Tue | May 11, 2021

Garth Rattray | It looks like ‘this stool shall pass’

Published:Monday | May 3, 2021 | 12:08 AM

I feel as if I was somehow transported into an alternate universe. A universe where morality is only an inconvenience and sometimes used when needed for specific purposes. In this universe, anything goes – as long as one can get away with it. Right and wrong have been redefined by the exigencies of the situations. I see good and bad entangled in a slow and eerie waltz, where they begin merging imperceptibly at their borders until there are no longer any borders. I see objectivity being harpooned, decried and warped by people with ulterior motives.

I see murder being justified as a way to deal with interpersonal problems and the ‘final solution’ to stressful situations. I see corruption being so entrenched that it has worked its way into and stained the pinnacle of society, and rot it to the core. I see’ imp-patience’ exhibited everywhere that I look. Supposedly civil human beings rapidly devolve into vicious panthera tigris just because someone was a tad tardy in moving off from a traffic light. I see people in privileged positions, placed there by citizens who put their trust and respect in them to serve their country, intent on getting away with unacceptable behaviour. I see the politicised tail wagging the democratic dog.

And, even in this weird, almost-comical Bizarro world of trans-morality, I am sorely disappointed that some of the people with whom the alleged stool-master is aligned have chosen to deflect, delay, deter, decline, anything and everything but detest and denounce his alleged actions. Instead, they shamelessly rake up the past alleged actions of others, without seeking to deal with the present disgraceful situation.

Representatives of the people should and must be held to a higher standard; in fact, they should be held to the highest standard possible, because they represent our needs, our dreams, our morality and the things that we and our children should aspire towards. They should and must behave so that they will be emulated and patterned by our impressionable youth. It is indeed a topsy-turvy world when a representative of the people, a representative of the adults and children who emulate him/her, is alleged to have done something egregious and chooses to seek refuge in silence and remaining low for a while, in the hope that ‘this stool shall pass’.


Our culture often exhibits a strong and entrenched disrespect for women. And, admittedly, women need to up their game by educating themselves, becoming independent, being ladylike, demanding respect, and refusing to be abused. Instead of interceding, most people simple pass off inter-gender conflict as ‘man and woman thing’. I happen to know of several young women who were accosted violently on public transport, and when they protested and cried out to others for help, their attackers proclaim that they are in a relationship, and that ends any interference from onlookers. Some were dragged off the bus and raped, and some met more serious fate.

In the same way that the law demands that we report the slightest suspicion of child abuse, there aught to be a law that demands that citizens also report the suspicion or actual abuse of women. If tragedy occurs, the neighbours ought to be held responsible if it is discovered that they suspected or knew of the abuse but did not report it to the authorities. A dedicated line (a hotline) should be set up for that purpose. If that were in place, the observers seen in the video would be charged for not reporting and their statements would identify the blurred images.

I am very concerned about the message being sent by the silence, the lack of denial or admission from the alleged perpetrator. What are our citizens, especially our impressionable youngsters learning from this? Will this embolden would-be woman beaters to act with impunity? What does it say about the integrity of some of our leaders and representatives?

Garth A. Rattray is a medical doctor with a family practice. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and garthrattray@gmail.com.