Is there a Pied Piper for Jamaica?
The Editor, Sir:
Over the last few years, and more so in the last several months, so much has happened in our nation that it boggles the mind to think about it. In spite of the valiant efforts of many Jamaicans to demonstrate their talents and resilience as a people to keep Jamaica's flag flying high (both on the national and international scenes) there has been so much confusion and conflict within our country that it has left a bitter taste in the mouths and pain in the hearts of many Jamaicans.
As I reflect on all that has been happening, I am reminded of a poem we did in school titled The Pied Piper of Hamlin. It told the story of the town of Hamlin in Denmark that was so infested by rats that it was causing absolute confusion and distress among the citizens. The story graphically illustrated that the town was so overrun by rats that nobody escaped. Homes were terrorised, food was eaten and contaminated, even the cats and the dogs became their victims.
In spite of the many efforts and strategies that were explored, no one had seem to be able to find a solution to the 'rat problem'. The leaders were at their wits' ends as consultation after consultation yielded no result and the situation grew steadily worse.
Then news came that there was a certain pied piper who could get rid of the problem, and sure enough, after consultations he was contracted to do the job. With his musical prowess he was able to lure the rats away to a river where they all plunged in and were drowned, and so a town was saved.
Jamaica's present situation is in many ways similar to what was happening in Hamlin. Our country seems to be 'infested' with some 'rat-like' problems: the consistent high crime rate and violence, an ailing justice system, moral decay, corruption and leaders who fail to be honest or even to take responsibility for their actions. Integrity now seem to be a lost art, persons sworn to uphold the law see breaking it as a viable option. Then there is the rampant abuse and murder of our children.
These and other incidents have caused me to wonder: who are the real 'rats' in our society? Who are their victims? And, most important, is there a 'pied piper' for Jamaica? Who will rescue us?
Incidentally, one version of the story reported that after the job was done, those responsible refused to pay the piper what was promised so once again he put his pipes to his lips. This time it was the children who disappeared. Do we realise that every time when we, as adults, fail to act honestly and responsibly our children suffer?
So if we do find a 'pied piper' for Jamaica, will we be willing to pay the cost?
I am, etc.,
Clarendon, May Pen