The Iris Kaingu’s story was making headlines, on most people’s lips, social media was abuzz and it was the topic of office gossip in the last week. The eventual conviction by the courts and the fact that Iris had to spend two nights behind bars as she waited her sentencing was received with polarising views. Some people rejoiced in jubilation at the presumed consequences of her actions while others cried foul at the injustice of being denied bail some blaming it on her politically vocal father. The case in which she was convicted was the making of obscene material tending to corrupt morals. When she was fined K10 million some thought it was not worth the crime. There were sections of society that were calling her all sorts of names and calling for her to feel the wrath of the law. How dare she defile a Christian nation like Zambia?
Zambia is a Christian nation and should not be associated with any manner of immorality such as the kind that Iris was involved in. Some were even saying that these are the end times and what on earth are Zambian children up to? Oh Lord help us. This is where I have an issue with some of the comments that were filtering through the published press and social media, we always pull out the Christian Nation card when it suits us. We find falling on the Christian Nation bandwagon as a default for everything else that does not conform to our own moral compasses.
I do not support whatever Iris did, neither am I writing this piece to judge her, that is not my duty. However, her case revealed many flaws in our society. It was very easy for us to judge her for her shortcomings because what she did was made public. Many of the people who were pointing fingers forgot to look at the long hard logs in their eyes. Some of the people who were calling for Iris’ head did not find anything wrong with the fornicator, adulterer or the people who are cohabiting. Simply because to them that could not be categorised under the same sentence as what Iris did. We choose to place a blind eye to our own shortcomings and pounce on others to draw the attention away from ourselves.
The amazing thing is that the people who are judging this girl some of them watched the video, did it make them any better than her. I was baffled that this girl had already suffered enough humiliation, ridicule and shame, still people found the need to drag her through the dirt. How is it that we find pleasure in someone’s down fall and wish them nothing but the worst in life? Very few people were offering advice on ways to help her, counsel her or even how to move past this. We all make mistakes in life. I have done some things in my life that I am not proud of and would wish to forget. I cannot even begin to imagine how it would feel like when every time I try to move forward someone keeps reminding me of my past. One person reminding me of my past would be a pain, now imagine a whole nation reminding you of your past that must be torture.
Allow me to delve a bit out of topic here, but I just felt that I have to say this. Where was the guy in all this? There was barely a mention of him. He still remains anonymous and even if he was known he would not have experienced the same barrage of insults that Iris has. In fact he would have been viewed as a hero and ‘A Real Man’. It is such attitudes in our society that find a man sleeping around ok, but for a woman it is an abomination. There is something seriously wrong here.
In my opinion, Zambia is a double standard Christian Nation. We choose to hide behind the blanket of it when it suits us. We choose to see our own sins far worse than others. People will not get to the streets to protest against the adulterers but are willing to lynch someone who makes an obscene video. We need to accept that people will make mistakes and we need not be quick to judge but instead find ways to assist people through their mistakes. We do not know what drives people to certain actions and maybe if we did take the time to know we could be more empathetic. Now may all those who have never made mistakes, who do not have an ugly past, and are the epitomes of perfection throw the first stone.