08 August 2016

Death by sugar: nothing sweet about it

Invisible.  It's a word I first encountered in an Enid Blyton book.  One of the 'Five Find-outers' if I remember right.  At the time I didn't know what 'visible' meant.  In fact I think I encountered 'visible' much later.  Back then, aged 10 or maybe less, I saw what could be seen.  I might have read a little into what was said and 'heard' something of what was left unsaid; I might have also read a few signs, associating, for example, nightfall with dinner and sleep.  Rudimentary stuff.  But 'invisible' amazed me, that I do remember.  

It was about invisible ink.  Lemon juice inserted into a fountain pen instead of ink.  Write something that cannot be seen, run an iron over it after it's dry and the words appear.  Magical.  

As time went on I not only heard the word 'visible' but realized that is was a metaphor for a lot of things.  I learned that there are things that are not visible and more importantly that things could be made invisible.  It took a while to understand that one of the easiest methods of rendering things invisible was to paint them over.  Sugar-coat if you will.  

But I never thought that sugar could be used to make visible that had been made invisible.  This I found out last Saturday at the 'Good Market'.  

There's nothing positive about a crime scene.  It's bad.  Bad news.  And it's totally at odds at a place that has a name such as 'Good Market'.  This crime scene, however, was sugar-coated but in a way that stripped a lot of illusions.  Made things visible, so to speak.  Yes, it was 'sugar-coated'.  Literally.  

Who died here?  Who was the killer?  Did the killer get away? Who is conducting the investigation?  These are common questions that come to mind when we see pictures like this.  

Here's the dope, as they say:

One word.  Sugar.  That's a killer.  It debilitates, maims and kills.  Sweetly.  

What's interesting in this 'crime scene' is that there's no body.  The truth is that most bodies (probably yours and certainly mine) are, as I write and as you will read, being carved up by this killed. We are framed (just like in the picture) because we are complicit in this murder.  

This 'outline' tellingly was not chalk-on-pavement.  It was sugar.  White stuff.  'Pure,' did someone say?  'Sweet!'  Of course.  A killer?  Well, it's like a detective novel where the murderer turns out to be the least likely of all the suspects, a person beyond suspicion, a saint more often than not.  But that, interestingly, is what makes murder possible and what gives murderer the opportunity.  In other words the disarming nature of the killer, the beyond-suspicion persona.  

That's sugar, folks.

It's a killer, folks.  

We've invited the killer into our hearts and homes.  In fact we've paid someone to bring a killer home.  And it's such a fantastic disguise that we just cannot see murderer, murder intent and murder weapon.  We've issued, in our ignorance, a notice.  It reads, 'Come, kill me, kill my loved ones'.  

There was a 'crime scene' at the 'Good Market'.  It reminded us that our homes are actually scenes of crimes that we, more than anyone else, have sanctioned.  Except that here, we are both facilitating the killer and we are offering ourselves as victims.  It's so simple, this execution, that it is invisible.  We keep washing off the evidence.  Indeed, we lick it off and even say 'delicious'.  

Diabetes.  That's what this is all about.  The Diabetes Association of Sri Lanka, which conducted this awareness campaign, both at the 'Good Market' and at the 'Arcade' (I learned later) offers some disturbing facts. 

Close to 400 million people are affected by diabetes and it is predicted that if current trends are not arrested 10% of the world's population will be diabetic by the year 2035.  Almost half the people with diabetes live and die undiagnosed, it is estimated.  See how effectively the killer is disguised?  

Deaths: Over 5 million people died due to diabetes in 2013.  In other words, every six seconds a person dies from diabetes.  Diabetes causes over 1 million amputations each year.  That's about 1 amputation every 30 seconds.  

What this means is that there's a good chance that either you or someone close to you would be hit by the disease.  Soon.  Death by sugar.  Amusing word play but it's no laughing matter if you have to get your leg amputated. 


Sugar.  A killer.  And it's legal.  Those who sell it and those who buy it have the license to kill.  And to commit suicide.  And it's invisible.  So invisible that we see it all the time.  Stir it into our drinks and feel good about it. 

There was a crime scene at the 'Good Market'.  There was one at 'The Arcade' too. They reminded us that we are all criminals or accessories after the fact of murder.  Willing victims.  Willing approvers of maiming and murder.  Nothing illegal about it.  Amputation can result though. Death can result though.  Death by sugar.  Nothing sweet about it.