Tear them down

Kapi-Mana News - - OPIN­ION -

Edi­tor,

This let­ter was in­spired by a ser­mon heard at St Johns in the City by a Scot­tish Rev­erend called Tom Cuthell. Cuthell de­scribed a re­cent visit he had made to Is­raelPales­tine and con­cluded that, ‘‘the whole point and pur­pose of walls, bar­ri­ers, fences and check-points, of course, is to con­trol, re­strict and deny ac­cess. They are de­signed to sep­a­rate, di­vide, alien­ate. They sug­gest de­fen­sive­ness and ex­clu­sive­ness.’’

As mem­bers of our lo­cal com­mu­nity I be­lieve we need to start tak­ing walls more se­ri­ously. Walls and gates, while seem­ingly harm­less, can have per­verse side­ef­fects. Walls demon­strate a com­mu­nity’s fail­ure to face up to its prob­lems, deal with fun­da­men­tal in­equal­ity and in­stead opt for ‘atom­i­sa­tion’ within walled off houses within walled off sub­urbs.

More and more peo­ple in our area are at­tempt­ing to bar­ri­cade their homes with seven-foot high walls and steel gates (some more taste­fully than oth­ers) – which in­di­cates an un­healthy tra­jec­tory for our com­mu­nity and so­ci­ety.

For the good of all of our com­mu­nity, which in turn ben­e­fits us as in­di­vid­u­als, we should start tear­ing down walls and gates and en­gag­ing with our neigh­bours rather than lock­ing them out in the sub­tle spirit of ‘‘de­fen­sive­ness and ex­clu­sive­ness’’. Rather than build­ing a higher gate to shut out prospec­tive crim­i­nals we can start look­ing to the roots of crime and chal­leng­ing them as a com­mu­nity rather than cow­er­ing be­hind our walls and gates.

Walls are sym­bolic of com­mu­ni­ties be­gin­ning to fail; gated ‘com­mu­ni­ties’ ex­em­plify so­cial fail­ure. Com­mu­ni­ties with­out walls, gates and bar­ri­ers are com­mu­ni­ties with dig­nity, re­spect and healthy fu­tures.

JAMES BAIGENT, Kare­hana Bay. in 25 years, sur­veyed this year.

Sur­veys can be de­signed to iden­tify ar­eas of dis­sat­is­fac­tion, so they can be pub­li­cised, then pri­ori­tised for ac­tion, and resur­veyed. This is not one of those sur­veys.

Or they can be de­signed to jus­tify ex­ist­ing pet projects, help se­nior man­agers earn bonuses, and fo­cus on ar­eas that don’t need im­prove­ment.

The District An­nual Plan (DAP) doc­u­men­ta­tion ex­cluded the low­est scor­ing sur­vey re­sults.

At least two coun­cil­lors/staff mem­bers ad­vised at the DAP meet­ing that they have pre­vi­ously par­tic­i­pated in the sur­vey. No coun­cil­lor or staff mem­ber should be sur­veyed – ever.

AN­DREW WELLUM, Cam­borne.

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