Tag Archives: Queen Elizabeth II

Words Spoken in “fun” Result in a Suicide

It was just supposed to be good fun. Something to entertain their audience with a laugh. And, besides, they really doubted that it would work. Surely the receptionist at King Edward VII hospital in London, who answered their call at 5:30 a.m., would recognize their Australian accent. But the impersonation of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles by Aussie DJs Mel Greig and Michel Christian of 2Day FM fooled both the nurse/receptionist, Jacintha Saldanha, and the ward nurse who gave out a personal health update about the Duchess of Cambridge’s acute morning sickness.

I can imagine Greig and Christian high-fiving each other while on the air, for successfully pulling off their hoax. Of course, they aren’t the first to pull off such a “royal” hoax. In 1995 Canadian DJ, Pierre Brassard, fooled the Queen into thinking he was the then Canadian Prime Minister, Jean Chrétien, for about 15 minutes.

However, Greig and Christian put out a public apology for impersonating the royals and invading their privacy, probably at the prodding of their radio station’s management. But, they hadn’t thought about the possible repercussions that their “fun” might have had on the two nurses they had tricked.

The royals know they are the objects of pursuit by clever paparazzi who chase them in order to feed the ever-hungry, personality-driven entertainment media. So being people in the public eye means they know they must roll with unexpected and perhaps laugh along with it. However, sometimes the dance between publicity hunters and the celebrity hunted ends tragically, as it did with Princess Diana.

Ordinary people trying to do their jobs the best they can, like you or I, aren’t schooled in the art of being held up to public ridicule or mocking.  Sometimes words spoken in “fun” can be taken badly by the objects of that “fun.”

Today, we learned that one of the two nurses taken in by Mel Greig and Michel Christian’s hoax, Jacintha Saldanha, apparently committed suicide. Jacintha was a married woman with two children. Tragic. Sad. Heart-breaking. Who could have known she would take it so hard?  Who could have known that words spoken in “fun” by another could hurt so much that it would cause such a reaction.

The royals William and Kate say they didn’t complain and have publicly said they are “deeply saddened” by this apparent suicide. The hospital management said they had been trying to help the two nurses through this difficult situation.

Unfortunately, words can and do kill even if the intention was all in jest. As the Apostle Paul once pointed out:

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers (Ephesians 4:29 King James Version).

This was the error of the Australian DJs Mel Greig and Michel Christian of 2Day FM. They spoke a corrupt communication with a deceptive purpose. I’m sure they regret the whole thing. From their pictures these two are quite young, which means they’ll have a long time to think about what they did.

It is easy to say the wrong thing, or to say something the other person takes the wrong way. Or maybe what is said is right, but the timing is all-wrong. The end result is that someone is hurt even if our intention was just to have a bit of “fun.”

How hard it is to ensure that what comes out of our mouths “minsters grace unto the hearers.” But this is the goal we all should have. When we speak and when we listen to our friends speak, let’s keep in mind the vital importance of considering the consequences of what we say. Unfortunately Greig and Christian didn’t help each other out in this way.

The right word at the right time 
is like a custom-made piece of jewelry,
and a wise friend’s timely reprimand 
is like a gold ring slipped on your finger (Proverbs 25:11-12 The Message).

 

The tie that binds us: a question of leadership

Canada is one of the most successful nations in the world. Why is this so?

When it comes to landmass Russia is about 1.7 times larger than Canada and has a population that is more than 4.1 times larger than Canada’s. Only 4.57% of Canada’s land is arable or suited for growing food.  In comparison 7.17% of mother Russia is fertile land. So Russia has an enormous advantage over Canada in both food-productive arable land, population size, and a massive landmass that is rich in exploitable mineral and hydrocarbon resources. Also, about 50.4% of Russia is covered by forests in comparison to Canada’s 26.5%.  So it would seem that Russia has a tremendous advantage over Canada and should be significantly richer.

Yet when it comes to comparing per capita income, Canada comes in 11th in the world with $29,740 while Russia only weakly registers as 82nd in the world with a relatively meager $8,920. Russian per capita income is just 30% of a Canadian! Such an economic disparity also shows up, logically, in export and GDP stats. Canada exports about $431 billion worth of stuff per year while Russia ships abroad only $335 billion.  Canada’s Gross Domestic Product weighs in at $1.25 trillion yearly while Russia’s GDP amounts to only $986 billion. The Canadian GDP is about 26% greater than Russia’s (stats courtesy of http://www.nationmaster.com/encyclopedia).

Why such a surprising discrepancy? Among all the nations of this world, in the human development index (life expectancy, literacy, and standard of living), Canada is ranked as 5th among 178 nations while Russia lags behind in 62nd place. In the economic freedom index (rule of law and property rights) Canada is 18th amongst 156 countries surveyed whilst Russia is a pathetic 137th.  Obviously, in such a comparison to Russia, Canada is punching far above its basic national statistical weight! Why?

Why are we doing so much better than the Russians? It comes down to a question of leadership. Consider the past to understand the present, and perhaps to even see into the future.

The Russians brutally murdered their Monarch and their royal family in the early part of the 20th Century and embraced atheism as a national doctrine and Marxist-Leninism as their guide in economics. The result was a long series of brutal, paranoid dictators who oppressed the Russian people in order to control them and spent an incredible amount of their resources on a massive military infrastructure.

Canada, on the other hand, cherished its Monarchy and royal family. Canada also embraced for its theology, for the most part, Judeo-Christian religions with values that flowed from the Bible’s abiding respect for the rule of law and private property rights and a whole list of personal freedoms.

The effect of these different paths followed by Canada and Russia were consequences with very different outcomes.

Canada’s success and its foundational political institutions and documents are deeply indebted to the royal family for the solid cornerstone upon which the Canadian national enterprise has been built. The British/Canadian/Australian/New Zealand, etc. royal family has been one of the most successful political franchises the world has ever seen! Again, it has been a question of leadership.

Queen Elizabeth II, the present Queen of Canada and Canadian forces commander-in-chief, has been home with her people this week celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Canadian Navy, and our national birthday–Canada Day—on July 1st. Over 100,000 people enthusiastically greeted the Queen in Ottawa for this celebration.

Most Canadians of English-speaking descent are content with our present system of constitutional monarchy. However, most of the French-speaking are not so enthusiastic nor are those English-speakers infected by republicanism. For them the grass is always greener on the other side. But then we, Canadians, know that whining about the monarchy is as Canadian as complaining about the weather, eating pancakes with maple syrup or griping about having to learn to speak in school that “other” official Canadian language be it French or English.

The plain fact of history is, whether we like it or not, that Canada is what it is today–highly successful–in great part due to the role played in our national life by our monarchy.

The Scriptures have something to say about the important role of leadership in a nation’s well-being:

2When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when the wicked rule, the people mourn (Proverbs 29:2, 21st Century King James Version).

And…

4 The king establishes the land by justice, but he who receives bribes overthrows it (Proverbs 29:4, NKJV).

Again…

14 A king who judges the poor with fairness—his throne will be established forever.

In Canada, our very human Monarchy has been the tie that has bound us to each other and to others scattered around the world, setting an example for good, mostly. It has been the tie that has sustained us through thick and thin and we should show respect to our Queen and those who govern in her name. As the Apostle Paul admonished Christians:

1LET EVERY person be loyally subject to the governing (civil) authorities. For there is no authority except from God [by His permission, His sanction], and those that exist do so by God’s appointment…. 7Render to all men their dues. [Pay] taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, and honor to whom honor is due. (Romans 13:1 and 7, Amplified Version).

So on the Canada day weekend, let us remember to show respect  and honor to those whose mostly good examples have allowed us to enjoy living in such a wonderful country.