Yetanya's cry

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

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Dear Editor,

One sure sign that a society has become dangerously carnal, callous and uncaring is when the desperate cries of a young, helpless Jamaican girl are heard but not answered.

Yetanya's cry, based on media reports, were clear and were heard. We teach our young people to have a voice and to use their voices not only to declare who they are and what they desire, but also as an instruments of self-defence and resistance.

Yetanya used her voice. She cried out desperately for help. She obviously had faith in her community. She must have been thinking in those frightening moments as she fought off her evil and devilish attackers that someone would care enough and be courageous enough to come to her rescue.

Yetanya's cries were heard, but no one came to her rescue. Yetanya Francis was brutally raped, murdered and burnt. Evil men, the scum of society, have once again struck a deadly blow. This 14-year-old Kingston Technical High School student, resident of Paradise Court, experienced a horrible end to her short journey of life. She lived, she cried, she died. She died alone with no one to her rescue.

For those who heard Yetanya's cry, could it be that they were afraid? Maybe they knew enough about the context and the men involved that they dared not venture to Yetanya's rescue. Perhaps there are those who are lamenting today that they didn't follow their instinct to act, even risking their own safety. There may even be some in the community who now cannot sleep because the Yetanya's cries are still ringing in their ears.

I am not in a position to scoff at those who didn't respond. I am complicit in the abuse of many Yetanyas and Yetanya's brothers. My silence and indifference allow evil to thrive. How many cries have I paid scant regard to? How many Yetanyas have we left to the mercies of cold, devilish men?

The words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer are ringing in my ears, “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”

Let us speak and act now in this fight against evil. Evil loses its grip when it is exposed and countered with good. Those of us who are abusing the Yetanyas in our congregations, our schools, our communities and our families, let us stop. Those who are mismanaging national resources so that the security forces are starved of resources must respond to this wake-up call.

Yetanya Francis joins with Ananda Dean and their voices pierce our souls and our national conscience. Cry Yetanya, cry until we respond; cry Ananda, cry and disturb us until we are moved to do what is fair and just to our neighbour — be compassionate and loyal in our love, and take God seriously.

Rev Dr Roy Notice

Lead pastor

Waltham Park New Testament Church of God

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