Sun | Mar 18, 2018

Hanna on right side of history

Published:Tuesday | February 28, 2017 | 12:00 AM


Anyone who is suggesting that Opposition Member of Parliament and Spokesperson on Culture Lisa Hanna's comments about Vybz Kartel's capacity to record and air his music, while serving time for a murder charge, as being akin to blaming dancehall music for society's ills, is purposefully conflating issues.

This kind of 'misunderstanding' is symptomatic of a very serious problem in Jamaica: a very limited desire to reason and, with it, be fair and honest in our assessments of issues like these. It is definitely not a hypocritical stance to take, albeit a dangerous one, given the threats against her life since.

Notwithstanding, Miss Hanna is on the right side of history in this regard. Critiquing a legal/value system that allows a convicted murderer to have access to the resources and means by which he is able to influence others in the way that he currently does is a very serious problem. And, undoubtedly, a very valid position to hold, irrespective of political stripes.

This is especially if we are as concerned as we claim to be about the state of crime and violence in Jamaica. We really are going to have to do better than give limited, knee-jerk responses to criticisms of this nature.

There is a clear question of values and law and order involved here. What values do we hold as sacred and how do we desire for our children to act in their general socialisation? What are the expectations of those who lead and whose influences should we/they come under?

Those, I think, are the real issues bound up in Hanna's intervention. It is not a personal attack on Mr Palmer or, for that matter, his supporters. And, surely, I do not read it as censorship of the arts for its own sake either.

How can we call ourselves a mature and independent people, to say nothing of a democracy, if we are not able to give our criticism about such issues without fear and threats of violence?