Why we care about Bernie

2008-08-15 00:00

Bernie has become a symbol of hope for many people who have been united and touched by his plight.

The outrage at his torture evidenced on The Witness website and from letters and callers to The Witness and SPCA has been overwhelming. His rescuer, Thulani Bernard Khwela, was hailed as a hero for saing the life of the pup by alerting police to his plight. Bernie was named after him.

It mattered to readers that Bernie recovered. They followed his story, awaiting any good news on his healing and the outlook for his future.

Ishara Maharaj, a psychologist at the University of KZN, said the act of kindness extended toward the helpless puppy by a homeless man can only be described as selfless, and represents a gracious humanitarian connection with another life form.

“The most varied symbolic, especially ethical, and morality messages are personified in these random acts of kindness … ” she said.

Maharaj said that in this age, when society suffers psychological malaise from the scourge of violence and disharmony, these acts of kindness renew our hope in humanity and make us aware that we are connected to those around us.

“We realise that we are part of a human community in which giving and receiving kindness are vital to our health, harmony and hope.

“Our children deserve to learn and experience this life skill of kindness and this is the reason they cling to these symbols of hope.

“A recent survey which demonstrated the disillusionment of our youth in the future of this country represents the stark reality of the confusion and disarray that we present to them,” said Maharaj.

“We can restore in them the power and potential to make a difference in this world by the kindness we model to ourselves and all around us.

“The more they see of this, the more they will believe that they have the power to effect positive change,” she said.

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