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Amelia Roosevelt


The Brawl

Posted On:09-May-2021/7:40 pm

Rain, rain, rain! You cannot see a thing but the rain.

This is our rainy season.

South-Western monsoons bring thundershowers all across the island. Don't go out. Even a large umbrella is not good enough to cover you. Though year around drizzles is frequent in the Mediterranean region, tropical countries have their pouring monsoons to match the hot dry seasons.  

This is the season I come from the office, my saree soaked to the bone. This is the season I love to walk across that shallow bridge that overflow within minutes whirling around my feet.  This is the season that small open drain cause mini floods over the front lawn and break out mini brawls between neighbours.

The little drain goes around the upper lands collecting excess rainwater. Then takes its route across the lower lands to meet the urban drainage system. Just like a nosy busybody, it picks up all the litter from the upper landers down to the lower lands. By the time it reaches our land, it is quite full of discarded plastics, debris, coconuts and decaying leaves piled up throughout the dry season.

When all those get crowded they block the waterway. Gardens, front yards and home drainages of the lower lands start to overflow.

This is the time brawls start. In the pouring rain, one comes out to unclog the outflow mouth of the drain. He pushes the clogged dirt to the next land. The moment the second landowner finds this the exchange of words start. The first one argues the dirt should flow down the drain as it came to his land from the above. Lower landowner disputes. He has cleaned the drain before the rain so it is unfair to throw the dirt to his land. Then the whole families come. Neighbours become foes. This is an endless event that breaks out with each monsoon.

It is a sore moment for me.

How can such a dispute be resolved?

In Law, there are two contradictory concepts identified in such a situation; “Common enemy”, and “Civil Law”.

Common enemy concept: Excessive water caused by rain, is a common enemy. It damages property at random. Upper landowners have to get rid of excessive water. Water, the natural substance flows downhill. The lower landowner expected to protect himself from the downflow.

Civil Law: A person cannot alter the natural flow of water to the detriment of the adjacent land, to harm the use or enjoyment of that property. Upper landowners are liable for any water damages caused by careless or detrimental disposal of excess rainwater.

Thus the common enemy concept requires landowners to fend for themselves, while civil Law makes people liable for harmful changes to waterways depriving others of their rights.

For me, it is common sense. We should not disturb our neighbour. It is better to clean our land and such waterways running through it in time. We should not throw garbage into drainages.

Most of all we should not fight over natural occurrences. We are humans, know what is right and wrong, and trained to behave in a group. So, why fight over compromisable matters.

Big problems diminish with tiny actions.


1 : When there is a right, there is a duty

2 : Serious quarrels have simple solutions

3 : Rights and duties tell us what is right and wrong

Category:  Social Responsibility / Subcategory:  Rights and duties of neighbours

Tags: neighbor, community responsibilities, right and wrong, peace, compromise, civil law, rain water disposal

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Amie Warwick


Amelia, this stuff is interesting. I always wondered what it would be like to live in a place with monsoons. My friend has a friend who lives somewhere in India and I hear that when the monsoon comes it washes away nearly everything. He has no power or internet. I cannot imagine. I did not imagine that rain would cause neighbours to fight.

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Lisa Steffler


Acts of God cannot be blamed on anyone, but there is also something called common decency. Common decency--common sense--knowing right from wrong--our duty to our fellow man-----we were all taught this, we just have to want to work together. Just like you said--there are always simple solutions. Thank you.

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Adaego M. Azi


Amelia, we get monsoons in Nigeria, but I am guessing not as bad as you do. But I still see fights between neighbors. I think you are right--whether it is during the rainy season or not, serious quarrels have simple solutions. I think sometimes neighbors fight because they like fighting--they are not even trying to find a solution. I like that you call it the brawl. Thank you, Amelia.