Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Parents of the year, again (do they have them every month?)

Last year a couple was sentenced to a year and two months' suspended sentence for taking their 16-year-old daughter to the Democratic Republic of Kongo. Now a higher court reduced it to four months' suspended sentence.

Right. This will show them! Although, on the other hand, I should be, and indeed am, glad that those assholes were sentenced at all.

It never ceases to amaze me how some places are considered (sometimes quite rightly) too much of a shithole to return a refugee to, even too much of a shithole to return a convicted criminal to, but as soon as parents are trying to send their child there, it's their dear idyllic homeland where the wise relatives instruct the children in their quaint traditional ways.

Anyway, the fuckers had a 16-year-old girl, who had lived half of her life in Finland, they took her to Kinshasa by deceit (because otherwise she would have run away to the shelter, says the father) and they left her there up the shit creek without a paddle (I mean at some relatives' place without a passport). All of this because they wanted to keep her away from bad company and to teach her the African customs.

Let's see. The Democratic Republic of Congo is just as much of a festering shithole as anything else called a Democratic Republic. (Democratic Republic of Korea, anyone? Democratic Republic of Kampuchea, probably the most genocidal state ever?) The thing it is most known for is the Second Congo War, a partially-civil war that really lasted from 1998 to 2003 and has been sort of low-key since then. (The Parents of The Year sent their sprog there in 2006.) The war in question killed 5.4 million people, which was incidentally about 8.2% of the population.

Right now the war is primarily in the east. It's mostly characterized by raping everything that moves. Gang-raping, too, to the point where it causes rectovaginal fistulae. Which, I suspect, is what affects the brains of people who send their children there.

Kinshasa, where the girl was sent, boasts 112 homicides per 100000 people. Yep, that's 0.112% of population getting killed in a year.

In comparison there has been about 2.3 homicides per 100000 people per year in Helsinki in the 2000s.

What kind of local customs did they send the girl to learn? Homicide, group rape and genocide? I think these have been rather out of fashion in most of Europe for the last 60 years or so.

I know there are warm-hearted people somewhere in Africa, with great negotiation skills and all, but I think that when a country is recovering from a big-time genocide one really should go and learn the negotiation skills somewhere else. For example among the drunk teenagers in any mall in Helsinki. Not that they are the optimal teachers of manners, mind you, but at least everyone usually stays alive. In fact I can't really think of any demographic group in Finland that would even approach the 0.1% per year homicide statistic.

Luckily for everyone involved the girl was well-versed in the Finnish methods of negotiation, and contacted a classmate and a teacher by email. They and the police helped her to get home. I can only hope the police charged the parents for the ticket afterwards.

I am not even imagining that the punishment will deter the next parents of the year, but we can at least hope that the publicity will both warn the children and teach them how to get back when left by their parents in the midst crime and/or civil war.

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