Tue | Aug 22, 2017

Devon Dick | Cut US Embassy some slack

Published:Thursday | June 23, 2016 | 6:00 AM

It is reported that our attorney general (AG), in reacting to a rainbow flag being flown at half mast in solidarity with the worst mass killing in United States (US) history, said the Americans were disrespectful to Jamaican laws. Apparently, this is deduced because the rainbow flag is primarily associated with the LGBTIQ movement. However, with 50 lives being senselessly and brutally snuffed out in this horrific tragedy, the AG should cut the US Embassy some slack. Even if what she said was true, allowance can be given that is not normally allowed, and not treat the Americans as harshly as deserved.

The death of a loved one is one of the most stressful happenings in life. Then when death is sudden and tragic the stress is taken to another sphere. Loved ones react in shock, denial and irrational behaviour. Sometimes people will even litter a place in paying homage to the dead. It might be against the litter law but grieving people are cut some slack to put flowers, card and other memorabilia on a sidewalk.

Therefore, our AG comes across as insensitive and uncaring in the face of the US calamity. Furthermore, the AG could be accused of being hypocritical in raising alarm about the rainbow flag being disrespectful to Jamaican laws and she never publicly, to the best of my knowledge, utter a word about the illegal activity of Jamaica Labour Party and People's National Party political flags being flown in public spaces even after the recent general election.

Even if the US Embassy did not fly the Christian flag after last year's killings of nine at Charleston AME Church, South Carolina, and even if the Columbine High School flag was not flown after the mass killings in 1999, the AG should cut the US Embassy some slack.

And worse, many bright legal minds claim that no law was 'disrespected' by the Americans. However, we must cut the AG some slack and believe she knows basic Jamaican laws and allow her time to defend her statement in Parliament.

However, it is not only the AG who has been insensitive but also the church umbrella group. The group, in a press release, expressed sadness on the deaths and then went on to talk about gun control and guns coming into Jamaica from the US. That was not the right time to mention gun control.

 

SO INSENSITIVE

 

Equally insensitive was CNN reporter Anderson Cooper, who interviewed Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, outside the hospital, about her previous stance against gay marriage and how she is being so helpful in this tragedy. Anderson saw potential hypocrisy. We see insensitivity. The day after the tragedy, in front of the hospital is not the time or place for such questions. Perhaps next week, but cut her some slack.

Last Monday, in speaking at the nine night for the late Glenroy Sinclair and Gary Spaulding, I made the observation that too many persons are using the Orlando killings for their personal agenda when the focus should be on the families and friends of the deceased and injured, who are suffering emotionally and are in mental, spiritual and physical agony. It would have been a great gesture if our Government had offered Jamaica as a vacation spot for immediate family members.

The Bible states that death is the last enemy to be conquered and Jesus wept profusely and was 'greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved' because of the death of Lazarus (John 11:31-33). Jesus was upset.

Life is special and sacred and we must get upset at the wanton lost of lives but also, we must be in solidarity with those who mourn.

• Rev Devon Dick is pastor of the Boulevard Baptist Church in St Andrew. He is author of 'The Cross and the Machete', and 'Rebellion to Riot'. Send feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com.