Liverpool Echo eviction Norris Green
“Ezek 18,19-20 «Yet you ask, `Why does the son not share the guilt of his father?` Since the son has done what is just and right and has been careful to keep all my decrees, he will surely live. 20 The soul who sins is the one who will die. The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous man will be credited to him, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against him. – New International Version.”
It is not unusual for me to be wholly repulsed by the news from where I grew up. Neither is it unusual for one question, above all other, to trouble me: to wit how something there can be so obviously “right” that one need not even argue the case, whilst it here is equally obviously so wrong that it should be absurd even trying to make a case. I have felt this split most keenly with the disgraceful spectacles for which my countrymen ought to be ashamed, whereby minors have been charged and convicted as adults.
The irony is that such things only mattered because I was (and until I naturalise still am) English. I was and still am angry about things done in my name. It horrifies me that whenever people get angry, they forget to think rationally. In so doing they throw away legal protections and safeguards not only for those who have incurred their wrath, but also for themselves and for their own children. Unfortunately, many cannot think outside the shameful mindset of the tabloids, where one gets away from having to deal with such people as fellow human beings. They are “scum”, “feral”, “yobs”, and so on. Consequently, one never has to entertain the notion that “there but for the grace of God go I”, or “there but for the grace of God goes one of mine”.
However, despite my having been “at odds” with what – by all accounts – the English think… it suffice to note that I am NOT a believer in more and more harsh punishments… yet nevertheless I recoiled in utter shock and disgust at the news I read today. It seems Great Britain now follows Israel’s lead in collective punishment. This of course is hypocrisy since we criticize the Israelis for destroying the family homes of suicide bombers.
Today’s Liverpool Echo reported that an entire family have been evicted from their home – because of the criminal acts of a sixteen year old boy in the family. In other words, if your son or daughter commits a crime, YOU will lose your home because of it. So will your family, younger siblings and anyone else who happens to live under the same roof!
The inner cities in Britain have a problem with crime and antisocial behaviour. That much we have understood. Yet such an injustice as this, and one that clearly violates this family’s human rights (unless they have committed criminal acts themselves), cries to the heavens – and will do nothing to solve the problems there. On the contrary, injustice breeds more injustice.
It is shocking that people actually defend this. The guilty person alone should have to take the consequences of his or her actions. It is wholly and completely immoral to punish the family – unless they are actually involved in some way, which the Liverpool Echo in no way has suggested.
I hope that this family will be able to find some legal help. This iniquitous treatment must surely contravene their rights under the European Convention. As far as I am aware, you are responsible for your own actions, NOT those of your family, or vice versa.
Ah, but then, I hear you say, how would I feel if it were I who were the victim? Like Saint Paul, I will boast only of my weakness.
There is no one who was more persecuted than I. Perhaps one might say I have been “different” for much longer than I realise. I was bullied so much at school that I had to be transfered to another when I was 14 years old. I do know what it is like to be the victim of crime too. When I lived in England, our house was burgled at least twice, and it might even have been three times. However, I am getting on in years, and have forgotten. Please forgive me.
I know furthermore the horror of violent crime, being myself its victim in 1985. I was set upon without any provocation, and beaten unconscious in the Doncaster suburb of Bentley. When I awoke in Doncaster’s Royal Infirmary, I had been kicked and punched quite literally all over, including the parts that in a previous age would have been respected even by one’s enemy.
Therefore, if anyone would object that one has to be a victim before one should speak, then speaking as a victim I want to see healing in our society. I do not believe that punishments that appeal to populist opinion (for that is surely what lies behind this) are the way to go. A terrible wrong has been done to quite innocent people here, and where there are grievances and bitterness there will only be further woes.
This therefore makes people less safe, not safer. Before you label these people as being anything less than the human beings you are too remember that there but for the grace of God go you…