‘The Silence of the Lambs’ is an American psychological thriller released in 1991, which not only went on to become a big grosser at the box-office, but also swept the big five Academy awards, and is still considered as the most influential film of all times. The story of an FBI trainee Clarice Starling sent to interview a jailed serial killer Hannibal Lecter in the hope that his insight could help them nail another serial killer Buffalo Bill on the loose. During the interview Lecter decides he will cooperate, only if Clarice is willing to share her personal story.
One personal story Clarice decides to share with Lecter, is when she is young and sent to stay at the relatives, she hears the screaming of the lambs that are lined up for slaughter. She does try to save one lamb and runs away with it, but does not succeed. She admits as a grownup she keeps getting these nightmares that usually consist of the weeping cries of these lambs.
Lambs know no language that humans could possibly understand easily and yet just before they get slaughtered their cries do make an impact on young Clarice even after she turns into an adult. This is the power of communication even if they were meant to be just cries for nobody to hear in particular, it did alter the mindset of Clarice. Imagine the lambs silently allowed them to be slaughtered; no Clarice would be able feel the pain of the lambs.
Has it occurred to us that Goans for decades have been wrestling with the same issues it faced decades ago, not to mention that we have added some more complex issues to it. It will be incorrect to assume that we have not made any headway, but to say everything in Goa is hunky dory would be a lie. Issues not getting resolved for good, has something to do with the silence of majority Goans. It cannot be that a handful of Goans take the responsibility in exposing the wrongdoings relentlessly and the rest remain silent spectators. It also sends a wrong signal to the crooks that only few Goans understand their crooked ways and the rest can be taken for a ride.
Corruption for example, is the major issue Goa faces and yet there has been hardly any material progress on this matter. This has become possible because majority of the Goans have chosen the path of silence, giving the impression that they really don’t mind corruption. Even Party A (AAP) that was supposed to be the watchdog for everything corrupt, have diluted their stance and are now positioning themselves as a party that don’t mind sharing the stage with the corrupt or engage themselves with photo ops. Corruption is not some issue that you pull out from the closet once elections come closer; it’s a day-in day-out relentless effort that needs constant scrutiny. Not an easy task, but once you head a party locally or nationally and whose basic premise was to eliminate corruption then you better be truthful towards it.
Party A’s silence on corruption has its own consequences and the price every citizen will have to pay, because someone fake is going to take their place. So now Papu’s party, that has the dubious distinction of creating the maximum number of ‘Corrupt Charlies’, sensing a vacuum in the corruption space has taken the mantle to expose corruption in the government. However, Papu’s effort does not look genuine because he has not made any effort to expose the corrupt that have regularly used his party to amass corrupt wealth beyond everybody’s wildest imagination.
If there is a will, it is not so difficult to nail the corrupt in Goa, but the issue of corruption is like the never ending soap opera for opposition parties aspiring to form the government, so that they get an opportunity to continue the bad work the present government is engaged in. A lasting solution on corruption is still far away because of the majority population’s inability to speak out against corruption. Our silence allows them to legitimize their crooked wealth either by laundering or by converting it into legitimate businesses, thereby rendering a financial and moral blow to those Goans that have decided to remain honest.
Recently the Income Tax department; probably under pressure to collect more revenues have gone after startup’s by introducing the angel tax. How are the Generation Next supposed to keep their mind free for innovation, if they are going to be regularly harassed by the Income tax officials. On the other hand there is no absolutely no scrutiny on crooks, laundering wealth all over the world. By now the Income Tax department should have devised an easy to tip method with substantial reward for example Goans with Portuguese passports or Non-Residents to expose those that might be laundering wealth, of crooked politicians they probably know off, in the countries they reside. Yes jurisdiction in other countries will be a nightmare, but by totally ignoring this aspect we are signaling the citizens that it’s ok to deal with the crooks and their crooked wealth. A considerable reward system might force many Goans to break their silence.
It is Christmas season and surely we have had our share of pork, meaning that many pigs been slaughtered for all those delicacies. If we paid attention, there is a chance we might have also heard these pigs screaming before they get slaughtered. Lambs are not that many in Goa, but pigs are, if we have noticed their cries it means they have successfully communicated as a last ditch effort to save themselves. In comparison our silence as humans not only shows us in poor light but effectively eliminates that window of opportunity to eliminate the corrupt or find a lasting solution on corruption.
(Plastino D’Costa is a business consultant)