Of what use is outrage?
We have always been a wicked and vile people. That's a fact. And I can already hear the protest to this statement. But pause, you rebutters. Take a deep breath. Follow me now.
It was a considered act of wickedness and vileness that dragged us across thousands of miles of open seas from our homes in Africa to this land subsequent generations have grudgingly accepted as home. Wickedness is in the blood of current generations, where it was in the consciousness of our foreparents based on their torrid experience. I am not saying that Jamaican people are 'viler' or 'wickeder' than people anywhere else. All I'm doing is acknowledging the truth of how the outrage against such a reality lacks the support from critical mass that will enable it to reflect a change in the conscience of the nation.
I have seen things in these past few years in this country that threaten to leave my frame of mind broken. Pregnant teenager strangled by her adult male lover with his bare hands in Westmoreland. Then the killer got a brain wave and decided to dismember the body, stash it inside a garbage bag, and hide the evidence.
Pregnant teenager almost disembowelled in St Thomas, her body mangled and discarded like what a lion would do to the carcass of a gazelle. Eight-year-old girl attacked on her way to a shop in St Thomas by a man who removes her blouse, ties her hands behind her back, then slashes her throat three times.
Three weeks ago, I was confronted by a picture of a woman who died from a vengeful attack by the man she lived with. The small-framed woman was beaten and doused with acid. The sadistic brute also used an instrument of some kind to maim the seat of the woman's privacy. Apparently, this wretch was teaching the woman a fatal lesson after she apparently gave him 'bun'. In his thinking, how the hell could she give away his 'tings'?
The one that refuses to leave me is that video, yes, video, of the 12-year-old boy from that school in Barrett Town, St James, who lay on the ground bleeding from a stab wound inflicted by a classmate. The man who shot the video made absolutely no attempt to use the damn phone to do anything but record the boy, bleeding out on the concrete. He even got a brain wave to provide some commentary in a calm, unconcerned voice, as he moved around to get various angles for his video shoot.
NO HUMANITY, CONSCIENCE
Not once did he sound like someone who was touched in any way by the sight of a boy, clad in his khaki suit, lying dead or dying inside a place where he would expect to be safe from the knife that curtailed his young life. That kind of behaviour, which is quite common among us as a people, is another manifestation of the vileness and wickedness in this country.
The lazy among us, who find it bothersome to engage their brains, are prone to asking, what good is outrage? I am tempted sometimes, after I swallow the invective containing the various kinds of fabric that I want to tell them about, to ask them to read about the life and works of people like Paul Bogle and the truly great Sam Sharpe and then ask the question again about the utility of outrage. It was outrage against the status quo of the day that spurred both those men, even when they knew that the wages of their endeavour would probably be death, to agitate for the simple changes which have since facilitated the advancement of the Jamaican people in particular, and black people in general.
So I call on Jamaicans to be outraged. Let that outrage move you to join a community or national organisation working for change. Let it drive you to be a social interventionist. Let it drive you to be a peacemaker. Let it drive you to deny safe haven to any family member who runs afoul of the law.
Let that outrage push you to reclaim that bit of humanity which we have clearly lost as a nation.