Saturday, April 16, 2016 9:30 am
What is in a name? In different cultures, names are given for many reasons. For example, Yoruba people would call a child Ikumapayi (death, don’t snatch this) or Kokumo (this has come to stay). These are reserved for Abiku kids (or according to myth, trans migratory children). However, it was rampant during the prevalence of sickle cells anaemia. In the South South, it is common to hear people bearing Independence, Sergeant, House of Assembly! These depend on what happened at the time of birth.
However, an attempt by a woman to call her baby daughter, ‘Cyanide’ has been stopped by a court. According to a story by Telegraph.co.uk, the woman preferred the name because Cyanide was the poison that Adolf Hitler was said to have taken to kill himself.
It was however, not all about goose-pimples-causing name. The mother, as Telegraph puts it, also chose the name Preacher for the girl’s twin brother. She insisted that she had a human right to name her own children.
Cyanide, she said, was a “lovely, pretty name” and had positive connotations as “the poison that ended the lives of both Adolf Hitler, the Nazi leader, and Joseph Goebbels, his minister of propaganda.”
But, in the first case of its kind, Appeal Court judges ruled that it was an “extreme” case and that the mother’s “unusual” choices might harm her children. “This is one of those rare cases where the court should intervene to protect the girl twin from emotional harm,” said Lady Justice King
The mother, as the report indicated, has a “chaotic history” of mental illness, drug and alcohol abuse and relationships with abusive men, said Lady Justice King. The twins were said to have been “conceived as a result of rape” and they, as well as the mother’s three older children, had all been taken from her care.
The twins, who are eight months old, and two of their half-siblings are now living with foster parents.
The report has it further: “When Powys County Council social workers learnt of the names the mother had chosen for the twins, they took the case to court in an unprecedented step. And, in June last year, a judge issued an injunction against the mother, forbidding her from formally registering the twins’ unorthodox forenames. Her lawyers appealed, insisting that the refusal to let her name her own children violated her right to respect for family life.
“But Lady Justice King, sitting with Lady Justice Gloster and Lord Justice David Richards, said that naming a little girl after a ‘notorious poison’ was simply unacceptable.
The judge said that, “even allowing for changes in taste, fashion and developing individual perception”, Cyanide was a “very odd name” to give to a baby girl.
The mother said Preacher was a “rather cool name”, which sent a “strong spiritual” message and that would “stand my son well for the future”.
Cyanide, she said, was linked to flowers and plants and was “responsible for killing Hitler and Goebbels and I consider that this was a good thing”.
Due to the impasse, it had been impossible to formally name the twins, so their foster parents fell back on calling them other names or just by “terms of endearment”. Lady Justice King said the courts would intervene to prevent a parent naming a child “in only the most extreme cases”.
But she ruled: “This is one of those rare cases where the court should intervene to protect the girl twin from emotional harm that I am satisfied she would suffer if called ‘Cyanide’”.
While growing up, the girl would “have to come to terms with the fact” that her mother had tried to “name her after a notorious poison”.
Preacher, although “unusual”, was not as bad as Cyanide, the judge said, but ruled it was in both twins’ interests that names should be chosen by their half-siblings.
It is widely believed that Hitler shot himself in his bunker, a fact disputed by some historians who claim he and his mistress Eva Braun died after ingesting cyanide on April 30, 1945.