Whatever the strange force that dictates what events are of vital importance to us is, it is an unpredictable one, and one which is often not accountable to any notion of reason.
Once again, as another alarming example of dysfunctional multiculturalism presents itself, what we are shown by the media is merely the tip of the iceberg; a fraction of the vast largely hidden mass that is immigration.
Consequently, it was not widely reported several weeks ago how a 16-year-old Roma boy kidnapped and raped a 13-year-old Roma girl in order to consummate an arranged marriage that wasn’t honoured by the girl’s family. After the rape, the girl’s family subsequently accepted €10,000 by way of reparation and as a result, they no longer consider the ordeal to have been rape.
A crime this deplorable – made all the more heinous because of the girl’s age – would be expected to make big news, yet not so.
The girl’s age also brings into focus once again the recent controversies over the age of consent and statutory rape. While the Roma case involves full rather than statutory rape, and therefore no consent at all - as opposed to consensual sex that falls below the age of consent of 17 - it still holds relevance when we consider the possibility of arranged marriages, such as the one in this case. An underage girl may willingly - in one sense of the word – marry a boy because of coercive attempts by her family. This possibility seems to strengthen the case for a simple bar on under-age sexual activity, rather than a system where young people of similar of age who have sex are provisioned for.
While the story featured as a moderately sized article in the Independent, to the best of my knowledge it was completely absent from the Irish Times. More worryingly, however is the fact that I have not heard one commentator speak out about the issues raised by the story. Not one.
In addition, neither the Irish Immigrant Council, nor Pavee Point (two organisations that have a special interest in such areas), have spoken out about the issue, and this is nothing short of cowardly. One wonders had a Roma gypsy been raped by an Irish national, if these two organisation’s silence would have been quite so complete.
The severity of the crime however, is not the fundamental reason why the lack of comment has been so shocking.
What is most disturbing is the fact that it appears unlikely that anyone will be prosecuted for the crime and, crucially, the implied reasoning behind this.
With regard to the reparation payments, a senior gardai on the case was quoted as saying, "some Roma have their own customs when dealing these type of issues".
It is simply disgraceful that a member of the gardai could even suggest that there are alternative ways of dealing with criminal cases. Imagine a scenario where, after arriving at a disturbance at an Irish suburban estate, a garda was told by the locals that, “we have our own ways of dealing with things”. As any rationale and law-abiding person will know, there is only one way of dealing with a breach of the law, and that is through the law. To suggest for an instant, even in passing, that cultural allowances must be made for anyone, immigrant or otherwise, is appalling. As a just society, we owe it to the child brutalised to bring about justice, just as we owe it to society to protect our own citizens from any attempts to subvert the law. Black, white, brown or yellow, Irish law is Irish law.
Imagine the even more destructive chaos that would have ensued in the North if Protestants and Catholics had specific laws for themselves - a situation where an accident of birth decided your fate before the courts. Secular law and order has prevented complete implosion up there because an impartial (at least in theory) system treats everyone equally.
It is irrelevant if it is acceptable for these Roma to have child marriages, and it is irrelevant if it is acceptable for them to buy a rapist’s way out of facing justice.
They must follow the law of this land; there are no compromises, there are no exceptions.
Despite what some of the p.c police may say, it is perfectly reasonable and logical to expect immigrants to a country to adapt to its values, norms and laws, rather than the other way round. Quite why this viewpoint is disputed by anyone is beyond me.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams’ recent comments about how Britain should adopt elements of Sharia law is endemic of this current trend of pontificating on multicultural appeasement. In his recent speech on Sharia he was quoted a saying, that if, "there's one law for everybody and that's all there is to be said, and anything else that commands your loyalty or allegiance is completely irrelevant in the processes of the courts - I think that's a bit of a danger".
Well actually, I can think of nothing more dangerous than abandoning that idea, one that has been a pillar of western democracy for a long, long time. It is simply ludicrous to suggest that we can have a workable society based on imported cultural and religious laws. Where exactly would this end? Does this mean for instance, that a Muslim should be able to decide that he or she would like to tried in a Jewish or Christian court or vice versa because the result may be more favourable to him or her? Or should you be tried depending on what religion you were born into? The whole concept is rather dangerous nonsense.
Are we to sacrifice every principle our society is based on in order to please people from other cultures? A well-known truth is that trying to accommodate all is tantamount to pleasing no one.
But like all difficult issues, no one wants to talk about the impact of immigration on Ireland and the challenges of integration. The all-encompassing blanket of silence we have wrapped ourselves in is warm and comforting. It seems that to engage with the subject of immigration, you risk running the gauntlet of political correctitude, where terms like “racist” and “bigot” are thrown about with abandon. Frighteningly, questioning the multicultural model can even be nothing short of dangerous, as Denmark’s immigration minister Rikke Hvilshoj discovered in 2005, when her house was set on fire in response to the tightening of Denmark’s immigration laws.
But we simply must talk about the issues raised by the Roma case and others, and their massive implications. And let us make no mistake, they are massive implications.
Few cases have highlighted in such a tragic and horrific way the problematic nature of the multi-cultural model and the challenges it presents. Here we have an ethnically distinct group of people that have certain cultural practices, which are incompatible with our own, and scandalously, the real possibility that a heinous crime will go unpunished seemingly - at least partly – on cultural grounds. The whirlwind of debate that this should have sprung up is somehow amiss and this cannot be a good thing.
Two things have to happen. First of all, a prosecution for this horrific crime must occur – a precedent has to be set, and justice must be done. Secondly, we need our media to be more daring, more dynamic, and less afraid of upsetting the liberal elite when it comes to discussing immigration. Wherever you stand on the subject, a rational and reasoned debate is what is owed to the public. The Dáil are not willing to open up this debate, so it is the media who must.