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Just Be Kind: Reflections on Jacintha Saldanha’s Death

Written by Zoe Weil | 1 Comment | Published on December 10, 2012 | Filed under Humane Connection
The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Humane Education website at http://humaneeducation.org/blog/2012/12/10/just-be-kind-reflections-on-jacintha-saldanhas-death/

As most people now know, last week two Australian DJs impersonated Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles and called the hospital where Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, was being treated for acute morning sickness. They fooled Jacintha Saldanha, the nurse who answered the phone and transferred the call, enabling the impersonators to tape, for all the world to hear, personal medical information about the Duchess. A couple of days later Jacintha committed suicide.

Obviously, the DJs are not responsible for Jacintha’s death, but their prank raises an important question: can’t we just be kind?  We live in a world in which meanness, deception, and harrassment is well-compensated. The DJs bragged about their success. Until Jacintha’s death, they seemed both thrilled and smug. No longer.

Before we do anything to anyone, it would help to remember these words: “Be kind, for everyone is fighting a great battle.” Would the DJs have made their prank call had they held this sentiment close to their hearts? Would Jacintha be dead and her two teenage children left without their mother? We’ll never know, but the lesson in this is still there for each of us to heed.

Just be kind.

Zoe

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About Zoe Weil

Zoe is the co-founder and president of the Institute for Humane Education She's the author of several books, including Most Good, Least Harm; Above All, Be Kind; and The Power and Promise of Humane Education. See her TEDx talk, "The World Becomes What You Teach": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5HEV96dIuY

Contact Zoe View all articles by Zoe Weil

1 Comment

Fit81 says:

When our powers for disseminating information, reaching many, explodes like it has in recent years, with it comes great personal responsibility You see the struggle everywhere among teens, leaders, families and media. We’ve much to learn in this big word playground and some of us will learn the hard way. I have a friend who schooled me in the idea of great teachable moments. I believe these events, with the eyes of the world watching, have inestimable value for good. Jacintha Saldanha won’t be forgotten. Her sacrifice is a lesson. Society will determine the take away on this over time, and I have faith it will serve to inform the masses as to certain boundaries. Saldanha’s death is a tragic loss. So was Princess Diana’s at the hands of media. When will we avert our gaze and give folks the dignity we all want and deserve. Try not to lap up the gossip like it were mother’s milk maybe and those that profit from exploitation will no more.