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The gauntlet of good men

Sunday, July 21, 2019

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Throughout the occupation of France by Nazi Germans in World War II, there were four constant factors: brutality, resistance, collaboration, and groups in conflict. Strangely enough, the groups in conflict were not only divided by international nationalities, but conflicts also existed between citizens of France.

There was a group known as the Vichy that served as a puppet government in France and represented a level of institutionalised collaboration with the invaders. That baffles me. But it happened.

Groups that baffle me exist in Jamaica too. We are not really divided by colour. There are racial groups, but hatred based on race is virtually non-existent. There are separate classes, but again, no hate, a little conflict, and a lot of not caring, but no hate.

What really divides us is who is anti-gang and who is anti-police. The gangs do not factor in either of the two groups, they are just that “garbage heap” that causes the conflict.

The anti-gang and the anti-police lobbies are actually both good sets of people, they just do not approve of the activities of the group they oppose. They may even hate the groups they oppose. This does not make either group bad necessarily, just caught in the furore of their emotions.

The police force as an organisation is included in the anti-gang lobby group, along with a large but silent lot of frustrated Jamaicans who are tired of the killing. Alleged human rights groups and their creations are anti-police by their mandate.

To be honest, I do not think we have human rights groups in Jamaica, or they would be enemies of the gangs, who are the biggest perpetrators of human rights abuses in Jamaica. That being said, the above are essentially good people — whether anti-gang or anti-police. They just disagree and have allowed hate of what a group represents to extend to hatred of the organisations they oppose.

I am guilty of that also. I am absolutely anti-gang to the point of hatred. This I see as a flaw, and I am working on it. However, I govern my hatred to be directed to the institution, rather than the individuals.

There is another group not yet mentioned. This is the subgroup of descendants of the slaves, who were emancipated in 1834, that has not significantly improved economically or socially. This group stands separate from the other descendants who have progressed economically and otherwise, and are educated. The improved groups' descendants are our political leaders and largely make up our middle class.

The formerly mentioned group of unimproved persons is the group that is the primary victim of a number of elements. They are victims of an insane emancipation treaty that compensated the offenders rather than the victims. They are victims of institutionalised neglect. They are the primary victims of the gangs and their penchant for ending lives as one would in a video game.

Part of the reason that they are in this crisis day after day is the inability of the anti-gang lobby and the anti-police lobby to put aside our differences and work together for a solution. I wonder if we would do better if we were burying our sons rather than our gardeners' sons. Or if it were our daughters being sent for by your dons rather than our helpers' daughters.

So, let us rationalise. The anti-police lobby says that police abuses extend to the group I refer to as victims. Even if I were to agree that there could be an overlap, I believe that few would disagree that the primary throat that police boots rest on are gang members'.

The anti-gang lobby says that all that is done is necessary. However, it could be reiterated that explanations similar to that were used in Rwanda, Armenia, and Ethiopia.

The misunderstanding is that good causes are fought with reason. They are not!

The anti-abortion lobby has a noble cause, but they burn clinics and use violence against would-be pro-choice mothers. Environmentalists, such as Greenpeace, have used measures that include sabotage.

Jamaica's anti-police lobby is abjectly hostile and takes pride in arresting police officers and destroying careers. The anti-gang lobby, which again includes me, is myopic, stubborn, and living in the past. And whilst we all as good men are refusing to actually listen and negotiate with an aim to finding a solution to the defeat of this garbage dump of killers, the persons bearing the consequences are the same unimproved subset of persons who descended from the emancipated victims of 1834.

Compromise is necessary in any debate geared towards a solution. The Irish Republican Army ran a programme of 'Out with the Brits' for decades. It went nowhere because asking the descendants of the conquering English to leave was not logical.

I agree, they should never have been there. But, three generations of Irish later those who happened to have an English great grandfather were still Irish. Only when compromise was reached did the conflict end — 3,000 dead people later.

It is illogical to think that the gangs of Jamaica will be defeated without gunfights and casualties that will largely be gang members. They have proved themselves useless combatants and only effective against persons who cannot protect themselves. The anti-police lobby needs to accept that. The anti-gang lobby needs to understand that the world is not going to accept that the gun battles between police and gangsters is nobody else's business.

There are going to be consequences, both to the economy and to the careers and liberty of police officers.

The change will only come when the pain begins to be felt by the decision makers, and solutions become more important than furthering a cause.

Feedback: jasonamckay@gmail.com


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