Yesterday, I had an unexpected but interesting interchange on Twitter with the Governor General’s office; I mention it because it’s on public record. We ended on the point that, through unity, we can make Jamaica better. I believe that, but it’s clearly a point of departure for many Jamaicans. Ironically, my school motto is Unitate Fortior, through unity strength or stronger by being united. Having come off the month-long cloud of hope that was the World Cup, many of us will have seen how a team, united, made better of all conditions, than all the skills, or guile, or meanness, offered by others. But, this is something that Jamaicans are not yet ready to hold onto.
But, Jamaica is not alone in that, and many nations are in a similar position. Just picking randomly from news I hear on the radio yesterday, I know that Iraq stands deeply divided. I am not going to scour the news to find more examples, I think the point in clear. For Jamaica, one only has to read the newspaper each day. It so happens that I have today’s Daily Observer in front of me (it’s just gone 5.30am). “Horrific killings” blurts the headline, as it mentions ‘missing children found dead in…pond’. That is the kind of disunity that strikes me. The savage destruction of our own people, for reasons too hard to fathom. I won’t go scouring the pages for more examples of that either, as I think the point there is clear.
Yesterday, I followed some comments about how teachers at a school fete were selling alcohol to students. Some people pondered what should happen to the teachers, whether they should be warned, fired, or some other action taken. I think my views are liberal. I think I know what is right and wrong, and when I read about adults entrusted with the care of children, who betray that for their own savage, or inconsiderate ends, the solution is clear. You bring the law down on their heads, and you remove them from those positions. We can argue about for how long, but it seems ridiculous that they continue to abrogate the roles given to them. I feel the same about teachers who were reported to be having sexual relations with students. Their roles are be both educators and protectors, in the absence of parents and caregivers. Now, we may argue, hypothetically, about whether the parents would do the same or worse, but that is an empty discussion.
So, for me, the disunity that Jamaicans have to solve before dealing with any of the added divisions that are created because people have different political views or can be made to prefer one side over another, even through the offering of gifts and money, that which pits us against each other and destroys each other’s lives.
I could write all day about the topic, but I will leave that pleasure to a day when I have nothing else to do. A country that has people who wantonly takes children’s lives is divided in the sickest of manners.
I do not want to hear sanctimonious talk from any person who claims to be a religious leader, or a political leader, or community leader, or union leader, about any topic until and unless I hear them say that they will do something about those who want to take children’s lives. Yes, they are our future, and they are our most vulnerable. Hate gay people all you want: the 1-2 percent of the population against which people want to rail do not frighten me in nay way at all, and are not worth any of my energy. Hate foreign investors, in like fashion. Hate the IMF. Hate the JLP or PNP. Pick anyone, and then see if you have touched someone who is likely to walk off with your child and then dump them, bound and gagged, in some waste ground.
I really don’t want to hear it!
Jamaicans are very good at looking for scape goats, and yet when faced with someone who is a clear wrong doer, squirm like worms to find a way to let the person have another chance. Forgiveness is all well and good, but somewhere along the line you have to deal with wrongs, rather than just keep saying “It’s fine,” or “Next time, we’ll really deal with this.”