A few months ago, I had an interesting experience.
In my the small village I happen to go to every week, a big event was happening : the children’s carnival. That day, the kids went on a parade across town, had lots of fun, smiled the whole time and jumped around. It was good. It was what I call a good tradition.
At the end of the day though, something happened, something I found way less fun. They gathered everyone at the square, from 3 year-old kids to grown adults. Then, they showed us Mr Carnival, a tall clumsy fellow made of paper and wood. And they basically explained us how this Mr was the cause to all of our problems, the inconvenient lad who made the winter cold and the crops bad. They told us that in order to make our issues disappear, we should burn him. That that was the only way to set ourselves free from this awful character responsible for all of our misery.
They did burn him. In a few seconds, Mr Carnival was gone. He became a pile of ashes, just like that. A character which was humanized was burned alive to save us from our despair, under fervent applauses, with no trial whatsoever. Just because some guy came up and said we should put an end to him to purge society.
My point is : that is not a good tradition. I felt terribly bad that day, for we had just told all those kids that it is okay for a mass of people to sentence someone to death in order « to save us all ».
Things like that shouldn’t be happening still. Our traditions should not include teaching children and comforting people into the belief that it is okay to have scapegoats. That some people are just weird and that the world would be a better place without them. Do I really need to make myself more explicit about what happens when societies designate scapegoats and hunt them down ? Witch hunts happen. Genocides happen. Bullying happens.
Please, it’s time to choose another path. A path where we think about what examples we are setting. A path where we pick the good traditions, and let go of the others. A path where we teach children to be kind – with no exceptions. Humans of tomorrow should want to keep Mr Carnival alive.