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LETTER OF THE DAY - Mugabe or no Mugabe, our men must change

Published:Wednesday | September 12, 2012 | 12:00 AM


While Robert Mugabe has made some sweeping generalisations which could ignite some democratic fires, I deem it as a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black. Jamaica has had a rich diplomatic history with many countries on the African continent, and I find his comments rather unfortunate, to put it mildly.

Mr Mugabe is no knight in shining armour, and his leadership of his country does not put him in a position to chastise and criticise anybody else. Zimbabwe is no paradise, but it's always better to trash-talk your neighbour's yard if it is dirty.

Mr Mugabe's comments should do more than just spark debate. It should provide a serious opportunity for some introspection by every Jamaican.

In this our 50th year of Independence, many of our young people, particularly our men, are not as forward-thinking as we would like them to be. We have quite a few who have dubbed themselves 'flossing kings', among other things, and who glorify the use of marijuana and alcohol to prove that they are real men.

I have no problems with comments being made about my country, because people will always talk. But we cannot hit back and say his claims are false because we see it every day. It behoves us, both at the individual and policy levels, to sort out our affairs.

Salvage our image

I find it ironic that Mr Mugabe holds one of our national honours and has seen it fit to criticise us. But can we blame him? What are we doing to protect our image and to fix our problems?

We need to change the psyche of our young men so that they can aspire to become more than area dons, extortionists and even a more recent phenomenon, 'loader boys'. We need programmes to help our young men to unearth their talents, because the current classroom is not engineered for them to excel.

So many of our young men are wasting their lives away trying to find their way out of their situations by less-than-honourable means. If we don't, many more Mugabe-like statements will constantly reappear, tarnishing our already tattered image that our athletes and many other upstanding Jamaicans have helped us to resurrect over the past few years.