The Day Samoa Lost Her Innocence

It was just a matter of time before Samoa had its initiation in today’s rites of fast-and-instant-do-it-yourself-homemade sex videos. With the ready availability of mobiles, cell phones and other gadgets, loaded with ubiquitous and often predatory apps and services, all at nanosecond speeds, the limits and possibilities of what one can do with them within the privacy of his/her own home, are endless - and boundless. Obviously.

And though the initiation has been loathed by many - at least publicly - it seemed to have been feted by the young and the restless as they circulated and shared the clip, which then slithered onto the Internet.

Subsequently, the panic and shame started rippling through paradise - and beyond. The Catholic Church school - at which the culprit was a student - dived into damage control mode trying to stop the spread of the stigma virus.  The moral psyche of the people was nudged from napping, while the vehicle of government shifted to overdrive in revising existing laws to allow for the indictment of pimps and distributors. Rumors circulated of the girl’s family being banished from their village and letters to a local newspaper (with an online circulation and readership) urged forgiveness, while some issued reprimands and denouncements and still others injected sarcasm suggesting that the video was an effective antidote for some perennial discomforts the girl may have been suffering.

Samoa needs to learn quickly to come to terms with the influx of changes - good and bad - especially those spawned by technology. From a basic and often distorted outside perspective, Samoa is eons behind the rest of the world - if not still very much in Margaret Mead’s sextopia. Reality, however, is that distance, in all its imaginable connotations, is dead - killed by technology - and Samoa is therefore hobnobbing with the most technologically advanced countries in the world. That can be good and commendable for a remote island nation to stay abreast with today’s developments and innovation in technology.

However, the same tenacious approach of staying current with global trends, along with enthusiasm for the latest and greatest innovation, are sometimes spurned and viewed with suspicion, skepticism and paranoia - if not evil - by the older and more conservative generations. As a result, the generation gap seems to be made even wider by today’s fast changing world. And though many young people still espouse the traditional and Christian values of their parents, even in the face of riotous and egregious modern influxes, dilemmas and confusion have become real problems among Samoan youth of today. In some cases these young people resort to rebellion and eventually suicide in coping with resulting despair.

To echo Dickens, I guess these can be the best of times and the worst of times. I still remember when the song “Rosalia” (70's) was shunned and even banned from the airwaves of 2AP (Samoa’s then only radio station) because of its sexually suggestive lyrics. Today it is freely played and distributed. And though the song is definitely not on a par with the sex video, it certainly shows how times have changed. Samoa’s innocence has been on a diminishing path until the coinage broadband revives the feminine/sex connotation, and the godless is found on the wireless, the vile on the mobile, and hell on the cell...and thus Samoa’s eyes were finally opened. Literally and otherwise!

“We each begin in innocence. We all become guilty.” ~ Leonard F. Peltier

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