Thu | Dec 8, 2016

Victimisation of the victims

Published:Tuesday | February 10, 2015 | 12:00 AM

As it resumed yesterday, and I watched, I must declare that I have little faith in this commission of enquiry. Little faith that it will amount to anything but a grossly expensive fact-finding mission. I propose that the same outcome could have been, and should have been, achieved by some good ol' investigative journalism.

What is the point of it? From what is being televised, it appears that all it's being set out is to do is further victimise the victims. It hurts to see lawyers using the language of the schooled to talk down to those they cross-examine.

It isn't right. The people of Tivoli have been through enough. If it isn't managed right, the commission will do more harm than good. A five-year-old wound isn't only being reopened, it is being agitated. And a festering wound hurts.

My beloved CARIMAC professor, Aggrey Brown, taught us that "communication is the transfer of meaning". In the exchange between two people, I think up what I want to express and relay it to you, and you receive the message as I had intended: communication.

Professor Brown went on to define anything that got in the way of that transfer of meaning as "noise". Watching the commission of enquiry into the atrocities of Tivoli in May 2010, the noise is deafening.

The enquiry shows what happens when education becomes noise. The commission also shines a bright light on the inequality of education afforded to the haves and the have-nots.

Gun battle

'There was an exchange of gunfire.' That is an educated expression. One witness took that to mean there was gunfire. Full stop. From the way she responded, she apparently did not understand the implication of the insertion of the word 'exchange' and that it meant soldiers were firing AND being fired upon.

There was the huge confusion between the words 'rebel' and 'rubble'. And painful to hear were the condescending quips and snickers when those who testify express themselves the best way they know how. In this phase two of the proceedings, I hope the lawyers make the conversation understandable to the people they are interviewing. This is necessary if real justice is to be served and if the real truth is to be revealed.

As an aside: Jamaican education needs serious healing.

There is the noise of mistrust. A serious level of mistrust is evident; mistrust of authority, of security forces, of medical personnel in one case, and certainly of lawyers. Beyond all the talk, there is glaring need for healing. And hope.

Watching the testimony last year and hearing a young girl say, "Dem a fire and shot a fire back because a war, Miss," for a moment, I thought I lived in war-torn Bosnia. It was also chilling to see just how knowledgeable this teenager was about guns.

We've already committed the money, so the hearing must go on. But let's stop with the semantics. Let's stop with the intellectual 'na-nani boo-boo' and not cause those who hurt unnecessary pain. And having spent this wack of money, let's hope we have something to show for it other than open wounds.

n Patria-Kaye Aarons is a television presenter and confectioner. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and findpatria@yahoo.com, or tweet @findpatria.