Like many other Australians, I woke up this morning to the tragedy that Nurse Jacintha Saldhana, the nurse who answered the prank call from Australian Radion DJ’s Mel Greig and Michael Christian a few days ago, has apparently committed suicide.
It’s a tragic story. Absolutely devastating.
Two weeks out of Christmas and a family has just lost their loved one; it’s everyone’s worst nightmare.
But, like every major news story, social media seems to blow things out of perspective.
I’ve read many articles, status comments, tweets and such this morning, and heard a lot of people’s point of views. People calling for the sacking of Mel and Michael, labeling them as bullies.
Others saying that the woman herself was weak and selfish and that a prank is not reason to end it all.
And then this post by the gorgeous Gemma, about how much do we value human life.
As I’ve read through everything, I’ve gotten more and more upset and frustrated.
Whilst I do not condone the actions of the radio DJ’s, they are not bullies. They didn’t attack any one, or try to bring them down or belittle them. They made a bad judgement call which has had a horrible consequence.
Hands up who hasn’t done that?
Secondly, I know a little bit about depression, and the feeling of emptiness, and brokenness and wondering if maybe inflicting a little bit of pain will help you feel better. I know that when you are in that mind frame, even the smallest thing can see huge and insufferable.
I do not know what was going on in that woman’s life, but there was obviously something else. She was struggling like so many others. She went to work, did her job, answered the phone, and had no choice but to pass it on to the ward, on the very off chance that it was actually the queen. She wasn’t a switch board operator; they were off and would have known protocol. She was a nurse doing her job which was helping others.
There should be no judgement for her, from anyone.
Now that her death has reached the news of the world, no one is of course judging her. She has become, as far as the media is concerned, the victim of insensitive bullies who prize a joke above all else.
But has anyone really thought about those so called bullies?
They were also doing a job. Now, like I said, what they did I think was wrong and insensitive, but it’s also what they do because their audience wants it. And how many of us have heard that interview and got a little giggle at the bad accents and the fact that they got through? Are they really the only ones who should bare this shame?
And, whilst we’re busy handing out the blame as a society, has anyone ever considered how they might be feeling? Calling for their blood and burying them in blame. Do we know their mental health? What are they going through?
What happens if the pressure of this is too much for them, and they make the same decision as that nurse? Whose fault is that?
Theirs for making the initial phone call?
Or ours for judging them and condemning them?
The truth of this matter, is that a tragedy has unfolded. One family has lost a mother, a daughter, a sister, aunt, cousin, niece and friend. It’s a horrible, devastating situation and no one should ever have to go through it.
But two other people, who made a bad judgement call, also wake up this morning with the guilt of knowing that they contributed to that tragedy. That part of the responsibility is theirs, and they will live with that for the rest of their lives. They can’t take it back, or ever apologise enough to make it right.
They don’t need our judgement at this time. The tweets, the facebook comments, all of that actually makes us just as much bullies as we are so quick to label them.
I woke up to a tragedy this morning, but not just the tragedy of one pointless death.
The real tragedy is that apparently compassion is subjective, and forgiveness only for the few.