Unspeakable Crimes: Delhi, Dakar, and Newtown

Ideas and Issues
protests in New Delhi

Dauphine Island         In an editorial in the Times mourning the gruesome circumstances of the death of the 23-year old Delhi woman in a Singapore hospital where she had been taken for treatment, they called it an “unspeakable crime,” which seemed the perfect phrase for so much of what we are living through these days on so many fronts.  I know men and women who are now on the streets of Delhi protesting this gross injustice and demanding that there finally be a seismic cultural shift around the role of women.  Sonia Gandhi, the head of the ruling Congress Party, has said that this is important to her “as a woman” and “as a mother,” but she and thousands of others need to demand and deliver change from their homes to the streets to the halls of government and the desks at the police stations.

There was more on the tragic spin game that Walmart continues to play around worker conditions in factories they fueled with cheap, hurry-up orders regardless of fire conditions.  Their international president reportedly was in Bangladesh meeting with suppliers, government, and other industry officials but his work was so opaque and obviously duplicitous that sources indicated that they would not allow “cell phones” or “fountain pens” to enter the meeting so that no notes, pictures, or record of any of the conversations could be reproduced.  To believe current CEO Duke’s claim to the Council on Foreign Relations that they will demand better fire safety standards for their suppliers is ludicrous in the face of the hundreds death through negligence where they cannot escape some deep level of responsibility for “unspeakable” crimes.

Even in the wake of the slaughter of children in Newtown, Connecticut in the United States, every day seems to bring yet more heinous reports of killings of firefighters, murders of police, and more slayings of innocent civilians in the armed camp that has now become our country.  No matter the NRA’s dissembling, these too are “unspeakable” crimes.

The problem is that to finally confront these crimes and force change, they in fact have to become “speakable” crimes, rather than “unspeakable” crimes.  They have to dominate the discourse in country after country and throughout the world until we have the change that must come to eliminate these crimes against women, workers, children, and others.

We need to speak in shouts about all of these crimes, rather than allowing silence to shield in its shadows the men, companies, and gun toting killers that continue to make this a world a horror everywhere around us.