The Soloist, Contributor
The more things change, the more they remain the same.
One of the headlines in last Friday's edition of this newspaper proclaimed: 'No silence, no violence - New group to march, renew stand against abuse of women'. After reading it, I had to laugh because halfway through the article were the following paragraphs:
It was only two months ago that several groups, led by government ministers, took to the streets of Kingston and St Andrew to protest the same issue. Their outrage was sparked by the September 25 rape of five females in St James, including an eight-year-old girl and two teenagers.
Since then, Jamaicans have been horrified by the murder and rape of a number of women. In early October, 23-year-old sales representative Toneva Forbes was raped and killed in Trelawny. Shortly after, postal worker Tandy Lewis' burnt body was found in bushes in Port Royal, Kingston. She was four months pregnant. Later that month, 27-year-old Tenisha Hamilton, who was seven months pregnant, was killed and her body dumped in a water tank in Clarendon. These were just three of several recent cases of brutality against women.
I laughed because here we go again. Why don't these marchers go find some productive work? It's obvious they want to be noticed, so why not go out and clean up the horribly dirty streets and overgrown hedges all over the island?
Really effective work
And if they still need public acclaim for doing good, why not do some really effective work like taking to the street corners where the idle converge in their daily palm-kneading rituals, and reach them through reasoning, counselling and prayer? I am tired of all these demonstrations that achieve little.
We still have the same two parties leading our country, we still have the same bureaucrats running things. We still have the same state agencies which are impotent. And, we still have the same two and three-quarter million people whose only response to injustice is to demonstrate and make a lot of headline-grabbing noises only to return to business as usual.
Can you believe that after 50 years of Independence, Jamaicans have never once engaged in passive resistance of anything? We have never, as a people come together to stop purchasing overpriced items. We have never said we will stop using electricity for a week as a protest against the much maligned Jamaica Public Service. And as women, we have never had the guts to tell our men no more sex until something is done to stop crime. Give me a break.
The other story that grabbed my attention was headlined: 'Hanna, Bunting must take blame - JFJ'. It read in part:
Outraged by the reported suicide of a female teenager being housed in an adult correctional facility, Jamaicans for Justice (JFJ) is demanding answers from the two government ministers with direct responsibility for children in conflict with the law, charging them with the death of the teen.
Declaring that the Government continues to "preside over the illegal and inhumane practice of placing children in adult correctional facilities", JFJ called for Minister of Youth and Culture Lisa Hanna and Minister of National Security Peter Bunting to provide answers.
Sixteen-year-old Vanessa Wint is reported to have committed suicide at the Horizon Remand Centre in Kingston on Wednesday night, but family members were yesterday claiming they were yet to receive a satisfactory explanation from the correctional services.
Before I take this one on, I will just repeat my often stated opinion. Clearly, this unfortunate teen had parents who failed in their duty to nurture and protect them. So, we can predict the script over the next few days: Bleeding heart state agencies and opinion shapers will issue calls, condemnation, warning, blame and express outrage. To what end? Naught!