Vengeance Begets Vengeance

April 1st, 2009
by Alfonso Ebanks

[private] v7-4-Our IslandsIn the middle of a busy public thoroughfare one man dowsed another with gasoline and ignited the volatile substance. As the victim’s clothing burned he jumped into the water and doused the flames. Had the ocean not been so close he would probably have met a grisly death.

Many people witnessed this attempted murder yet nobody reported it to the authorities. In fact it became the joke of the week. When asked why he wanted to murder the victim, the perpetrator explained that the victim had committed some kind of misdeed against him about three years before. The perpetrator explained that after the initial misdeed, his wife had advised him to leave things in the hands of the law. The first year passed and the law did nothing. The perpetrator’s wife then convinced him to leave justice in the hands of the good Lord. The second year passed without justice being visited. In the third year, the perpetrator reasoned that it was up to him to fix things. He bought some gasoline and a cigarette lighter and set fire to his enemy. Ultimately no one was seriously hurt, but this is not the norm in this country.

From a very early age Honduran children are taught to seek revenge for anything unpleasant visited upon them by another. This revenge can have minor or very serious consequences, depending on the misdeed. Revenge commonly ranges from killing a pet or farm animal to killing another human being.

In spite of male bravado about the father being the boss of the house, the truth is that a mother rears her children. Amongst her duties is training her children to face the rigors of life spiritually, morally and socially. She trains all her children, but she makes special efforts with her boys. She will teach her three year old son that only girls cry when they hurt themselves. She will encourage – even demand – machismo from her sons. Her oldest boy will have complete control over his siblings, including the right to inflict violence on them.

The mother’s training will produce young men who believe violence solves all grievances. These young men will admire men who murder for vengeance. In most cases the victims of these murders will be unarmed. These young men will render a perverse homage to murderers, praising them as ‘having their own private graveyard’. These young men will believe that one should never strike a man who has caused you harm – rather you should kill him.

A mother also teaches her boys to defend her honor at all costs. Her boys will become young men who feel duty bound to kill anyone to question the virtual sainthood of their mothers. It is too bad that these same boys are not taught to respect all women as they do their mothers. They might then refrain from the insults and obscenities with which they routinely barrage other women.

The Honduran mother is responsible for carrying the torch of rancor and keeping alive the resentment and the desire for vengeance for a past injustice, be it real or imagined. We must look to her to transform this culture of violence. [/private]

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