Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Of innocence, ignorance and downright cruelty

When I was about 7 years old I stole a ruler from the kid sitting next to me. I was caught, punished (something that included my rear end coming into contact with a training shoe held in the hand of a teacher who broke a sweat when he executed such a sentence - frequently), and sent to the deputy headmaster. When he asked me what had happened, my immediate response was, "I didn't do anything, it wasn't me!". I found that my discovery of the great defence tactic, deny deny deny, was brilliant! He could do nothing to me as long as it held water, and when I was asked how it could be that I was innocent, when the teacher clearly reported that Jonathan Cline had been caught taking a ruler, I blurted out that there were four boys of that name, all in my class. I knew it was a lie, he knew it was a lie, we both knew the truth would very soon come out, but for the moment we had reached a point at which it was pointless to carry on. I went home that night with a feeling that I might actually get away with it, but it was not very likely. The next day the deputy head walked into my classroom and asked for the four Jonathan Clines to stand up, needless to say that the story ends with the one JC who did stand up receiving yet another round of buttock percussion (those turncoats, the other 3).

I was wrong, and I got what I deserved.

I was 7!

A couple of weeks ago an organization that I once managed submitted a request to the courts for protection from debtors, to enable them to carry out a high profile, high cost event. Let's put to one side for the moment who, what, when, where and how, for I am sure I will be writing about that soon enough, and suffice it to say that I understand the request even though the circumstances lead me to hope that the request denied by the judge. Why is this relevant?

The relevance of this issue to the story preceeding it above is similar to the relevance of the content of the request statement to the purpose of the request itself.

In the statement given by the current chairperson of the organization in question, that was subsequently paraphrased as the request submitted to the courts, approximately half of the narrative is dedicated to a David-Irving-style rewriting of my time at the organization. Despite facts shown in financial papers handed in as appendices to the same request I am charged with single-handedly causing the current financial situation of the organization; despite the fact that every check was countersigned I am accused of acting unilatterally; indeed in spite of the fact that constitutionally all financial matters are the non-transferrable responsibility of the chairperson, I, the former Executive Director, am accused of having mismanaged the financial dealings of the organization. So far from the truth are the enclosed allegations that the former chairperson of the organization herself was removed from office for her responsibility for the very issues here thrown on my shoulders.

The irony, one of the many, is that the current chair, despite heroic claims for having taken action to right wrongs, had absolutely nothing to do with my time on the neighbouring seat. The sad fact of the matter is that a politically motivated, and premeditated, aktion by the new members of the executive body, to replace officers of the organization with those more to their likeing, left the organization and its day-old (newly- and maybe surprisingly- elected) chairperson at a critical turning-point. The day after a major conference there is an immediate need to collect fees and call in pledges of financial support, and to build on the recent success (and it was an astounding success) to bring in partners for the activities of the coming programming season. Instead the organization was left, thanks to the refusal of the executive body to accept offers of a smooth transition, without knowledge regarding from whom to claim their dues and who to invite to join them. Energies were dedicated to politics, and the after-effects of this negligence have already had serious repercussions.

The smart thing to have done, accepting the right of the young executive body to make their own mistakes, would have been to lower one's profile and to make nice with whoever necessary in order to achieve a possible win-win situation. The smart thing to do would have been to put one's own politician's pride aside and to apportion responsibility for decisions made and actions taken according to the protocols at-hand.

In light of the things I have learned, experience and common sense, I would question how smart it was to have declared myself (as written in prayer) "judge and prosecutor, knowing motives, giving evidence, writing, sealing, counting, measuring, remembering all, even things we have forgotten". I would think twice before making declarations contrary to the constitution of the organization I claim to represent. I would think twice before making declarations contrary to the decisions made unanimously by the executive body of the organization I claim to represent.

I would think twice, and then once again, before I stood up in court and told an untruth.

If we are already talking about truth, although the executive body did discuss submitting a request, why have none of them seen the request submitted in their name? Why are none of them aware of any of the rumours being spread in their name regarding future actions to be taken against me? Why need I receive apologies, direct and implied, from them for any damage caused to me and my reputation whilst their employee is speaking in their name about events that preceeded her?

Is she innocent, acting out of sheer inability to comprehend the reality surrounding her? Is she ignorant, having read neither the constitution of the organization she ran an election campaign to represent, nor the minutes of executive discussions and decisions from the year immediately preceeding her election? Or does she know the truth and choose to act otherwise?

At this point I would like to point out that "Thou shalt not bear false witness" is actually the ninth commandment. It is wrong. It is evil. It is punishable!

The current chairperson of the organization is 26

I learned my lesson 26 years ago; she has yet to learn.

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