Thursday, 12 August 2010

LOVE - passion and compassion

Do you remember, if you know, in the UK in 1995 a head teacher was murdered, stabbed to death outside his school, as he attempted to protect one of his pupils from another 15-year old? He left a widow with four children to bring up on her own. The story was in the papers again a few months ago, when the culprit finished his prison sentence and was free to stay in England, despite being born in Italy because he had lived in England since he was five. The culprit argued that it would be against his human rights to return him to Italy because he didn't speak Italian. How sad that his single mother did not give him the gift of bilingualism, his school did not provide him with Italian lessons, and even in prison he could not learn the language of his home country.

A similar scenario played out in Montreal in 1993 when a 14-year-old lad stabbed a man to death, but his widow, not burdened with four children, saw the lad as much a victim as her husband, because he'd come from a single mother, and a difficult background. This widow set up an organisation for such youngsters, called Leave out Violence (LOVE). It aims to raise awareness about youth violence and make youth part of the solution. LOVE is also a media arts programme that teaches youth the skills to become part of the media, skills like writing, photography and video. They become reporters on youth culture and feature in exhibits, radio shows, events and their own newspaper. They can continue onto leadership training, learning more about producing media, and how to be leaders in their schools.

This LOVE organisation has a compassionate approach, so much more hopeful than the UK media outcry about the released non-Italian speaking culprit - but good news makes no news.

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