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Encourage, encourage, encourage children... don’t beat them

Op-Ed 2023-02-10, 8:35pm

Sir Frank Peters

Corporal punishment is a senseless evil act committed by senseless, evil, ignorant people bankrupt of humanitarian virtues and compassion

If you don’t heal the wounds of the past, you continue to bleed

 Sir Frank Peters

Atrocious! Awful! Abysmal! Appalling! Brutal! Cold-hearted! Cruel! Inhuman! Dreadful! Deplorable! Distressing! Disgusting! Ferocious! Frightful!  Ghastly! Gruesome! Ghastly! Grisly! Hideous! Horrendous! Horrific! Heartless! Inhumane! Inexcusable! Outrageous! Ruthless! Shocking! Sickening! Sinful! Scandalous! Terrible! Vicious! Vile! Upsetting! Wicked!

All of these ugly words (and more) have one thing in common – they’re regularly used worldwide to express the disgust, ignorance, and insanity of corporal punishment.

Often the abuse and torture of children is perpetrated surprisingly by ‘men and women of the cloth’, self-ordained representatives of their God and allegedly adhering to and practicing His teachings. They’re the worst of all. They argue (and believe), their deplorable inhumane actions are performing the work of God and in the best interests of the abused victims.


Total rubbish! There are approximately 4,200 religions in the world. Of those the five most predominant religions globally are Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, and Hinduism.

Not one... I repeat... not one... religion condones corporal punishment and I’m not just referring to those in the Top 5, but to the 4,155 other religions as well!

So where do people get these crazy ideas that corporal punishment is beneficial for children? Where is the proof? Some will retort they were given corporal punishment and it didn’t do them any harm, as they reach for their pick-me-up pills.

Child abuse

It would be crazy to think that a child from God – a child of God – would be sent by Him to be beaten, maimed, mentally and physically tortured, and damaged for life... if not killed by the hands of the abuser or even by their own hands in an attempt to escape the mental and physical torture and cruelty. Make no mistake, call corporal punishment by any name and it’s still child abuse.

In 2011 the Supreme Court of Bangladesh attempted to abolish corporal punishment from all settings, including schools, madrassas and homes. After thorough research and analyzing all the data before them, in a joint statement the noble judges Justice  Md. Imman Ali and Justice Md. Sheikh Hassan Arif declared corporal punishment to be: "cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and a clear violation of a child's fundamental right to life, liberty and freedom".

If they (the intellectuals that they are) hadn’t seen the horrific effects and damage corporal punishment was doing to the children of Bangladesh, I most probably would have been petitioning Prime Minster Sheikh Hasina to have their heads examined by the nation’s leading psychiatrists. And if the psychiatrists were unable to find any fault, I’d demand their heads to be examined!

It stands to commonsense, corporal punishment is inhumane and wrong... totally wrong. How could it be right for a human being to strike another human being? Especially an adult to strike a vulnerable child? It’s outrageously abominable and impossible to justify in any civilized society.

When an adult (Imam, ‘teacher,’ or parent) strikes a child they are spotlighting their own ignorance or evil. Unfortunately, it’s a painful and possibly life damaging experience for the victims. Corporal punishment is a senseless evil act committed by senseless, evil, ignorant people bankrupt of humanitarian virtues and compassion,

Gift from Allah

Momentarily (pause here) imagine a loving couple whose one ambition in life from childhood is to parent children, embrace them with love, and teach them what’s right from wrong and help them to achieve their full potential to serve God, the nation, and humanity at large.

They yearn and pray together, maybe even for years, for their wish to be granted by the Almighty. Then one day, by stork express courier, their wishes/prayers are answered, a delivery is made.

Some years later, they send their pride and joy, to a hell-hole school or madrassa where hatred, violence and cruelty of different degrees are played out in front to them as if they were watching a stage production of an evil drama and are punished in front of their peers for some silly inconsequential mistakes.

Their love of learning reduces dramatically. Their hate for school increases. They can’t wait to return to the safety of their loving home environment. The respect for those ‘teaching’ them is lost in a flash and most probably they wonder why their loving parents would subject them to such abject misery. Corporal punishment yields no benefits, only misery.

Children throughout Bangladesh would benefit more if they were encouraged to do better, rather than be ridiculed for their efforts, even if sub-standard. The greatest craving of mankind is to be appreciated. Those who show appreciation are rewarded beyond their wildest expectations and there’s an added golden bonus – the donors in turn are loved and appreciated.

In every child there are the makings of a saint. Imams, ‘teachers’ and parents should be encouraging and helping to foster this glorious manifestation and not hindering it through the evil of ignorance or their own limitations.

While they may not be satisfied with their own achievements in life that should not prevent them from encouraging those in their charge to perform even better. Kindness and compassion are virtues.

It is my hope our most honourable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will take the necessary steps to protect the children as they deserve and outlaw the scourge of corporal punishment, through an act of parliament, and add that to her commendable ever-growing golden achievements list.

For the Bangladesh to grow and prosper and fulfill Bangabandhu dream of a Sonar Bangla, there has be a national, decisive and collective effort to eradicate corporal punishment and not build it on the broken children.

If you don’t heal the wounds of the past, you continue to bleed.

(Sir Frank Peters is a former newspaper and magazine publisher and editor, an award-winning writer, royal goodwill ambassador, humanitarian, human rights activist Honorary Member of the Bangladesh Freedom Fighters and a foreign friend of Bangladesh. Three Bangladeshi boys have been named Frank Peters in his honour.)