We don't try hard enough to understand each other."

A man who had done no wrong, has been forced to be tried by the media "court", been villified and had his name tarred, feathered and dragged through the mud....only to be found innocent.

The story went like this on "Sunday" a current affairs program on TV one last night: "The police claimed George Gwaze didn't make a sound when he slipped into his niece's bedroom and allegedly raped and murdered her. But the jury didn't buy it and all the charges against the immigrant Zimbabwean veterinary surgeon were quickly thrown out. Why was he even charged?"

The story is in retrospect and is a great example of how a lack of knowledge about HIV aids in our priviledged country allows us to leap to a whole range of conclusions that cover the gamet of hot topics and stereotypes, such as: child molestation, "barbaric" cultural practices and males as protagonists of violence and sexual abuse.
In fact the media has been caught playing to all three of these stereotypes in an effort to boost paper sales and listeners to radio and tv news shows. It's obvious that this is the only thing that counts in this case and the truth is just an inconvienient element of the story.
It's frightening to see how well meaning people who are doing good works in this country fall prey to such commercial and moral agendas. And how long shall we wait to hear an apology from the media or the people they interviewed calling for the blood of an innocent lamb?
And yet this is how we judge things in "Trials by Media" - stereotypes and innuendo Vs hard facts and considered, complex and logical arguments.
We have been trained to make decisions, vote people in or out, and to decide what's right and what's wrong by this media the media machine! And it's the stereotypes and innuendo that make our decisions not anything else!
This is indeed a tragedy and hopeful something to be learnt from both as a society and as an individual, needing to make judgements on events and people.

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