Mark Wignall | Deep anger in our children
Like others before, the video went viral recently. A young girl, in school uniform, probably about 15, her body expressing fits of anger saying, "Mi wi stab him up yu nuh, kill him!"
It is obvious that she is in the company of adults, probably school officials, trying to contain her but seemingly losing most efforts to control her. At one stage her anger builds and her body moves in spasms of something she plainly does not understand. She curses, promises murder then slaps her hands high and hard against a painted, concrete wall.
She is in an office space and she afterwards slams her hand on a section of a glass window. A male voice says, "Mind you break it."
She barks out in an even greater degree of anger, "So yu nuh jus buy eh back."
When I was her age and, in the company of others, we were playing dangerous games of dare, one of our first concerns was to conceal the identity of the school one attended. The little girl does not share that concern, and the presence of adult supervisors attempting to calm her is no inhibitor to inner expressions of hurt and anger as well as confusion.
The confused action of that girl is representative of significant percentages of our people, especially those most vulnerable to economic disadvantages, cramped living space, poor parenting and minimal education outcomes.
Because this nation has been so far behind the level of governance we are capable of, the buildout of a socio-economic society that provides the best for most of us has not occurred since independence. For this reason, we have failed horribly in tackling the country's problems at both ends.
First, build a sound and equitable system of education, strongly promote family and economic attainment while putting in place laws to deal with those in the society who insist on breaching public order. At this stage, too, many of our children are being exposed to a bondage of dysfunctional parenting while too uncomfortable a percentage of our young men are too easily disposed to a culture where the gun and desperado-life living are ideals to be chased after.
"Sometimes the back stories are worse than the demonstrated, public behaviour. I intervened," said a highly trained sociologist to me last weekend. "The mother was sending out her 14-year-old daughter to sell sex so that what could be charitably called a family, could eat a little better.
"When faced with that reality I spoke with the grandmother. I'm not sure I have recovered from her words. She said, 'Den me did sell some sex to an it neva kill mi'. It was obvious that something bad had taken place in the family and it had made them uncaring and impervious to the damaging traits and behaviour they were transmitting to the next generation.'
Let us be certain on one particular matter; our violent nature and persistence of harsh, crime-fighting measures are directly linked to a failure of political leadership. With that has come the devolution of the community and its defacement of sound, ethical behaviour, the watering down of education for our poorest, the fall of the family and increased interventions by members of the security forces.
All good-thinking Jamaicans know that the bigger social interventions must start now. It makes no sense to build a house if you know that the occupants are entering to tear it down. Those occupants are our children and grandchildren.
The obvious repercussions of the anger in them are another date with a more violent destiny for this nation.