Comradeship and tribalism gone wrong

Editorial

MEN in uniform, school boys and ethnic groups still do not appreciate that this a modern nation where the rule of law is allowed to operate.
That rule of law provides everyone the opportunity to seek redress for any wrong done to him or her.
Where there is a breakdown of order and growing rebellion, it is the country’s disciplinary forces that are expected to restore order and respect for authority.
It is therefore a truly shameful act by several members of the military and police forces to engage in a street fight out in public view in Port Moresby this week.
It was a scary sight when armed men in uniform confronted each other, sending people running to safety and businesses taking precautionary action.
Unfortunately, a few members of both forces have suffered personal injuries in the scuffle that ensued from something that
was being handled by police already.
But somehow, things had gotten out of hand when someone let emotions get the better of him.
And for the men of the disciplined forces to do what they have done in full view of a frightened public and disrupting business and people’s normal life is totally unacceptable.
Fortunately, the situation was brought under control and the heads of the forces have amicably sorted the matter out and have even been summoned by the Prime Minister to provide briefs on what had transpired.
As long as one suspends his or her own reasoning for the sake of another, even if they are in the wrong, nothing good ever comes out of that.
The actions by members of the police and defence forces this week and other similar confrontations in the past are an indication of people taking their comradeship or tribalism to unacceptable and dangerous levels.
It is the same story with ethnic groups and even in learning institutions.
The administration of a college in East New Britain drove out students from their dormitory because of the extensive damage done by drunk students.
Inevitably a lot of innocent students awaiting the tickets to travel back home were forced out of the dormitories along with the guilty.
On top of that, the college will be forced to repair the damage done to get the dorm ready for the next academic year.
That is going to be an unnecessary cost to the college forced upon it.
A similar incident happened at a secondary school in Wewak during the week where the actions of a handful of male students have resulted other innocent ones being taken into police custody.
Again, a few unruly students had victimised their friends.
As in all such cases, had a few individuals stood up to their peers, much harm and destruction could have been avoided.
There was no need for the other students to join their peers or stand up for those who had done wrong.
In fact, they would have done well if they had assisted in controlling the rowdy students.
But that might be easier said than done in some schools, because of peer pressure and the existence of cult activities.
It seems the tribal mentality of some and the tendency to defend those in the wrong simply out of a sense of their friendship is still difficult to break.
People still cannot accept the fact that those in the wrong can and are best dealt with only by the laws of the land.
Those who have been wronged also have the same avenues to seek redress.
Misplaced tribalism or comradeship have no place here.

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