Sen­sa­tion­al­ism vs re­spect

Zululand Observer - Monday - - ZO LETTERS -

OVER the past few weeks the Zu­l­u­land Ob­server has been pub­lish­ing ar­ti­cles re­lat­ing to the rather dis­turb­ing cir­cum­stances that sur­rounded the ini­tial dis­ap­pear­ance of the botanist cou­ple Rod­ney and Rachael Saun­ders, from the Ngoye For­est.

Sadly it was then seem­ingly con­firmed that they were mur­dered and their bod­ies dis­posed of in the vicin­ity of the Tugela River Mouth.

In this Mon­day’s edi­tion of the ZO ap­peared a fur­ther ar­ti­cle, which gave de­tails about the re­mains of a body that was found in the vicin­ity of the Tugela River Mouth and which may very well be the body of one of the botanists who was mur­dered.

What I am want­ing to say though, is that I was ab­so­lutely ap­palled to read the in­fi­nite de­tails that have gone into de­scrib­ing the state that the de­com­posed body was in by the time it was dis­cov­ered.

I just felt, where is the re­spect to­wards this per­son who was once alive and go­ing about his life in the same way as all of us are and pos­si­bly even mak­ing a pos­i­tive con­tri­bu­tion to so­ci­ety with his knowl­edge of the flora and fauna of our coun­try?

Here his beau­ti­ful life has been taken away from him by evil peo­ple and we fur­ther still put it all in print for the world to read what the re­mains of his body looked like, af­ter the el­e­ments and what­ever else the body had been sub­jected to while ly­ing in the wa­ter.

It made me feel sad for that per­son.

I think of fam­ily, friends and as­so­ciates who will read this lat­est news­pa­per ar­ti­cle that I am re­fer­ring to, pos­si­bly read­ing it on­line.

How heart­break­ing must that be for them to read an ar­ti­cle that is so ex­plicit about the con­di­tion the body of that per­son who once was part of their lives.

LET US RE­SPECT ED’s re­sponse: Ev­ery ar­ti­cle that re­ports on the death of a hu­man be­ing will cause heartache to their loved ones - that is the un­avoid­able re­al­ity. While we ap­pre­ci­ate that some read­ers find the de­scrip­tion of the state of re­cov­ered bod­ies to be up­set­ting, in this in­stance the state of de­com­po­si­tion was highly per­ti­nent to the ar­ti­cle and to the on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

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