The Malta Independent 27 September 2023, Wednesday
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Let’s rediscover our humanity

Sunday, 29 January 2023, 09:08 Last update: about 9 months ago

Alexander Mangion

The name Pelin Kaya shall remain imprinted in the country’s collective memory. The young Turkish national who came to Malta to fulfil her dreams, but had her life cut short on a cold January night, alongside a petrol station.

Pelin Kaya will remain on our minds – until another senseless and utterly unbelievable death will hit the news. Then she will become just another one of many, women in many cases, who fall victim to a deteriorating society and a system which is frozen powerless and out of touch.

Pelin Kaya’s tributes underlined the pain of a grieving circle of friends and family, who just couldn’t come to terms with how their beautiful friend was no more. A shocked country who once again was faced with the horrors of the ugly side of the society we have come to be, and not recognising ourselves in it.

Too many times do we read of heinous behaviour that makes us question where society is going. This is a question that perhaps needs to be asked at a personal level, but more importantly as a country: What pushes people to violence?

Perhaps social media exposes stories in unprecedented detail, providing a sordid spectacle, a pornography of evil which we just cannot help ourselves to look away from. Social media probably is not the problem itself, but it sure highlights the worst of us, in the most efficient and crystal way possible.

It feels like there is great anger in the souls of most. An otherwise minor altercation easily turns serious as we are quick to harsh words and sometimes even more. On the other hand our moral compass nowadays has shifted from “doing what is right” to “doing what you can get away with”.

It is perhaps the biggest testament of the unprecedented economic boom of the last 10 years, where we were encouraged to make hay while the sun shines, with no care or thought for the by-way.

Life has become a high-speed train. You are welcome to hop on board and try all you might to hold on to your dear life. But the second you unsuccessfully negotiate that tricky bend, then you are left alone and in the dark.

We see it in a climbing suicide rate, in the increasing use of hard drugs on a daily basis, the shocking death-toll on the roads – often the result of incredibly stupid behaviour, and other sad situations which the fantastic people running innumerable social services end up picking the pieces of.

Sadly I suspect all this anger is the result of a pervasive sense of hopelessness, which probably is one of the worst feelings that humans get to contend with. Some of us feel hopeless and helpless in the face of the fast-paced life we have crafted and the expectations that are imposed on us.

Owning your own property is soon becoming the realm of fantasy, having a little something saved up, like our parents did, likely inconceivable for many. Naturally there is no excuse for criminal behaviour, however, there is always a root, and no one seems to be bothered to address it.

I wish I could write with a lighter heart, or conclude on a hopeful note, but sadly I cannot.

Let’s not forget Pelin Kaya, and let’s rediscover a lost humanity.

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