Archive for the ‘Politics/Current affairs’ Category

The date is December 10, 2014, I am up late watching the Late Night Show with David Letterman, up to the stage comes, my now favourite rapper, J. Cole and he is performing an improvised verse as an introduction to one of his songs on the now critically acclaimed 2014 Forest Hills Drive Album. The entire verse was a hard hitting social commentary on the state of affairs in America, particularly amidst the uproar following the controversial police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. It was powerful, but the part that stood out for me was his assessment of the Presidency of one Barack Hussein Obama aka number 44. His Obama report card read as follows:

“I’m so elated, we celebrated like Obama / waited until his last day in office / to tell the nation, brothers is getting their reparations, hey! / A man can dream, can he? / No disrespect, in terms of change / I haven’t seen any / Maybe he had good intentions / But was stifled by the system / and was sad to learn that he actually couldn’t bring any/ That’s what I get for thinking this world is fair, they let  a brother steer the ship and never told him that the ship was sinking…”

The sentiments in that performance echoed one of the many thoughts I too had about the impact of the Presidency of Barack Obama, which at its inception seemed (at least to some) to beckon a new day in America and perhaps the world, yet at the end or nearing it one can’t help feeling disappointment. Ever since that day and that performance I have been writing this blog post on the legacy of Obama on and off in my mind. A lot has happened since then and the nature of the mental essay has shifted back and forth many times, but seeing snippets of President Obama’s farewell speech and watching a video of him spending one of his last days in office serving a meal to his White House Staff alongside his family has reinforced how all over the place my feelings regarding his legacy are.

The mental essay on this day has stopped at a point where my mind sees many Obamas, in fact what I initially thought were three Obamas has now manifested as four in my mind:

  • Candidate Obama
  • Symbol Obama
  • President Obama
  • Barry O the person(a)

What will follow are my incoherent and summarized attempts at explaining what I mean by these Obamas and what each means for his legacy.

Candidate Obama

A politician is a politician is a politician and generally we don’t speak positively about politicians. In Jamaican vernacular – “dem a wicked” or so most people would like to believe. But something about this well-spoken young Senator representing Chicago seemed different not the least because when had what many considered a funny sounding name. Candidate Obama just seemed to resonate with everything that is positive and what one would want from a new breed of leadership. He was young and naïve enough to think differently from established norms even to a fault. He embraced young people and embraced them where they were through seemingly unprecedented use of social media. He created a message of hope for the future and the possibility of positive change all while sounding like the most engaging spokesman or dare I say preacher in the process. Put even simpler, Candidate Obama was a joy to see at work and to listen to. Also key to the appeal of Candidate Obama was the potential of him becoming a powerful symbol – the First Black President of the United States of America.

Symbol Obama

Election night November 4, 2008 is here, the ballots have been counted and the formerly unthinkable has indeed happened. Independent since 1776, the land of chattel slavery and Jim Crow elected a black man, a black man named Barack Hussein Obama to its highest office. A black family was to take residence in that big White House that was actually built by slaves. No wonder, that from Washington, to Kingston to the Motherland, black people all over the world were overcome with emotions. Along with the lifting of the US Embargo on Cuba or the granting of reparations as a result of the transatlantic slave trade, America having a black President is one of those things that “they” said would never happen in my lifetime. I am typing, but my words by no means can capture the genuine feeling of accomplishment, euphoria and pride many persons felt with the breaking of this impossible barrier.

But the pride and the symbolism did not end just with the victory for the past eight years, and especially in the wake of the nasty under belly of the 2016 election campaign, the luster of this lovely family residing in the White House, showcasing for the world to see that the impossible can be possible and all persons no matter who they are can aspire to be what they want to be. All while exuding class and elegance.

President Obama

Honeymoons don’t last forever though, and the luxury of being a hopeful candidate that is a monumental symbol had to give way to governance. Back to the J. Cole song. Many persons, particularly the African American community almost bestowed a messianic hope on the shoulders of Mr. Obama. Undoubtedly persons with such lofty expectations were bound to be disappointed as a man is just a man and even more a politician. Even more than that I have come to the conclusion that the Institution of the President of the United States is bigger than any one of its holders and like J. Cole I honestly feel Mr. Obama may have been constrained from being any revolutionary change agent by this reality.

So in his farewell speech he listed his achievements and they are clear, the ship was sinking in many respects not least the economy. Whatever measure may choose without getting into graphs and charts, under his watch the US emerged in a good position on the other side of the worst economic recession since the 1920s. In terms of domestic safety and security, the statistics suggest America is safer than it has ever been. “Obamacare” was passed and depending on who you ask that has been positive as well. For others “marriage equality” is also seen as a positive.

But serious shortcomings are there as well especially on the international front. The exponential use of unmanned drones as a war tool and the deaths of many innocents and non-innocents, the devastation of Syria and Libya are things that can be laid squarely at the feet of this administration. On the home front, whether his fault or not , it seems the killing or brutal treatment of persons of colour by members of law enforcement with almost impunity has skyrocketed, with many detractors feeling as though the president has lent his voice to other issues far more than the plight of primarily the black community.

On balance, as a non-citizen of the US that has to live in a world where the US is the major super power, I cannot in good conscience say I believe the Presidency of Barack Obama has significantly affected us in the developing world in  a positive manner. Many persons may see this as too kind an assessment as by many measures the world could be worse off.

Barry O the Person(a)

Unequivocally, I am not a fan of President Obama. Perhaps that is why, I have developed this Multiple Personality Disorder for him because I cannot shake the guilt of wishing I could hang out with him though. Barack Obama the person or at least the persona that we see publicly is so cool, so smooth on so many levels. He is seemingly down to earth, he is au fait with the latest Music, he is able to have meaningful conversation about the latest sporting event, he uses local slang when he travels and even more admirable he appears to not lord over the “small people” that he is “The Leader of the Free World.”

What is perhaps the cherry on top is the public relationship he has with his wife and children. The man never ever misses an opportunity to “big up” the love of his life and their children. He appears to be a serious family man that puts his family before even the stresses of Presidency.

As I said before, as a basketball fan and knowing his love for basketball as well, despite all my misgivings about Barack Obama I can’t shake the feeling that it would be an honour to play a game to 21 against Barry O and talk about life.

Legacy

A lot has been said above without being able to say all that was meant but ultimately in 8 days the White House will again revert to its more natural hue, though with a tinge of orange. Feels like the “Change We Can Believe In” days were just yesterday but alas time waits for no man and Mr. Obama’s fate is with the history writers now. I’m sure like Fidel Castro it is his hope that history will judge him fairly and positively. He has marks on both sides of the score card probably more on the failure side if I am totally honest. But his other manifestations, particularly Symbol Obama and Barry O the person(a) have left an indelible mark and I have no doubt in my mind that under the current political circumstances, even his harshest critics, myself guiltily included, will miss him and miss him sooner than we think… like within a week we will miss him BIGLY.

The part of this song quoted above can be seen at around the 2:35 mark. (No copyright infringement was intended and “Reasoning With The Cunning One” does not own or take responsibility for the content  of external links. – ALWAYS WANTED TO SAY THAT LOL)

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Happy New Year to one and all.

Normally at the beginning of the year I would be at pains to compile a year in review blog. The closest I will come to saying “New Year, New Me” is to deviate from that annual rite. I am starting the 2017 “reasoning” with the views of someone else. Not a 100% sure how the etiquette goes but this is the first guest blog featured on “Reasoning With The Cunning One.”

What follows are the Guinness Stout inspired words of one of my greatest friends Mr. Ricardo Perkins who explores, in brief, the tensions between the society at large and the police with dancehall music and the dancehall space. As the cliché would have it…the views expressed do not NECESSARILY represent the views of the management of “Reasoning.”

 

“I have always been a great fan of Bounty Killa; by no means does this translate to him being the perfect role model. However, one must acknowledge, the awesome talent he is and the many times that he has stood up for what is right: and by doing so have made most of us proud! There is no doubt that he loves dancehall music, and there’s absolutely no doubt that dancehall is important to the PEOPLE OF JAMAICA.

If you are from what we call a ‘garrison’, you know that ‘corna dances’ mean that peace is upon us. Persons can move more freely with a reduced fear of being caught in the right place at the wrong time. Maybe, this perspective has biased me and has forced me to think about the (maybe little good) in something that was laden with negatives. What am I talking about- one of the best performances I have ever seen! And it was FREE! On December 29 (3am) Bounty ignited the crowd at the weekly PepperSeed. After about a 20 mins wait to apparently call some police for the show to continue, the permission came and the Killa flourished- with some of what I think are his greatest music, those from the 90’s. The crowd was moving, the performer having fun, no worries as we all enjoyed ourselves. I am sure- Beenie man fans (in fact, I think he was in attendance), Kartel fans, Movado fans were present, but this night we were all attuned to the Killa. Then midway the flourishing, the bad news came- police are back and they want the music stop! Terrible idea. I mean really terrible idea.

Let me first be clear- I despise the noise abatement act and its particular quest to put a dent in dancehall, maybe, because it is too ghetto. But, I won’t get much into that because that is another debate. Back to the Killa- and the moment I applaud. He refused to stop performing…and yea, yea, he should respect the law, the police, blah blah blah… All this is true, but we should be willing to accept what he was saying, shouting angrily, crossly, miserably had many truths. Picking out a few; “offica a chrismuss, mek we hav some fun”; “offica, we nah do nutten wrong”, “offica, a tings like this why people nuh coordinate with unu”. All of this while continuing to perform as patron relish at the graceful distaste shown to not just the police that were present, but POLICE. In the midst of this ‘angry’ outburst aimed at the police qua killer of peaceful vibes lie some truths. The need for police to actually be attentive to situations, and be willing to adjust where the gain would be much more that the lost and missed opportunity.

I can only imagine the ‘forwards and pull-ups’ the gentle police officer would have gotten if he had come on stage and said something like “people listen up- the time pass and unu haffi leave, but guess what- a chrismuss and we affi be kind to one anotha. Turn to u bredrin and sistren beside u a sey merry christmuss and mek we work together to change the new year. We all in this thing together. So u see tru a christmuss, unu hol da 25 mins ya- Killa u see you, the poor people governa, dem ppl ya listen to you. So me waa u tell dem fi stop wid the bag a foolishness and stop kill the ppl dem. U know waa me know unu a video- tek the supe numba- don’t start type enu, we know unu nuh waa ppl think unu a informa, so just record the video and when nuh baddy nah look ( but show u pikney dem) write it down and call me when unu know anything- see it ya, Bounty a me witness, me nah go call nuh name when unu shout me. Gwaun tru Bounty and mash up the place. But memba 25 mins. We agree to that?

Can you imagine what would have been the reaction of the crowd and the possible gains in the right direction for the police if it had gone this way instead of Bounty force performing, resenting the police, while speaking out against the many bad things going on, including the recent rise (or at least reported) crime against females? Imagine that video going viral, many getting the number of this Superintendent- it might not be a lot, but it would be a step in the right direction. Of course, there would have been icing on the cake if the police buss two lyrics.

This incident should call us to reflect on what we can do moving forward, it is clear that we need innovative ways fighting crime. And if we are serious, we must be willing to give people more opportunities to have the feeling that we are in this together. Maybe allowing a peaceful dance attended by ‘big people’ is a step in that direction. The fact is, we are really in this together. But I guess- the question is, of how much more importance is stopping a little noise in areas where little-to-no-persons are gravely affected match up to an actual desire to fight crime.

Big up the Killa, the people that stuck it out, the police for doing what is their current job, the soup man, the jerk man, the man dem whey a park, all hustlers.  Peaceful New Year! ”

 

 

Ricardo Perkins is a Graduate of Kingston College and the University of the West Indies. He is also a Jesuit and is currently studying Philosophy and Applied Ethics at Loyola University. He also states his claim to fame as dominating “The Cunning One” on the basketball court.

2016 will go down in the annals of history as one of the most interesting and eventful years in world history. Apart from Brexit, in terms of world politics no event has been more popcorn inspiring than the quest for the Presidency of the United States of America. A lot can be said and my mind is all over the place on this. Below is a collection of some of my main thoughts on this election cycle thus far. They are not in any particular order and in fact might even be incoherent. Consider them my random morning ramblings today as the constant social media debates about the pros and cons of this election have sufficiently provoked/annoyed me that I needed to exhale in a literary way.

TRUMP  TRUMP TRUMP – words fail me beyond saying real life has become stranger than fiction. It is the understatement of all time to say I truly am mind boggled that he has reached this point. I will also waste little time making the anti-trump argument as his very existence and state of being makes the argument. The epitome of the greater of two evils (or is he?).

MAYBE TRUMP ISN’T SO SURPRISING – the more I watch this election and listen to commentary on parallels in the world, trump isn’t so surprising. Well the Donald himself yes, but the idea that a total outsider from the political status quo could rise to prominence with seemingly silly, unworkable views is not new and despots of both the left and right variety have risen to prominence on the back of a political and economic system that is almost fully set on satisfying the desire of the absolutely rich and absolutely powerful to the detriment of the masses. What America may need to fear is that next election cycle a more skillful politician that is more disciplined, and dare I say more sensible, than the Donald is able to better ride this wave of discontent. Or maybe they shouldn’t fear, they could get an even better version of Bernie Sanders.

TRUMP ISN’T SURPRISING PART 2 – also why the rise of Trump isn’t surprising is that it has been trending this way for years with the Tea Party pulling the entire US political space to the Right. And this “Rightness” is rooted in white racist nationalism that is still very much rooted in America despite those who would have us believe that 8 years of a black president has magically cured the world of all racism.

DANGER OF PERSONALITY POLITICS – The level of discourse in this election campaign for the supposed greatest nation in the world is saddening at worst and laughable at best. Who grabbing what, whose hidden emails have been found on the computer of a political perv, the great Hollywood script writers couldn’t make this up. The discussions have been largely devoid of any substance, rather we are being sold two personal brands, powerful billionaire vs powerful woman – bigoted man vs flawed but qualified woman. Issues and policy have been sacrificed at the altar of who we like more and that may be a dangerous way to select our leaders anywhere in the world. But for a set of people who like to look at the rest of us and throw out phrases like “Third World Banana Republics” on a regular, this election cycle should be downright embarrassing.

“FALSE EQUIVALENCE” IS SICKENING – if you watch CNN in particular and listen to the so called “balance” it has by having two to three Trump apologists on every panel and listen to them ignore reality and logic and make the worst analogies and comparisons ever you would know exactly what I am talking about.

HILLARY HYPOCRISY – for me this is the notion of somehow because of several things, the most used card is gender, that Hillary Clinton is getting a raw deal (in the largely left leaning media no less) and no matter what she does she is treated as “guiltier” that trump. Rubbish, if this is so why is she being predicted in most corners to win by a landslide? We get a steady diet of “the emails are nothing so why is this hurting her…because she is a woman.” I find that disingenuous, it is hurting her because of a confluence of history and herself and her husband never ever being too far from controversy and shadiness. Think Clinton Foundation, think conflict of interest. These are not nothing issues and even if they can be explained or nuanced, being asked about them is fair game and not some media attack because she is specially disliked for being a she in my book. It is dangerous and a disservice to those who do suffer gender based discrimination to use this particular point to make her the poster child. A lot of other issues with her better fit that bill but not legitimate questions about (perceived) shadiness and impropriety.

Also the election has been tilted into the gutter not only by the moronic Trump, but by the Hillary campaign wanting it to stay there as their surest way to victory. If character assassination (or assisted suicide) is your number one tactic, how can you cry if a couple shots are volleyed your way and if you bring us in the gutter and occasionally the sewage spills on you, is it really fair to complain and be the victim?

THE NEED FOR PEOPLE TO TAKE THIRD PARTIES SERIOUSLY – this cycle rankles one of my many political pet peeves. We as people all over the world cry and complain over the status quo especially in political systems that have come to be dominated, if not defined, by two opposing political parties. Yet no matter how disillusioned we become with these two parties we are caught in the trap of “vote vote vote” and its evil cousin “you have to vote for one of the main parties because third parties can’t win.” Well what is the chicken and what is the egg? I put it to you that third parties have the potential to breathe new life into US politics and politics worldwide by changing the narrative, even if they don’t win. And either way they will never be able to win until people start taking them seriously. Regarding changing the narrative, the US right now gives a perfect example. Both the major political parties have by and large coalesced around the centre-right portion of politics. Neoliberalism and Neorealism are essentially one and the same and in an oversimplified way all they focus on is free trade and war. Can any real Progressive say that the Democratic Party is a party now acting upon Progressive views beyond tokenism with race, gender and sexual orientation? The party is largely Republican and the Republicans have shifted even further right. A different set of people with different perspectives that are backed by enough people would force traditional parties to actually focus on the things that matter to the masses. A lot more can be said but I feel if I were American I would be voting for the Green Party.

2016, Brexit has just taken an interesting turn this week and we are 4 days away from the Grabber vs Email election– Oh what a time to be alive.

PS – the videos below explore the issues of “false equvalence” and “third parties” respectively.

 

On September 15, 2016 one of Jamaica’s most well-known clergymen Rev. Merrick “Al” Miller was sentenced to a fine of J$1,000,000.00 or a term of 12 months in prison following his conviction for “Perverting the course of justice.” This conviction has come about due to his now infamous role in the drama that ended in the ultimate arrest of Jamaica’s most wanted fugitive Mr. Christopher “dudus” Coke following the events of great upheaval in May 2010.

I have very strong feelings about this case in terms of the ethics of what Rev. Miller was doing on the day in question and the larger society is torn on this matter. There are some saying “no-one is above the law” and wished to see a greater punishment. Conversely, there are those who see Rev. Miller as a sacrificial lamb, who was giving a heroic and helping hand to the State in a perilous time who has been thrown to the wolves by those he indeed sought to assist. Ultimately, the final arbiter of legal right or wrong in the land has found the pastor guilty of an offence.

Rather than further delving into the merits of this conviction or the “rightness” of Rev. Miller’s actions, I actually want to tread on what might be more controversial territory and that is the interplay between ones moral/religious beliefs of right or wrong and the law. My conclusion is that the reaction of Rev. Miller to his fate, though seemingly begrudgingly on his part, is instructive in how I think this relationship between religion, in this case Christianity, and the law should be treated.

Rev. Miller has said and implied several things that I do not agree with but where we are at one is his explanation for why he will not appeal the decision of the Courts in this matter. He essentially stated that though he does not agree with the decision, as a Christian principle , doing what we feel is “right” can run counter to the law and/or have grave negative consequences. If we feel our action to be right then we are to do right no matter what the consequences are. Therefore rather than wishing for the legal consequences to be eased because of our Christianity, we should face them head on accepting that it is honourable to suffer for doing right if we truly feel we are right.

To be abundantly clear, I am on no way endorsing the choices of Rev. Miller in his episode with Mr. Coke, in fact based on the information I have encountered about the incident, his actions at best leave me uncomfortable. I am however saying that for persons who ascribe to the Christian faith or any moral compass really, doing what we feel is right can come with harsh repercussions. Too often especially Christians want everything in the world to operate based on their/our principles and all structures in the world should bend to the views of the Church.

I struggle to see a biblical basis for this self-entitlement syndrome but I stand to be corrected. The Bible, from my understanding, intimates that the Christian standard and the “world” or legal standard can and often will be at odds. If ascribing to the former leads to trouble with the latter sometimes we might just have to “hug it up.”

Don’t confuse me to be saying unjust laws should not be challenged. My larger point is that the role of the Christian is not to try and legislate morals and feel so special that the law will always be in alignment with one particular moral code. When we start to think that way we become lazy and want the law to do our job for us.

National servant or egregious wrongdoer? That is in the eye of the beholder. But for certain no-one is above the law. Though probably half halfheartedly, I am impressed by the Good Reverend’s “submission” to the law of the land. His alleged choice of “chariot” to leave his sentencing hearing…not so much.

Selah!

“…the burkini ban is intended to liberate women from Islamist ideas.”

“Beachwear which ostentatiously displays religious affiliation, when France and places of worship are currently the target of terrorist attacks, is liable to create risks of disrupting public order…”

The two quotes above make me really really angry. They represent what can only be described as the hypocrisy and underlying racial/ethnic and religious bigotry that has come up Trumps over the past couple years, particularly since the so called war on terror and which has intensified with the rise of the so called Islamic State. And although we attribute a lot of this hateful aura globally on the New York billionaire, ironically, the land of Liberté, égalité, fraternité (liberty, equality, fraternity) has become (or for some continues to be) almost the headquarters for subtle and not so subtle discrimination

But let us pick them apart one by one.

I honestly think the first quote moves beyond the realm of irony and comes down to just plain stupidity. But not really stupidity at all but an underlying “us versus them” “we are good anything else is less.” Think about what it is really saying. We believe that every woman wearing this article of clothing (full body swimsuit and tunic) has been forced to wear it by an evil and wicked ideology that has committed the cardinal sin – taking away their right to choice. So what do we do to fix that problem…TAKE AWAY THEIR CHOICE!!! So either the anti burkini squad are clearly stupid and can’t reason logically or their minds and decision making are clouded by hidden or not so hidden bigotry and discrimination.

Then comes the second. It has a thin veil of believability. This current climate of Islamist attacks in France really makes it plausible that religious symbols might stir up trouble. The problem though is that the application of this principle is quite direct, obvious and skewed. Put simply, I’m sure a nun wearing a full Habit on the beach on the French Riviera would not attract the attention of the police. Also I’m sure no crosses, rosaries or yarmulkes are going to be confiscated and their wearers pressured. So again I ask is this legitimate security concern or is it plain bold face discrimination.

 

Liberté, égalité, fraternité – Fact or Fiction?

 

See articles below for more on this topic:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/aug/24/french-police-make-woman-remove-burkini-on-nice-beach

The Winner in France’s Burkini Ban? Its Inventor.

 

 

 

Unless you’ve been living under a rock you know that the United States of America has been thrust back into the spotlight with two very high profiled police shootings of Black men – Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Philando Castile in St. Paul, Minnesota. These acts have personally hurt me greatly but I have been trying very hard to not make any grand comment on this new wave of outrage. Today that came to an abrupt end as one letter to the editor in today’s edition of the Jamaica Observer “draw mi out” in the Jamaican vernacular.

The letter went down the increasingly popular road that the now popular Black Lives Matter movement is not only racist but akin to the Ku Klux Klan. that is where my restraint ended. Below is a version of a letter to the editor I immediately drafted in response.

I must confess a lot more could be said and I know I could have structured the response much better but as the words of the original letter (link below) really upset me I cannot say that my mind was operating at full capacity.

http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Black-Lives-Matter-movement-is-racist-_66851

Here goes…

Dear Editor,

I usually read the letters in your publication and nod in agreement or shake my head in disagreement and move on but today is not that day. One regular letter writer, like many tend to do, has transgressed by way of distorting facts and oversimplification. Put simply the letter of July 12, 2016 entitled “Black Lives Matter is Racist!” was just short of a joke. To say that the Black Lives Matter Movement (BLM) is racist is clearly a misunderstanding of history as well as the reasons it emerged and how the group operates.

If I recall correctly the group emerged formally out of a twitter hashtag campaign which engendered so much support after a series of high profile and dare I say unjustified killings of young black men none more so glaring than the snuffing out of the lives of Trayvon Martin in Florida and Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. These were the latest in a long history of state excess against Black Americans in the great ‘Merica which continues almost unabated. As a response to these atrocities mainly young black people took the stance that enough is enough.

Now the letter writer has decided that this group is racist on two main accounts:

1)      It is not up in arms about the recent killing of five police officers in Dallas Texas and

2)      It should be using “All Lives Matter.”

Honestly not even sure which of the two claims is more ridiculous. Firstly, let’s take an analogy – would you gatecrash a funeral and tell those grieving that “I too have felt loss.” Or if there is a breast cancer rally going one would you interrupt it under the banner of “but people have AIDS too”? No you wouldn’t. There are multiple issues that exist simultaneously and the fact that persons are seeking to speak out on matters that are of existential importance to them does not make them racist. Never mind that all official BLM operatives I am aware of have cried foul on the murder of the Dallas police officers, that is a fact that is inconvenient to simplistic arguments. The kind of simplistic arguments that do not countenance that we can both denounce the senseless killing of these officers and demand justice and critique law enforcement when they stray into the realm of excess.

This is the thing, in the history of the world only black people are asked to tone down or apologise for not accepting atrocities meted out to them. All lives matter as a mantra spits in the face of the fact that the history of the USA in particular shows that the lives of Black people have mattered very little. And a news flash for the “All Lives Matter” crowd no-one saying Black Lives Matter has ever said ONLY Black lives matter or white lives should matter less, it is a simple cry for Black lives to matter equally recognizing that until they do then it is impossible to say ALL Lives Matter.

The objective facts are there, hundreds of people of colour, particularly black people have died at the hands of the state with impunity. At the same time several very dangerous white offenders have been in standoffs with the police that have been skillfully de-escalated so that they can rightly be arrested and ALIVE. All lives matter? As an ideal that is like saying the sky is blue, but it is unfortunately not the reality at this time.

Any person who cannot see this is willfully ignorant of history and facts.

Even worse the writer goes on to compare the KKK and BLM saying black groups “promoting the interests of black people” are no different from those “promoting the interests of white people.” Anyone who wishes to explicitly or implicitly define the KKK as a group “promoting the interests of white people” and at the same time equating Black Lives Matter, and by subtle implication, the long list of past Black Civil Rights organizations cannot and should not be taken seriously on this matter.  Like honestly, lynching people and burning crosses on their front lawns were all a part of protecting the “interests of white people.” Gimme a break.

I am tired of seeing black people forced to apologise for asking, and when fed up, demanding to be treated as human beings. If that is the new definition for racist sign me up and ship me my Black Lives Matter T-shirt.

Selah.

The horrendous acts that transpired in a principally Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Transgender (LGBT) Night Club in Orlando Florida and the raising of the Rainbow Flag at the US Embassy in Kingston plus the “interesting” response of Jamaica’s Attorney General have all combined to reignite the never ending “debate” on the morality, acceptability and rights afforded to the LGBT community in Jamaica.

Rather than some expansive prose, below is a list of my  main sentiments on the LGBT discourse in Jamaica in general and the above-mentioned incidents in particular.

  1. I am a Christian. My views on the morality of homosexuality are largely influenced by that. So if I am honest with myself I am not 100% comfortable with it.
  2. Christianity or no, the notions of Universal Human Rights are also a part of my personal morals.
  3. The right to life, the right to freedom of conscience (which enables free speech/free expression freedom of and from religion), and the right to freedom from discrimination based on being the member of some target group are all things that I value.
  4. With the above in mind especially freedom of conscience, privacy and non-discrimination I do not believe it is my place to impose my chosen way of life and perspective on another free adult.
  5. No matter how queasy certain things make me feel personally, what consenting adults do in their life, that is not significantly affecting me or the rights of others is their business.
  6. Tolerance is the standard that both sides of this divide should be striving towards. But tolerance can have a negative connotation so probably we can shift the standard to “mutual respect for difference.”
  7. Persons with strong moral objections to homosexuality and those who are far more liberal perhaps will never ever truly agree.
  8. However, those who object, should accept that moral objection does not have to be twinned with hate and discrimination and those who are more liberal should accept that not every moral objection is one of hate or means that the homophobia label must be attached.
  9. However, objectors especially self-professed Christians/religious people definitely need to realise, that the nature of their objection, particularly the inconsistency in the amount of effort spent on this sin versus others, helps to sow the seeds of hate and intolerance in a space where constructive conversation from a position of respectful disagreement may be more useful. It is this hate and aggression that when unchecked or continuously stoked that can lead to heinous hate crimes
  10. With respect to the night club in particular, if in any way you rejoiced in what has happened then you may need to look into your humanity. No matter what you feel about a man, that man has blood running through his veins. A life is a life and we should mourn any loss of life. Suggesting that this was somehow God inspired retribution would logically imply t hat the poor little children who died in Sandy Hook a couple years back were also somehow being punished. Careful with that line of thinking.
  11. I understand the persons who say but why is international outrage always more, when the lives lost are from “The West” I really do and I agree wholeheartedly. Evil acts occur daily but popular sentiment is skewed towards the west and/or groups with a strong international voice. But still a life is a life. So don’t position this as an either/or choice. And what irks me is that the same crowd that is quick to say “so what about what happened in X” often have nothing to say on these issues until something else happens and they bring it up as the reason they are not going to participate in the newer outcry. Let us, mourn and where possible do what we can to prevent tragedies no matter where they are. Also understanding the biases of the global media, don’t assume everybody knows of every tragedy that you do. Spread the word, help others understand issues that you understand better or know of before them. People who are willingly ignorant on the other hand…light them up for sure.
  12. With respect to the flag at the embassy, again, personally not my favourite thing, but my personal view shouldn’t and legally cannot stop others from utilizing their fundamental right of free expression, also as pseudo sovereign space of the US Government the larger message I feel was support for one set of citizens that were collectively mourning. I can’t see the big fuss with that in and of itself.
  13. I do however also think that a subtle or even not so subtle chess move/power play was also opportunistically taken by the embassy to remind us of their advocacy for a shift in popular opinion on the matter at hand. This utilization of soft hegemonic aka gently flexing that “world boss” power in this case is more offensive and noteworthy to me than what the flag itself represents.
  14. Late night tweets are not always the wisest decisions.
  15. Finally, pretty sure that the fire and brimstone and liberal coalitions will both take issue with aspects of this, but on this day I feel comfortable in where I stand. Just hope if you disagree we can do so respectfully and have a reasoned discussion if not…Oh well!

 

Peace/Salaam/Shalom