Two radio DJs in Australia thought they were doing a harmless prank but could actually put their whole radio station in jeopardy, after triggering the death of a nurse involved. On one hand, one feels no sympathy for them because they were really rather selfish in that action. They were just doing it for their own glory and gain, without noting any consequences that might emerge from it.
However, only a heartless person could not feel something for them today as they cope with the meltdown around the world, especially from British people. It is reported that Mel Creig, the female DJ, is in hiding and near to a nervous breakdown, and both of them are under intensive counselling. However, I don’t think Brits are angry about this prank just because a nurse died, which was bad enough, but it was the timing of that death: at Christmas, which is the most emotional time for families here. Jacintha Saldanha’s two children are left without a mother at this crucial family time. It means Christmas will always be painful for them too instead of a time of joy.
Then there is the British public. What they are truly angry about is that, with her death, our mood has changed dramatically. From being a fuzzy feel-good one, in anticipation of the heir to the throne, the one thing everyone wanted to celebrate and to share, we now have a dark foreboding as the death of the nurse stuns the nation and hangs over us like a dark cloud, and we seek scapegoats for spoiling that great moment. This mode might be only temporary, but we feel robbed of a joyous moment because of two heartless people, who are not even in Britain, but halfway across the world!
No one can blame them personally for what someone wishes to do with herself, but the mere fact that she was getting on with her life quite happily for 46 years, and her job for the past four years, suggests that this lady was just an ordinary working mum who really didn’t deserve to be caught up in other people’s callous idea of ‘fun’ and ‘humour’. I think the true force of the tragedy struck home when her photograph was released. She was no longer an invisible person, or just a name, she was real. As the Sun newspaper said, hear death was "heartbreaking and bewildering", and a "needless tragedy".
"No doubt she was distraught at unwittingly embarrassing the royals and her employers," its editorial said.
"We can only guess at the inner torment of Jacintha, who after years of loyal professionalism suddenly found herself in trouble for something that was not her fault."
Furthermore, advertisers have started pulling their adverts from the Australian station in large numbers, so managers have had to suspend all ads to avoid the drain. That could eventually kill that station too, depending on how long such a boycott lasts, because very few advertisers now want to associate with such a caustic brand.
But most important and unexpected, is the awful emotional pall settling over Britain. It almost feels bad to celebrate the Duchess’ pregnancy, yet she didn’t ask for that either. She just wanted to feel better, which is why she was in hospital.
And that is the greatest ramification of a so called ‘prank’: Will this new baby ever be free of the taint of a woman’s death at Christmas in relation to it? As the fallout from Jacintha Saldanha takes effect, it is a truly sombre time to be a Brit - and even an Australian, for that matter.
As The Australian newspaper noted:
The widespread shock at Ms Saldanha's death was in a sharp contrast to the excitement that greeted Monday's announcement of Kate's first pregnancy.
Indeed. It's like being caught in a bewildering maze and not being sure of a way out.