Hello Mi Neighbour | When is invasion of privacy justifiable?
Hello mi neighbour! 'Mine yuh own business' is a popular Jamaican precautionary expression used as a warning against the invasion of one's privacy. Invasion of privacy is the unjustifiable intrusion into the personal life of another, which may be punishable by law. This may include workplace monitoring, peeking through a neighbour's windows, taking pictures without permission, eavesdropping and the dissemination of private information.
Persons who believe that their privacy has been invaded may seek legal compensation for the emotional and mental distress, as well as any financial or reputational harm suffered as a result. Of note, in most situations, celebrities and public servants whose activities are newsworthy have little or no protection against privacy invasion.
Does the privilege of privacy have a flip side? When is invasion justifiable?
Within certain legal boundaries, private citizens may fall in love and marry whoever they choose. They are free to have as many children as possible and it's nobody's business. Correct me if I'm wrong. Providing he has the capacity to do so, privacy allows a man to have a dozen children with a dozen girlfriends without fear of prosecution. He must recognise, however, that such abuse of privacy can lead to complications too much for him to handle.
Where the abuse of privacy has the potential to destroy, it may be time for such privacy to be invaded by an understanding, caring neighbour. The world is full of cases where couples brought lethal harm to each other after a period of 'bad living'. Before destruction struck, neighbours heard frequent quarrels but because it is safe to 'keep out of people business' and 'cockroach nuh business inna foul fight' no one intervened.
Stay out of people's private matters, yes, but a line must be drawn somewhere! We are our neighbour's keeper!
Building close relationships with everyone in the community is critical to everyone's well-being. Wherever close relationships exist, the privacy gaps become narrower, thus making room for community support, especially where domestic matters can lead to loss of life, limb and income.
So here is the thing: while we vouch for the privilege of privacy, safety for all must always be top priority. Our neighbours have no right to peep into our pots, but if it's burning without our knowledge the picture changes. If one sees danger and does not warn the endangered he or she has broken the first rule of neighbourliness, which is to 'love your neighbour as yourself and to do unto others as you would have them do unto you'.
Min' yuh own business, but flexibility of privacy must be accommodated in the interest of all.
Close the door to keep out the eyes and be open enough to keep out danger.
And by way, to behave in public as though it were private is repulsive and may be classified as 'invasion of your neighbour's privacy'. Let's help one another.
Thanks for helping
1. Novie, St Andrews, for act of kindness.
2. Sonia, St Catherine, for offering to give a refrigerator.
3. Lola, St Andrew, for offering a refrigerator to Paulette.
4. Everybody's Pharmacy for acts of kindness.
Opportunities for help
- Tina, St Andrew - Sister had a stroke - in need of a hospital bed to facilitate at-home treatment. Second-hand.
- Miss Lewis, unemployed - Needs a sewing machine to help make a living, also asking for a refrigerator to store her mother's insulin, TV.
- Neighbour, St Catherine - Single mother asking for food. Things are very bad. No food for days. In need of toiletries also. In need of second-hand GSAT books.
- Ms Anderson, Manchester - Asking for a bed and a dresser.
- Neighbour - Children's father died. Not coping with three young mouths to feed. Asking neighbours for food and help to pay school fees.
- Neighbour - Mother of three in need of help to purchase medication for children. Also needs help to send them to high school.
- Allison - Physically challenged, unemployed, needs a sewing machine to make a living.
- To help, please call Silton Townsend @ 334-8165, 884-3866, or deposit to acct #351 044 276 NCB. (Bank routing #: JNCBJMKX) or send donations to Hello Neighbour C/o 53 Half-Way Tree Road, Kingston 10; Paypal/credit card: