Our PM and that damn 'bad word' law
We killed one of our own, one of our sisters, last Saturday in St Thomas.
But we killed two, assuming there were not two or more foetuses. She was eight months pregnant, and in circumstances to be fully determined in a court of law, she was shot in the head twice by an agent of the state whose duty it is to protect us, to serve and to reassure us.
As the reports state, her sister was also set upon by the policeman who, it is alleged, pumped the two bullets into a Jamaican woman's head and then shot the sister. I have deliberately omitted the names because they are all of us, part of us, and that other undefined part of us that revolves around us.
Is it possible that we can develop the capacity to feel the pain of the dead woman, and the last scream of her child drowning in its amniotic fluid in her womb, enough so that we can rise to the occasion to be human and Jamaicans and announce, "Enough is (expletive deleted) enough!"
The Jamaica Observer's Karyl Walker wrote a piece, "That damn bad word law" that is being discussed all over the place. What has plainly shocked me - a man who has been physically abused by policemen twice in my life - is that our people are unprepared to go any further than saying crazy things like: "The policeman should be hanged or should have been lynched by the crowd on that fateful day."
In Mr Walker's article, he artfully placed fabric against word and pointed out the stupidity of the law having any relevance now. Remember now, our sister who was killed was expressing in her own words her rage against what had happened to her while she was in Kingston earlier that day.
She was doing what any and every Jamaican does daily. Use the "RCs" and the "BCs", and do so freely. But even under the "fool-fool" Jamaican law, as long as the expression of these "bad words" does not impinge on the public space, that is, create public disorder, as long as our sister was using them copiously to anyone who was not offended, the policeman had no right to intercede.
I use Jamaican "bad words" more than most people I know. Over the years I have recognised that the more fluent one is in English language and in its use in Jamaica, the more confident one is in cussing two "BCs" or "RCs". To r...!
But I do not wish to be trivial. Our sister is dead and so is the last sound of her unborn baby. Remember now, she was not four months pregnant where the foetus would have been unviable outside of the sacred space of the amniotic sac. She had inside of her a human being ready to cease the functions of living on oxygenated fluid and open to seeing the light of day by breathing the air we all take for granted. Now both are dead in such a tragic fashion.
The real shocker is that this is somehow strange for the Jamaican police force, the JCF.
How many times have we known of reports of gunmen alleged to be on buses filled with law-abiding citizens, and what has the JCF done? Shot at the buses, injuring people.
The JCF has shot at cars said to have gunmen aboard, and in the process, they have killed innocent Jamaicans. In many of those cases the response from the JCF has been an attempt to criminalise the dead innocents in the vehicle.
Some years ago, it was the norm among armchair journalists, especially those who did not know one (expletive deleted) thing about the real road to say something like: "Although we are now faced with this criminal matter of police shooting innocent civilians and citing 'shootout' as the cause, we all know that the majority of the JCF are decent, law-abiding members. What a (expletive deleted) fallacy!
Where has it ever occurred in a blatant case of the police murdering poor people that any policemen have ever come out to take to the streets in protest? Never! That is the "squaddie" mentality where the most decent of cops keep their mouths shut because their "squaddies" are, like them, armed with deadly weapons.
I must confess that I am at a total loss in trying to figure out why a policeman would want to take in a woman eight months pregnant for, of all things, cussing a few bad words. Was he drunk that day? What was it about a so obviously pregnant woman that he did not understand? Was he cracking up, close to breaking point about some matter that we do not know of?
It has been reported that he shot her sister afterwards and was in the process of focusing on yet another sister in a violent manner. One hopes that the truth will unravel itself as the courts make their decision.
The PNP administration is headed by a woman. OK, and for those who no longer remember, the prime minister of this country is a woman, and we need not be reminded, we men that is, that women are the more sensitive and caring among us. Frankly, I can vouch for this, having grown up with my father, mother, five sisters and two brothers. Plus, for all the girls I've loved before, I have been the beast and they have been the caring, sensitive ones.
But how does this explain the silence of the prime minister? Is it because of political considerations that she can no longer - from the time when her love for the poor was worn on her chest like a badge of honour - afford to love the oppressed among us like our pregnant sister brutally killed in St Thomas?
Is she afraid to issue a voice of condemnation because one of her many, highly paid advisers/consultants said to her, "Madam PM, to do so would be to open the government of Jamaica to an admission of guilt."
Madam PM Portia Simpson Miller, fire dem (expletive deleted)! And please don't send the police for me.
I am, like most Jamaicans, incensed that our sister and the child in her womb died as the result of words used by university professors, judges of the courts, some teachers, doctors, the little man at street level, journalists and especially policemen, and the prime minister of the country - our-sister-in-chief - remains silent, says nothing, and is probably aiming to travel again soon.
Yes, her party condemned the killing, but this one calls for the personal touch. Prime Minister, why were you elected? To go off on junkets? Where is your DEMONSTRATED love for the poor? Sister-in-chief, where is your voice on behalf of our sister, our dead sister and her dead child, the poor, whom you say you love so dearly. PM, do you use words like b.... c.... and r... c....? I would not be surprised if you do. So?
Tell us, sister-in-chief, what must we now do to ensure that our poor sisters never again face the fate of last Saturday?
Frankly, I do not expect to hear even to one word from you. What a (expletive deleted)!