Columnists Features

Of bad Samaritans

Torn Apart: BOYD PHIRI
IT SEEMS the hood is awash with amateur cameramen and women posting all kinds of videos on the internet for those who like to snoop at other people’s experiences in life.
Forget about selfies, which are most popular among many social media users in the hood trying to catch up with Kim Kardashian’s selfie obsession.
Of course, people in the hood experiment their skills at video taking with many activities and commotions, which include women and children shouting hule, hule, hule (prostitute, prostitute, prostitute) at someone accused of being a husband snatcher.
But although videos on social media are part of sharing different experiences, that doesn’t mean all of them are okay.
In recent years, we have seen videos of horrific scenes posted on social media. Bullying and sexual molestation are most common violent acts posted on the internet nowadays.
One case in point is that of a Kafue woman who was beaten and sexually molested by some men a few weeks ago.
A video of the same violent act went viral prompting several comments from some civil society organisations and Vice-President Inonge Wina.
Mrs Wina described the video as appalling and called on the police to ensure that the assailants are brought to book.
So far, the police have arrested three people in connection with the assault on the Kafue woman.
Of course, without the video, authorities would not have known the degree of harm the men inflicted on the helpless woman, let alone identify the culprits.
The other video relates to the pain a police officer exacted on his wife while drunk recently.
Someone took pleasure at taking the video of the woman being beaten by the police officer and threw all moral conscience to the wind.
However, one wonders what motivates some people to just take videos of other people being beaten and not take action to rescue the victims in the first place.
Needless to say, when a video of a violent scene is posted on the internet, many people become aware of the evil activities taking place in the hood.
But does this mean that the one who posted the video acted like a good Samaritan?
Granted, the hood is known for commotions of people chasing thieves and prostitutes across the length and breadth of the township.
But the moment one takes a video of a woman being beaten to pulp and posts it on the internet, he or she becomes a ‘bad Samaritan’.
A Good Samaritan provides help to anyone in need, even a complete stranger he finds in grave danger.
The bad Samaritan is someone who takes in the hero and seems at first to be helping, all to do the opposite in the end.
He doesn’t act out of the kindness of his own heart, but by some unpleasant motivation.
In the same vein, some people who take videos of others being abused but don’t take action to help the victims are like bad Samaritans, whose interest is to only put their cameras to good use than call police.
Obviously, taking a video of someone being abused may feel entertaining, but the momentary pleasure one gets is not worth the pain the victim of abuse goes through.
Perhaps, it would be better to take the videos as evidence of abuse, but at the same time act to rescue the victim from grave danger. That’s a mark of a good Samaritan.
Taking videos of people being abused but not acting to help them is like leaving it to the social media fraternity to make their own judgement on whether the act was wrong or write.
Of course, it doesn’t have to take the social media fraternity to judge that the footage is horrific. What if someone dies in your presence while you are taking a video of him or her being beaten?
Let’s not be like that photographer who took a picture of a dying child in front of a vulture ready to eat its carcass but did nothing to help him.
The photographer may have committed suicide after regretting his action, but I am not saying that everyone in the hood who has posted such videos on social media before should run to the nearest telecommunication mast to commit suicide.
The fact is, irresponsible social media conduct could make most people lose their sense of humanity.
Children who are exposed to such videos on the internet would begin to think that violence is the way of life.

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