Monday, 6 May 2013

An acquaintance of mine was once stopped

by the Greek border authorities and rather roughly dealt with because he was carrying some suspicious looking tablets. Fortunately for him he was also carrying a letter from his doctor stating that these were his epilepsy medication. Once the letter had been translated to the satisfaction of the authorities he was permitted to go on his way with, he said, apologies and smiles.
Unfortunately for him someone else saw him being stopped, recognised him. inquired of the authorities what was going on and then made an unfounded report to others that he had been stopped for drug trafficking.  The consequences of that unfounded report were massive and almost cost him his job because he was later denied entry into America on the basis of the unfounded report. He was never promoted and was always turned down for other positions. His reputation never really recovered. There was always the question in the minds of some people - "did he or didn't he?" 
The person who made the report went on to have a stellar career and it is unlikely that anyone who worked with him even remembers he made the unfounded accusation which led to so much harm.
They were both at a meeting I had to attend on Saturday. They did not speak to one another. There was no reason why they should. The man with the stellar career was, as always, surrounded by his admirers. (I am not one of them.) The other man was taking time to listen to the almost unintelligible speech of a young profoundly disabled person we both know well. They were sharing a joke of some sort. 
Someone said to me, "T's such a nice guy. He's always got time for other people. He should have married and had kids."
He didn't. His sister, with whom he lives, once told me he lost his confidence after the accusation was made. Living with epilepsy is difficult enough without such added traumas. I am only mildly acquainted with both men but it seems to me a good man was harmed by, at very least, careless words.
I did not say that to the person who was talking to me. It is not my place to say it but when I came home to reports of yet another high profile person being arrested for sexual offences I wondered, what if the accusations now being made are not true? Have those making them any idea the harm a false accusation can cause? 
I doubt the media cares very much. Their job is to sell news, preferably sensational news - and that does not seem about to change. It worries me.


Anonymous said...

You are being much too kind to the high profile person Cat! I loathe the man! Ros

catdownunder said...

I knew you would know who he is Ros. I don't loathe him but I would not seek out his company.

Miriam said...

In the past, and to this day in other countries, some people could get away with anything, safe in the knowledge that no one would dare to accuse them. It's hard - perhaps impossible - to get it exactly right.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately there are people who are bullies ... sometimes through intent,sometimes through thoughtlessness. Amazing that they often reach high places!