Letters & Opinion

Culture of Violence Impedes Progress in a Society

Image of Superintendent Minister of the Methodist Church in Saint Lucia, Rev. Seth Ampadu.
Image of Rev. Seth Ampadu, Superintendent Minister Methodist Church St Lucia.
By Rev. Seth Ampadu, Superintendent Minister Methodist Church St Lucia.

An African proverb says: “Greatness is not achieved with violence”. Violence is very dangerous for every society. If a society continues to celebrate violence, it impedes the progress of that society.

The question is, was the curfew a necessary evil? I would like to think that the recent national curfew was a good thing for our society because we did not hear of any violence or even serious burglary. During the curfew period, one could attest to the fact that our society was calm and peaceful. We did not hear of any drive-by shooting; there really was no crime if I am correct.

Looking at the recent upsurge in violence taking place in our communities, is it that we should go back to the curfew period? I believe that none of us would like to be in such a period again, but in my thinking, the current happenings are suggesting that we want to go back to that type of living. Violence in any form is unacceptable in any society. Violence is deceptive. It blinds us to the damage we inflict upon ourselves in the process of destroying another. Violence desecrates our humanity and diminishes our moral imagination. It is no secret that violence in any form affects every department of societal life such as education, culture, family life and communication. If violence is not curbed, it affects the growth of the national economy. When that is affected, our young people are the most hit. There will be no jobs and employment.

The recent attacks on the churches namely, the Roman Catholic Church in Vieux Fort and the burglary at the Castries Methodist Church are very “shameful” and very sad for a religious community such as ours.  This is a clear demonstration that some of us are drifting away from the foundations of God. The Church is a sacred institution which is the representation and the symbol of God’s presence among us. In attacking the Church in any form we are attacking our own destiny, because Saint Lucia is deeply rooted in religion. In fact, it is a Christian community and one would not expect this kind of behaviour on church premises.

Saint Lucia is a very peaceful and a friendly society, this current wave of violence does not define who we are as Lucians. All our visitors and the international community know that Saint Lucia is one of the most beautiful and friendly destinations that is why the tourism industry keeps on progressing because our visitors find peaceful rest when they come.

I would like to implore our young people and all those who are involved in any act of violence – be it domestic abuse, sexual abuse, child abuse, etc., to think twice before doing anything.  Instead of being violent, it will instead do us good to be patient because patience is key to overcoming all violence in any society.  Patience is the ability to stay calm while you are waiting for an outcome that you need or want. Patience does not mean passivity or resignation, but rather power. It is an emotionally freeing practice of waiting, watching, and knowing when to act. Let us understand that patience does not make one a doormat or unable to set boundaries with people. Rather, it lets us properly assess the situation to get a larger, more loving view to determine the right action.

Patience demands that we resist the urge to act impulsively.  It invites us to rest, even if just for a moment, and imagine new possibilities. Our impulses demand that we act now. They lead us down the path of violence. It is the path we take when we do not choose to wait for God.  Let us all resolve today, to resist the urge to fight or get aggressive. Let us learn to think. Learn to act in a right way. As a people, let us learn to recognize how we need to act in different situations otherwise we will find ourselves acting wrongly and deviating from the peacefulness associated with Saint Lucia’s culture.

Let us learn to treat each other with kindness, fairness and gentleness because sticks in a bundle are unbreakable. Patience attracts happiness; it brings near that which is far. Patience can “cook a stone”. Patience is “the mother of a beautiful child”, so an African proverb goes. Shalom.

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