By Gordon Robinson
The disgraceful muzzling of Queen Ifrica at the Grand Gala has exposed Jamaica's state organs' proclivity for pandering.
I hope it was pandering because, otherwise, it'd signal the beginning of totalitarianism. Our new Charter of Fundamental Rights provides: "All persons are under a responsibility to respect and uphold the rights of others recognised in this chapter," which specifically includes "the right to freedom of expression".
Section 13(2) is even more explicit: "No organ of the State shall take any action which abrogates, abridges or infringes those rights." If we're not careful, anybody making any public appearance will have persons of influence script their appearance and, if they go off script, their microphones will be silenced or their tapes seized and erased. Ironically, by August 6, we'd just celebrated Emancipation and were celebrating Independence, yet ended up severely damaging these fundamental symbols of freedom.
The feeble-minded excuse bruited about (her comments were inappropriate for a national gathering) only exposed pseudo-liberal politicians' ignorance. Political correctness is not free speech. In fact, it's a restriction of free speech.
It matters not how offensive Ifrica's comments may be to others; how backward; how ignorant; how politically incorrect. They're hers, and she's entitled to disseminate them wherever she chooses. She breached no law. Pseudo-liberals in the audience must learn to take it as well as they dole it out.
I've used some harsh names to describe views similar to Queen Ifrica's ('bigotry', for example), but I'll defend to the death persons' inalienable right to express those bigoted views. Her views are her property and it's her right to expose her property.
Miss Elaine E.S. Jones
is quite famous for the property she owns.
But the property she owns
is the property of Jones
and the innocent bystanders
how they rush with gifts to hand her
just to get a little gander of her ... bones.
What Jamaica has done by cutting off Queen Ifrica's mic is to lower itself to her mud-slinging level. Since that time, the relevant ministry hasn't moved to identify and punish the person whose despotic instincts drove him/her to muzzle free public expression. Can it be that the culture ministry supports this tyrannical act?
Let Queen Ifrica speak her mind, regardless of how much her words might dehumanise others. Ifrica will soon understand that freedom of expression is a double-edged sword subject to Newton's law of equal and opposite reaction.
She's free to spout her vitriol against homosexuals. Homosexuals are equally free to say what they think of her wherever they choose. Others are free to tell Ifrica, "We don't want you in our country" or "We don't want you on our stage." That's not only exercising freedom of speech, but also an equally cherished freedom of association.
It's trite law that freedom of association includes freedom to disassociate. Queen Ifrica is free to verbally bully, condemn and despise homosexuals based on brainwashing religious dogma. If she can accurately identify all homosexuals, she's free to disassociate herself from them. Newton's Law works to make homosexuals and genuine liberals (who accept homosexuals as human beings entitled to equal treatment under God and man, not as abominations) free to dissociate themselves from Ifrica.
But it'd be preferable if Queen Ifrica would recognise that human equality and human kindness don't discriminate. She, who'll gladly fight for equal treatment of women, equal treatment of races, and religions, still fails to see the incongruity in her judgemental approach to other humans because of their same-sex attraction.
If Ifrica harbours a smidgeon of doubt about her blanket condemnation of at least 10 per cent of the world's male population based on a 3,000-year-old book, she'd ask herself, "Will I say these things during my European tour?" If not, she must ask herself why. Isn't she only speaking her conscience? If so, why won't she speak her conscience in Europe? Is conscience only to be spoken in Jamaica where homophobia is the norm?
Miss Elaine E. S. Jones,
the recipient of many sticks and stones.
The fine ladies of the town
how they try to put her down.
But she just walks by a' grinning
'cos she's on that side that's winning.
It's by popular opinion, I suppose.
Engelbert Humperdinck's second album, The Last Waltz, included a humorous cut named Miss Elaine E.S. Jones, about the village trollop who retained her popularity despite persistent critique by the 'topanaris' ladies of the town. It did so well that future albums faithfully included one just like it.
Peace and love.
Gordon Robinson is an attorney-at-law. Email feedback to email@example.com.