Editor's Picks


First wedding of the year

23 January 2021

Editorial: Let these parents bury their sons

Wednesday 29 January 2020 | Written by Jonathan Milne | Published in Editorials


Editorial: Let these parents bury their sons
The site on the main road at Pue where two motorcyclists collided head-on, killing both. 20012634

“Think of yourself and others using the road.” The call for greater action around road safety comes from the employer of Amit Kumar, who died at the weekend.

His exhortation is the start of some more challenging questions, still to come.

There will be questions about the causes of an accident that killed 28-year-old Amit Kumar, 14-year-old Tereora College student Mona Ioane, and injured a third young man.

There will be questions about youth drinking. There will be questions about drink-driving. There will be questions about speed. There will be questions about helmets.

The mortality rate on Rarotonga’s roads is among the worst in the world, and more than 10 times worse than New Zealand’s. If Rarotonga were a country, its road toll would far outstrip that of Liberia which the World Health Organization lists as the most dangerous.

So it is right that these questions be asked. The only way we can protect future generations of young people is if we learn from our mistakes.

But it will be painful – and most of all for the parents who on Sunday lost their sons; for the families who lost their brothers and loved ones.

This is not yet the time for those questions.

First, let the parents grieve, let them bury their sons.

When there are those on social media already trying to attribute blame, the dignity with which these families hold themselves is remarkable. I’ve spoken with Mona’s aunts and with his father, former MP Mona Ioane Sr.

We’ve spoken with Amit’s brother Raju – his family has already built a shed on the family property, for when they bring home Amit’s body.

Read more:

*‘I wish the tides will bring me home’

* Heartbroken: Families mourn as ‘horrific’ head-on crash kills two

For now, we urge some respect for the families. Those of us who are parents know how judgmental others can be about how we bring up our children.

Trust that one thing is certain: nobody loves these young men the way their parents do, and nobody could be hurting more at their loss.

No person is a statistic, no person is a salutary lesson for others. These are young men and boys whom we will remember with love and respect.

Yes there should be questions. Yes, we must learn from these tragedies and seek solutions.

But first, let these parents bury their sons.