Monday 27 March 2023 | Written by Ruta Tangiiau Mave | Published in Editorials, Opinion
Matthew McConaughey starred in a movie A Time to Kill. it was John Grisham’s first novel to hit the New York best seller list. When it did Stephen King sent Grisham a note saying “welcome to the big time”.
It is a court room drama about a man, a father whose little innocent girl was raped and murdered by two men – just because. The crime was heinous and devastating to read. The father, a black man played by Samuel L Jackson, waited at the court and when the two white offenders were led in, he opened fire on them killing them both. The father was arrested and tried for murder. He pleaded not guilty.
McConaughey is the white male lawyer tasked with the job of defending the father.
What strikes me about this movie is the old age adage that the father came to defend his daughter and family name by exacting revenge against the perpetrators. He was enraged with the knowledge of what had happened, he grabbed his gun and faced them with little to no thought of the consequences of his own demise. He wanted justice and he saw that in the state of Mississippi that was going to be hard to come by with an all-white jury deciding the sentence for the two white men against one tiny black girl.
The movies are always painting these pictures of the heroic man as standing for truth, justice and honesty. We see it so often we buy into it while eating our popcorn we think it is reality. It isn’t.
We have seen our reality – spoken with derision by Thomas Wynne recently (Ten years of abuse and no one knew? March 25, 2023). Our reality is we are the white jury protecting the white man from an obvious sin against what Christians are taught to believe.
Twenty-seven written letters of support and several verbal character references for the man from Mangaia, painted as above and beyond any sin, let alone the 10-year continual assault then rape of a 12-year-old girl. The fact he only stopped when she gave birth at 15 years old means she was pregnant at 14 years old!
Unbelievably, no one stands up for her, no one supports her, because in the eyes of her mother she is bringing shame on the family. Where is the father? Where is the outrage from the father, the uncle, the grandfather to fight for this girl’s innocence to put themselves in front of this predator and shoot him down with the outrage of humanity? To kill him with their stares of disgust?
Mangaia, you have three voted in Members of Parliament, one with a village of 40 people. You have about 400 inhabitants and 20 per cent of them are prepared to stand up and say this is okay. This man who, because he holds a title, it’s okay if he abuses young girls. This man who is a trusted man in your community has not lost your trust but has gained your god given right to forgive and forget? This man who is the second man in as many months from Mangaia to be convicted of rape of small innocent girls, is more important to you than the life and soul of young and innocent girls. This girl who cried out for help and you ignored her.
Well family if you thought it was going to be embarrassing to your family name to expose a low life who preys on small children then think again, because you are all under the spotlight now. What I have to ask you all is how do you know she was the only one? How do you know there are not others out there? How can you trust the men in your life, the men around your babies? How can your children trust you to protect them to look after them to do what is right in the eyes of God?
This act of shamefulness is not God’s will to have grown men rape little defenseless girls. It is God’s test and you all failed. You failed not once but twice. Two men convicted for as little as 8 years and because of what you have done – giving this man support, you have told him and the world that it is okay. You have told every little girl who wants to cry out for help – shhhh, we must protect the man.
Well think about this. The movie comes to a final summation in court where McConaughey’s character tells the white jurors to close their eyes while he re-tells the gruesome details of the rape of this girl.
At the end he says “Now imagine she is white”.
To all who wrote in support, imagine what if it was your child.
phil smith on 27/03/2023