Letter of the Day: Human Rights for All Jamaicans
THE EDITOR, Sir:
The West Kingston incursion is yet another reminder of how insensitive the wider Jamaican population tends to be in relation to issues which are not considered to be of personal impact. It certainly soothes the conscience to disregard this national concern with views that the experience was deserved and it was their fault.
If this were to happen again, would you want to see the events play out in the very same way? Or does it matter anyway? Is there any connection between what happened to a powerless, defenseless, fellow citizen in another section of Jamaica, and those who are not having that experience? Would you be willing to lend your voice regarding the preservation of human rights for all Jamaicans?
Who remembers the voice that said, "I got shot, I cannot see"? The citizen was then placed on a handcart. She remembers, "We cried for help, but we were told that they have no car." She was taken by handcart to KPH (Kingston Public Hospital) for treatment.
Just imagine if you were the one showing and saying, "What you are seeing now is two false eyes."
And while we ridicule our fellow citizens who did not evacuate western Kingston, listen to another forgotten voice saying, "Mi caan get di medication, cause me nuh av nuh money."
Listen to the voice saying, "From mi get di shat inna mi 'an, mi caan work."
A Commission of Enquiry has the potential to accomplish much in the interest of the voiceless and the forgotten. When effective terms of reference are observed and the interests of all citizens are protected, there is much to be achieved.
Does it matter that children still live with the traumatic effects of the incursion? Does it matter that loved ones may have been killed in summary executions? Does it matter that some members of the State may have been wrongly accused? Are we entitled to the truth regarding whether there were illegal detentions? Since it is all over, is it necessary to investigate whether disappearances and torture took place?
Are we comfortable with the thought that this could happen to any of us? Would you support a call for compensation to the one who says and asks the following? "Dem bun up every ting. Dem gi mi $200,000 now, fi wah?"
What if you suffered loss of income and continue to do so as a result of being shot in your home or anywhere else by sniper fire? Would you consider that this was deserved?
Is citizen security an important matter for the future of Jamaica? Is citizen security an entitlement for a select few? Did you know that government ought to be the primary protector of human rights?
Given the facts of trauma to adults and children; the mental anguish; the loss of loved ones; the loss of income; and the continued sense of injustice, are we ready to accept the humane decision for reparations and compensation for our suffering fellow citizens? It is timely to note that the piety practised by many during the season of Lent is informed by a Hebrew word that speaks to justice.
The Coral Gardens incident, and the Green Bay massacre, and the Agana Barrett scenarios are all part of our ugly history from which we may learn, even as we work towards a better Jamaica.
It is not sufficient to just pray for justice. We must work so that justice, truth, may indeed be ours forever. Amen.
Fr Sean Major-Campbell