor old girl's mother is her co-wife. Really sad! What more sad is the fact that the poor woman is still looking for a good Samaritan to contribute to the hospital bill and all she gets are a few coins here and there.

The last one is a story that many have watched on YouTube, the one about the maid from hell. The video of this house helper severely beating a two year old girl went viral on social media. The beating is almost indescribable. At one point she steps on the back of the two year old. If the pictures are real, it is a miracle the baby is still alive.

All of the above stories got me thinking: what makes us so bad to these little souls? Where do all these maids from hell and co-wives from a place next to hell come from? Is it not a miracle that we think we shall have peace when all we do to little angels is treat them like they are the most abominable things? The New Year is upon us. I'm the worst when it comes to making resolutions; I probably will not make any resolutions for 2015. I believe every day begins and ends a year. What I will be hoping for, though, is that we are better human beings in 2015. More still, I will be hoping that we are a little gentler to our little angels from now on.

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