YOU may have thought that you had seen it all when cross-border transporters reportedly stuffed groceries in coffins as they transported bodies back home for burial. That is the level of disrespect for the dead and a lack of concern for the living in these times of coronavirus, where people could easily get infected through these practices.
We have also carried stories of hanky panky in our graveyards that some unscrupulous partners have turned into their love nests. It would appear it never rains, and that there is no peace in that space, forget the inscription on almost every grave stone.
We report elsewhere in this edition that thieves have laid siege on Athlone Cemetery, making off with valuables from mourners. It would appear, mourners do not only have to worry about their loved ones’ coffins being stolen, or even their tombstones, or grave number plaques, but now cannot even mourn and bury their relatives in peace as there is the added risk of thieves pouncing as mourners focus on the burials.
Shocking as it sounds, we live in an age where our morals have been seriously compromised, people steal shoes by the church doors, tamper with the dead, steal from them and they have no shame inflicting more pain on you as you bury your loved one. We believe that this is a worrying development and that the council cannot rid our cemeteries of such without our assistance.
On its part, we believe that the council can put warnings by the cemeteries’ parking spaces, and alert mourners that there are thieves on the prowl so that they can devise their own security measures without assuming that morality only would hold back anyone of ill-intent.
To the mourners, just as there are people that remain at home and prepare food for the ones that have gone to bury, there should be a team whose task would be to look after vehicles. This, we know, would have been unthinkable in the past, but clearly our moral compass has gone way off and there is a serious need to safeguard people’s belongings so that they can give their loved ones befitting send-offs, in peace.
Our plea to our courts is that those caught stealing at cemeteries, or tampering with installations there should be punished heavily to send a strong message that society frowns upon such abominations.