Beware the Coward’s Kiss.

3 May

oscar wilde

“Yet each man kills the thing he loves, By each let this be heard, Some do it with a bitter look, Some with a flattering word, The coward does it with a kiss, The brave man with a sword!”     Oscar Wilde. The Ballad of Reading Gaol. 1897.

One hundred and twenty years ago, Oscar Wilde was languishing in Reading Gaol guilty of the crime of homosexuality. He had been sentenced to two years of hard labour. As he watched a fellow inmate walk to the gallows, he pondered on the blatant hypocrisy, and cruel ignorance of the day. Some say he was also feeling guilty about the fate of his wife and sons.

It was to take seventy  years before homosexuality between consenting adults was made legal in the UK. Homosexuality is still illegal in 36% of our world’s countries.

And so it appears the Western world is becoming more liberal – a shift away from discriminating against citizens on the basis of their sexual orientation, and of course their gender, colour, and creed. The focus instead -and rightly so – is to identify and eliminate society of those who commit paedophilia and rape, where one individual maliciously forces himself (or more rarely herself) on another without their consent. In recent years too, convictions have been handed down to HIV aids carriers, ‘recklessly causing Grievous Bodily Harm’ on sexual partners not made aware of their aggressor’s  immune state prior to unprotected intercourse.

There is a trend. Imposing one’s will by force is now deemed serious even though the act itself may not be perceived as being excessively violent. For example, in a landmark case in 1997 a UK man was convicted of ‘recklessly causing Grievous Bodily Harm’ by stalking a partner with silent telephone calls.

So as a society we are becoming more aware that dangerous bullying can take many forms – a silence, a bitter look, a flattering word or even a kiss – as Oscar Wilde was to observe at the end of the 19th century.

However, we  collectively still remain blind to perhaps even greater evils. Blatant warmongering,  deceitful leaders, psychopathic corporations to name but three. And of course these three are by no means mutually exclusive.

Many of the wicked culprits hide behind masks and medals of rank and respectability. Their lies are often hidden behind half truths.They may even try to seduce us with the occasional metaphorical kiss. Though sometimes it will be their silence and their absence that proves to be most deadly.

We now, above all and more than ever, need to be expert code-breakers. Forensic word, deed and intent analysts. We need to decipher their strange language, their spin, their deceit and their emptiness.

Then we need rip off their masks, boycott their products and vote them out of our lives.

This is next giant step for mankind. We need to make it soon.

 

 

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