Monthly Archives: July 2013

Daniel Pelka: Evil Prevails When Good Men Fail To Act

ImageToday I heard about a little boy who was brutally murdered by two sick, twisted individuals who starved and abused him for months on end in the style of a Nazi concentration camp, before finally beating him to death. The poor child died alone in an unheated cell, killed by the same ¬†people who were supposed to love and protect him. There isn’t much to be said about his mother and her partner who committed this atrocity, other than hopefully they will be killed in prison – their excuses for what they did were, “I loved my partner which is why I did it’ and ‘Something else was occupying my head and that’s why I did it’ or ‘I don’t really understand my behaviour.’ There’s not much to understand other than that they’re demons in human flesh, pure evil wandering about the earth, the type of people who should literally just be killed. They have served no purpose on this earth, other than to hurt others. They have committed the ultimate evil act, by killing their own child in cold blood.

So what about the teachers, doctors and social workers who did NOTHING to save him? My abhorrence for university once again shows its face – will someone explain to me why it is not drilled in the heads of the people on these courses just how imperative it is that they spot an abused child and have the guts to ACT on it? Rather than placing emphasis on paperwork or methods on teaching ‘number bonds’ (which, by the way, an entire term will be dedicated to) why don’t they spend at least HALF the course dedicating their time and energy into learning about the importance of saving a child’s life? Why was it that the teachers at the school saw repeated signs of bruising on the boy, witnessed him scavenging food in bins, YET THEY DIDN’T DO EVERYTHING IN THEIR POWER TO GET HIM AWAY FROM HIS HOME? I know why: it is natural for people to turn a blind eye. Convention breeds apathy, and university is at the forefront of convention – you learn methods, theory and how to be a good obedient dog, but you don’t learn how to go out of your way to save a little boy from being murdered. Teachers, doctors and social workers … What a joke. Society as a whole is a big fat joke – we are taught from childhood to do as we’re told without question and this does not change when we hit college, university or the working world. Thanks to this, many good people who are in general appalled by dreadful stories such as this will not act if they spot signs that may be suspicious. They will not wish to question something which is practically taboo; they will not want to concern themselves with something that could potentially be so horrifying that it will invade their sleep; they do not want to be the one who will stand above the rest and make the difference that could save a child’s life. It’s easy for us to live in our own little worlds and shut out the evils of society that don’t affect us, but if it was you entwined in this situation, wouldn’t you want others to care just as much as you? It’s time to start caring, stop turning a blind eye, stop being obsessed with your latest gadgets (hereby viewing them as the centre of your life) and keep a sharp eye out for cases of abuse – otherwise, as a nation, we are hit by stories that make even the most hard-hearted person cry. How many of you WOULD have actually taken serious action if you knew the little boy was being slowly killed? Only a complete idiot would have missed the signs and such an idiot should NOT be in a position of authority, such as teaching or the medical sector, and they should certainly not be in these professions if they could fall for the excuses that these abusers gave.

So what is the excuse? I believe people don’t act because they don’t want to believe something bad is happening. They don’t want to go through the horrors that await them if they choose to make a difference or they don’t want to concern themselves. It’s only when it’s too late that they wish they had. It’s only when a helpless child, with no one to protect him, care for him or love him like every child should be, suffers at the hands of truly monstrous, evil individuals that people begin to question themselves. NEVER be afraid to jump in if you suspect something is amiss – it doesn’t matter if you are wrong and it doesn’t matter if others scoff at you. What matters is if you are right, then you will have saved someone’s life, whether it’s a child, an animal, an old person or anyone else who is suffering, but can’t speak up. Daniel Pelka’s story moved me to tears. What is even more heartbreaking is that this is happening, everywhere and everyday. Evil people who take pleasure from inflicting pain on others thrive only in secrecy and concealment. Such concealment is made possible because the good people do not delve into places they should go, either through fear of breaking through convention or fear from the terrors they may encounter, or sometimes plain ignorance and apathy. I implore every person who has been touched by this little boy’s story, and who feels pain in their heart when they hear of anyone who has suffered or died at the hands of monsters such as this, to keep an eye out and do EVERYTHING possible to act when they see signs of abuse. We are so much more powerful than we realize – fear of being wrong or fear or breaking the mould should always come second when a person’s life is at stake. Prevention is always more important than justice – there are a lot of good people in this world, but many will not stand up due to their own fears and insecurities. That is why courage is the ultimate quality that every good person must have. THIS is what they should be teaching us in schools.

What happened to Daniel affects each and every one of us and this cannot be denied. Can everyone who has read this article please sign this petition (link below) which petitions the Secretary of State for Education, Michael Cove, to give children a voice in schools and bring forth a change in the national curriculum and teacher training, highlighting awareness of abuse and what to do when the signs are there. We were too late to save Daniel … but it’s not too late to do everything we can to prevent such tragedy from happening again.


Suikoden: Are You A Star of Destiny?

592418-suikodenThere aren’t many things I can say in my life that have had a huge impact on me as a person. Probably three in total. Oscar Wilde and his deep, thought-provoking stories are one; Winston Churchill and his dynamic wartime leadership is another (the admiration I hold for the strength and perseverance he injected into the world during WWII is colossal). The third would have to be that brilliant, under-rated RPG series known as Suikoden – and if you haven’t played Suikoden, believe me, you are missing out. This series will, quite literally, change your life.

This game first came to my attention at the age of thirteen one morning while sick in bed. I’ll always thank God thereafter for that particular flu (not something you tend to give thanks for, but this was an exception) for it brought to me my younger brother who, while pitying me in my miserable, bed-ridden state, decided to cheer me up by handing me an RPG game I had never seen before; he raced out again before I could sneeze on him and I stared at this game, wondering why I was holding it. I was never a big gamer; apart from the classic Streets of Rage and Sonic the Hedgehog, I rarely touched a console. Nevertheless, I popped the game into the Playstation and watched unenthusiastically as a character with long hair and a bandana who I had named Lewis (after a boy I fancied at school) wandered around a palace, talking to various people. My lack of enthusiasm had significantly changed two hours later and I was hooked. What followed was a glorious thirty-five hours of role play, where the main character – upon recognizing the corruption of the empire he lived in – was forced to fight against the same people he had grown up with, with only his closest companions to accompany him, battling all manners of foe, creating an army, acquiring a castle and – in introduction to the true beauty of the Suikoden series – collecting 108 Stars of Destiny along the way, those who would each play a significant role in the demise of the Empire and bring forth the new Liberation Army to victory. Betrayal, friendship, honour and war are common themes of the Suikoden series and, for the lover of doing what’s right in the face of injustice and hardship, this game is a dream come true.

A year later I was playing Suikoden II and this was even better. The story of two best friends, divided by their beliefs, suffering from the betrayal of their own country, forcing them to flee as fugitives and, ultimately, resulting in the betrayal of one friend to another as they led their own opposing armies into war was powerful stuff! Now, sixty hours of gameplay was mine to enjoy and, what with collecting another 108 Stars of Destiny, fighting epic battles, enjoying fun mini-games such as Hai Yo’s brilliant cook-off (causing you to want to eat in the process!) and feeling as though you were on a rollercoaster ride with the unexpected, sudden twists and turns that the game provides, there was hardly any time to do anything other than sleep and eat. Suikoden II, like its predecessor, will have you laughing, crying, raging with indignation, hurting, and enjoying the interaction between characters; it will take you into a world where honour, courage and friendship are the only weapons against cruelty and tyranny; it will bring a passion to your life that you will never forget; it will help you grow as a person and it will show you what truly matters in this life, instilling its own morals and values into you. Truthfully, I can say that I would not be who I am today if it weren’t for Suikoden: a stronger person who believes in choosing to do what is right over what is easy and who values friendship and loyalty above all else. I strongly suggest all those who have not played the series to give it a shot – there is nothing to lose with Suikoden, but everything to gain. Some years later I played Suikoden V and, again, the common themes were prevalent, especially some of the most beautiful music I had ever come across.

I no longer have a copy of Suikoden II – due to rarity, they are selling at something like ¬£200 on Ebay and Amazon! – but I should hope to purchase one again in the future. After losing my copy, I tried to find other RPGs that could provide me with the same feeling, but unfortunately none could quite achieve it. We can only hope that this brilliant series will one day be revived – at the end of each Suikoden series, one whom the main character loves dearly is resurrected if you have successfully collected 108 Stars of Destiny by the end. This shows us that just because something has gone, it doesn’t mean it can’t come back and this rings true for Suikoden as a whole. The ‘Suikoden Revival Movement’ works tirelessly to revive the series and surely their efforts will pay off in the end, so that those of us who are already fans and those who are yet to enjoy the series can benefit from the powerful, expressive storyline, the touching music and the engaging characters Suikoden has to offer. The beauty of this game cannot quite be described in words, but I hope that its influence can have an impact on individuals for many years to come.