• 2000-10-19
When the infamous pedophilia scandal broke in Latvia a year ago, after freakish news on abused children and an alleged child trafficking network to Western customers were shown on TV one time, the bait was thrown to a naive audience. Two pedophiles in the government!! Who??!! The whole country was occupied for half a year guessing who it could be. And, after the alleged names were announced, the pros and cons were weighed during the evening news shows - does this and that guy really look like a pedophile or not.

And, during these senseless talks, the real message was thrown away. Small, suffering, tortured children. A part of us. A part of our society.

Surprisingly enough, the same scenario repeated recently elsewhere in Europe. During an evening news show in Italy, the frames from hardcore child porn were broadcast to illustrate the police revelation of a pedophile ring in that child-loving country. And the discussion went on - how could the editors dare show this. They must have lost their heads. Again, the message was distorted. And the message was the same: how could something like this ever happen?

Latvia has already been given many different labels by the rest of the world. For the Holocaust and anti-Semitism, for oppressing Russian speakers, for being a post-Soviet republic, etc. Why add another one to this list - for being a "gold mine" country for pedophiles, both Western and domestic? It is the last time for the society - starting from ministers and policemen to the neighbors of the victims - to sense the seriousness of this problem and start to interfere; to stop ignorance and nonchalance.

After the 'sexual revolution' in the Baltics 10 years ago, the attitude of 'there is no sex in the Soviet Union' changed overnight and dozens of porn and sex magazines sprung up like mushrooms, taking front windows of the newsstands. Now the three Baltic states must face the hard task of asessing the consequences. With the liberation of peoples minds, the atrocities have reared their heads as well. The hardest thing to get over is that pedophiles exist even at very highest levels of society. And, the higher they are, the harder it is to get them.

However, there are other countries, which have faced the same problems before and therefore could serve as examples. Sweden and Denmark with their pedophiles registers or the United States with its society's hyperactivity on reporting different issues are among them. And no special institution - a universal cure for every problem in Latvia - is needed to change these attitudes. It hopefully would be enough with a simple media campaign. A total and continuous attack.