The irony is that we all think we live in a civilized society…
Civilised or Civilized depending on which side of the Atlantic you are on, is a very subjective word that gets used and abused when in suits. Last month I was shocked when we saw the pictures shown on TV of the two young British girls caught trafficking 11 Kilos of cocaine at the airport in Lima. As a Peruvian myself, I was dignified and straightaway knew the fate that awaited these young girls… “Guilty until proven Innocent”. To this day, I believe they have been sentenced to 14 years each, unless they cooperate with the anti-trafficking enforcement unit and disclose the identities of those who orchestrated this highly risky and expensive operation. If they do, their sentence will be reduced to 8 years – still almost a decade!
The most frequent question I got asked by those around me was; what are the prisons back in Peru like? I felt like saying…well, having been an inmate in a couple of them, I can tell you that they are pretty basic… I have never been to prison nor do I know anyone who has! Frustrated? Absolutely. Why? Because yet again, Peru is portrayed in a negative light. So I thought, but it really depends on your definition of Civilised.
All I can say about prisons in Lima is what I have heard. They are horrendous! Extremely basic and cramped. By the same token, I have heard prisons in the UK are so good that youngsters who break the law, do so with the knowledge that if they don’t get caught, it is a great adrenaline ride and if they do, well, it’s a week at summer camp with the mates – TV, Table Tennis, Gym, Films and probably better meals than what they get outside the joint. The question remains, WHICH OF THE TWO PRISONS DESCRIBED ABOVE makes a society to be MORE CIVILISED?
Need a little help? Here is a definition of civilised: “Having a high state of culture and development both social and technological”
What a lot of B**S**t. The above definition was created by a pompous, self-centred individual with an air of dominance and a desire to colonise. Here is why:
– Due to later adoption of internet infrastructure, a number of African countries have faster internet speed than the UK, hence deemed to be seen technologically (at least on this particular area) more advanced.
– In 70AD the Romans build the largest amphitheatre of the Roman Empire, so what did they do with it. Placed people inside (gladiators) forced them to kill each other and charged spectators to watch. Ah yes, I forgot to mention, this civilisation was deemed to be superior culturally, socially and technologically!
– The Spanish enjoy their bullfights and it is part of their culture, whilst the rest of Europe sees this as barbaric. Does this mean they are culturally inferior?
We are no longer hunters, or gatherers, not even supermarket shoppers, we are couch potatoes and internet addicts. We eat, sleep and work surrounded by computers or gadgets. What’s worse, the ipad has infiltrated the average family home to such degree that children are hardly conversing with their parents, the ipad is the last member of the family to join the household and to whom all attention is given. It is the newly born baby that never grows up. Has development in technology made us more civilised than the average tribal family in the middle of the rainforest?
Language is complex and at times it can be our most deceitful friend. Hence why it is important to have an open mind and not get hung up on the labels and definitions we, as a society have placed on ourselves.
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Luigi was born and lived in Peru until the age of 12. After a year in Liberia-Monrovia he moved to Villars-Switzerland where he finished his education in a British School. Since then, Luigi has traveled extensively throughout Latin America, Europe, Asia, and Africa and has worked in Singapore, Hong-Kong, and Switzerland. With a deep understanding of different cultures gained from his travel and work experience. Luigi founded Global Voices in 2005 and since this time has provided language solutions to life science organisations.