Lashing your own

Lashing your own

Sunday, August 09, 2020

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Recently, a media story indicating that a Rastafarian child's right to wear locks to school had been breached resulted in a tirade on social media, defiling three of our country's judges directly and the island's entire cadre of judges indirectly.

Now, I refuse to go into the details of this ridiculous subject on the same weekend we are burying our friend and colleague who was murdered. It is just too silly a discussion at a time when our nation is bleeding, broke and in fear of a killer virus.

What I will say is this: The judges did nothing wrong. This was never a case brought to the court on the basis of religious freedom, neither was any party claiming to be Rastafarian.

There is no part of our constitution that covers the wearing of your hair as a fashion choice. There is protection for decisions taken based on religion, but there were no issues relating to prejudicial treatment because of a religious choice. I am saying this simply to say that the judges followed the law as it is stipulated. Full stop!

Judges are hired to make decisions based on law, not personal sentiment. That is all they can do. If they act based on their own views, they are not doing their jobs. That being said, the irresponsible headlines and the social media tirade were repulsive. Judges and other public servants are not 'punching bags' and this distasteful conduct is simply demonstrating the lack of respect that exists in the society as a whole.

No one respects anyone who is not in a position to ram their teeth down their throat or shoot them. That is why taxi men and windshield wipers say anything that comes to their mouth in their daily abuse of the rest of society, because they have no respect for themselves and only govern their tongue when they have to account for it.

They are usually silent when the don is taking their money for extortion. That makes them cowards. You are no better when you hide behind a keyboard and abuse jurists who have foregone fortunes in private practice for a lifetime of administering justice to a country in crisis.

The attorney who brought the case and fuelled the fire needs to begin governing his tongue. He was the same one who inferred that police officers are dunces because they only require five CSEC subjects to join the force. I won't bother to blast him, as I believe Senior Superintendent of Police Wayne Cameron has adequately done so. But I will point out to him that you only need high school qualifications to be an officer in the Jamaica Defence Force, and they also do a great job.

This is because military and police training take place at the specific academy and then during a lengthy probation period. This is called on-the-job training. The entry requirements simply get you through the door.

I imagine that what I'm hearing is youthful exuberance from a man who lives in a proverbial glass house and has learnt his lesson about throwing stones. So I think he will do better going forward.

Now, back to the cowards. No, not the taxi men who abuse the vulnerable. I am talking to the trolls who hide behind the veil of anonymity. You learnt the truth when you read the judgement. So how do you plan to repair the damage you have done?

I see no apologies online. Or is this silence indicative of regret? Well, it is not good enough! All concerned, from formally employed writers to trolls, need to apologise and learn from this experience.

What should they learn? To do their research before administering punishment and to respect judges and other public servants, not only because they are working for your society, but because they are human. And humans, like all things living, deserve respect.

In closing, I will ask this: At a time when our country is mourning the murder of over 600 people this year and our world is facing a modern-day plague, should we really be having this conversation about hairstyle?

Religious freedoms, yes, but hairstyle? Come on, man! Who really cares? This is like Nero fiddling while Rome burned. How did this rubbish get to a courthouse? People cannot reason and find common ground on even this? You carry this to court?

There are people in custody being held without trial for over a decade in Jamaica because they are not fit to plead — and for fineable offences — and we are worrying about this.

We are going to improve as a whole when each one of us first realises he is part of an entire system. There is no “them”. Public servants serve you!

We are all a part of one country. The people you malign are your own. Respect them because the system you are condemning is the only one. If you disgrace it, you disgrace yourself.

We are all a piece of one whole we call Jamaica and if any part smells foul, we all stink.

Feedback: jasonamckay@gmail. com


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