Drastic change, faith and a future you believe in


Drastic change, faith and a future you believe in


Sunday, May 31, 2020

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In 1944 in a village in France called Oradour, 652 civilians were murdered by a German military unit in retaliation for the killing of a German soldier by the French resistance.

The Germans put all the men into a barn and all women and children into the church and burnt both to the ground. This was the entire population of the village who they could find.

Now, although there were many atrocities committed by the German army in the war, this one, to me, represented the total disconnection of this country from any trace of humanity expected of citizens of planet Earth.

This same country has accepted more Syrian refugees than the entire European Union over the last five years, saving countless lives.

I say this to demonstrate that not just change, but drastic change, can occur within one's lifetime as it relates to the conduct of a country. So let's go local.

We are a great country. Our music, our athletes, our tolerance for race, religion and diverse cultures makes us unique in the world. But let's be frank. Our inability to protect our citizens from our citizens makes us the sore of the Caribbean.

Murder is the ultimate crime. We have been fighting and losing the battle to control our homicides for so long that we have come to accept that we cannot change.

This thought process is flawed. Before Norman Manley, education of the poor was limited to geniuses like former Prime Minister PJ Patterson.

Before Michael Manley introduced free education, we were still reliant on parental sacrifice.

Let's go more recent. When I was a young man, politicians and gunmen walked hand in hand. Mek dem try dat now.

When I left Calabar High School and started to work, if you wanted to buy a car you would have to write a letter to the dealer explaining why you needed one and go on a list about a mile long. You would never get one if you didn't have a 'contact'. Now, cars are here for sale like ticks on cows. You can take your pick and 'bawl' down the price. This situation I described prior lasted about 20 years.

There is more. The United States dollar was contraband and you could only carry US$50 with you when you travelled. If found with more going through the airport you could be arrested. And many were. Well, look at us now!

So the message here is that one day we can fix the homicide crisis. But it starts with a belief that it can be done. Then it needs to be followed by a leader who can pull it off. This leader will need a plan, in fact a drastic plan. That will be criticised by many, both home and abroad. He or she will need the support of all of us. But first we as a people have to believe that 45 years of slaughter can end. Then and only then will we support our leader.

This belief is important because the cure will be expensive, controversial, divisive and subject to international criticism.

We must believe that our leader must lead on his feet and not on his knees. We must believe that since we elected him we must trust in his decisions.

The solutions start with a declaration of war, an adjustment of laws, constitutional change and a public declaration of who are our enemies. This followed by an unbridled support of our armed forces to carry out the leader's plan.

I see a Jamaica that can have Caribbean rates of per capita homicide. That would be about 300 a year.

However, like Germany, which had to go through defeat and foreign occupation, we will have to endure great sacrifices and separation from the way we live.

The levels of power that the armed forces will need to fight this war will require great faith in a leader who won't become a despot.

The wide-ranging solutions that will involve indefinite detention of known gang members and a resolve of a country to look on our armed forces as soldiers for our freedom will need a populace that sees a future that is free from gang domination. But first, we have to believe that.

In just this year we have seen our lives totally reshuffled. How many of you ever thought that to go in a bank you have to look like you will rob it? You think you could have passed a bank security guard with a mask last year?

We took travel for granted. Try leaving now without a good fisherman friend, if you bad.

Embrace change, demand change and a leader will surface with the will to deliver it.

It may be the one we have now. I believe he could deliver. Or maybe it's one in the shadows waiting to take over.

I see quite a few who could fix this disaster. One has locks, one has intellect, one has purpose. All four seem to me to have the will. But they are nothing without your faith.

Feedback: jasonamckay@gmail.com

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