Tuesday, 3 June 2014

I am tired of hearing about Rolf Harris

and I wish the media would concentrate on more important people - like the woman at risk of being hung for her religious beliefs.
Now please don't misunderstand me. I think it is important that the allegations of sexual misconduct being made against Mr Harris are investigated. They are very serious and, if true, they are to be condemned in the strongest possible way.
Mr Harris was an entertainer with a big following and a great deal of influence. I could never understand this. I always looked on him as a "smart-alec" and a show off. His style of "entertaining" never did anything for me. It was too slick and reminded me of commercials on television - something else which irritate me.
His trial however should not be made into a media circus. It is serious court business, not entertainment of any sort. Given his past influence it is proper that the outcome is known but we do not need the salacious details the media appears to be intent on giving us.
The case of Meriam Ibrahim is an entirely different thing. We know very little about her or her husband. There has been some interest in the media - but far less than there has been in the Harris trial. Why?
I suspect it is because, despite the moves by human rights organisations and the condemnation by some Prime Ministers and Presidents, people are fearful of upsetting powerful political interests. There will be Islamic countries where the sentence will be approved of by radicals and by religious leaders. Condemning someone to death for their religious beliefs would come easily to some of these people. There will be terrorist groups such as Boko Haram who will strongly support such a sentence.
And people will say, "We have to move carefully. We have to be careful not to upset these groups or they will do even more harm than they are already doing. We mustn't negotiate with them but..."
Oh yes it is always that "but..."
I recently read the autobiography of Malala Yousafzai. It is not a particularly well written book but what comes through strongly is her passion for learning and ensuring others also have the right to learn - and her homesickness for her own valley in her own country. At the moment she is someone who is off centre stage - and that is probably a good thing for someone so young - but it would be better for all of us if we could concentrate on her story, on Meriam Ibrahim's story, and on the story of hundreds of thousands of people like them.
We don't need to know the sordid details of alleged sexual promiscuity by an ageing entertainer. It is just taking attention from the important things in life - education, dignity, compassion, freedom to believe and a belief in life itself.