Columns

The others among us

BY JASON McKAY

Sunday, December 01, 2019

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Historically , creating a designated title for a particular group that is treated as 'others' has resulted in dire consequences. The reason is that the group referred to by the definition becomes an outcast to the rest of society and is often blamed for the condition of society if viewed as depressed or wanting.

The Nazis, in the 1930s, used this technique against Jews and other groups often forgotten, such as disabled persons, freemasons, gypsies, homosexuals and blacks in their build-up to the takeover of Germany and it spelled disaster for all those groups.

The Turks, in the period leading up to and during World War I, used this technique against the Armenians, which led to the genocide of that group.

More recently, in 1994, the Tutsi tribe of Rwanda were the target of this technique by the Hutus. That ended with over a million dead in one month, courtesy of Government-encouraged machete massacres and the involvement of the military.

The use of this technique does not always result in as dramatic an outcome as in the above examples, and thus is not always recorded in history in similar notoriety.

However, the activities by several groups in the USA in the 50s made pariahs out of communists or even sympathisers. The Ronald Reagan-headed Screen Actors Guild led the charge to demonise often innocent people, who simply did not agree with their political views.

On a local level, the technique was used by the Michael Manley Government in the 1970s against the middle and upper classes and resulted in a mass exodus of human and financial capital.

The technique was used by human/criminal rights groups ever since the Nuttall shooting in 1993 to present times in relation to our armed forces. It isolated the Jamaica Constabulary Force and Jamaica Defence Force and assisted in the building of sustained animus that is more appropriate for an occupying foreign army.

I am against reducing any group to an outcast category, as it sets them up for oppression, unfair judicial treatment, or subjugation in one form or many. All above noted activities were either brutal, unnecessary, or sad chapters in world history.

However, what if the group among us deserves to be treated as outcasts because they are oppressing the rest of us?

Is it possible that the 'others' among us could be the gangs who destroy us?

The biggest misnomer ever sold to Jamaicans is that the average 'ghetto youth' is a gang member. The biggest victim of gang domination is the young males who occupy the inner-city. Their human rights are violated every day in relation to freedom of movement and speech, as well as political freedom, to name a few.

Sadly, there is no group representing them, unless they cross the floor to become criminals. That is when there are groups abound, and plenty funding to boot.

The police are not the enemy of the average young, inner-city male citizen. They are the enemy of the gangs. But no group will say that they represent 'oppressed gang members'. They have to say 'oppressed ghetto youths', or there would be no support from anyone, whether local, or internationally.

I think, though, that we can work this technique, but this time for good.

What if we could create a national thrust a movement to treat the gangs like outcasts: unclean and unworthy to be among us? Maybe then we could make gang membership seem less attractive.

Think. Someone telling the authorities where the gangs hide their guns maybe would not be seen as informing, but rather as saving innocent lives.

During World War II in occupied France, the French resistance was viewed by the populace as the warriors of the people. This despite efforts by the Nazis and the Vichy to criminalise them. The country, with few exceptions, had a national spirit that spoke to hatred of the Nazis.

Maybe if our musical artistes became vocal against gangs and referred to them in a manner that is similar to how they treat other groups that have done nothing to harm anyone, we could fuel this national passion.

This would be a far more positive activity than glorifying drive-by shootings and illegal guns.

However, it has to become a national movement that isolates gangsters as the enemy. A gang member must be viewed like a paedophile in a prison. It must start with our Members of Parliament dissociating themselves from this element, even if it means losing an election.

It must be supported by businessmen refusing to pay extortion fees, even if it affects their profits; by human rights groups, even if it impacts funding; and by the entertainment industry, even if they get fewer 'forwards'.

Human trafficking was attacked in song by several Jamaican artistes, mainly Sizzla, as well as Yola Moi, Sean Paul, Tessanne Chin, Protoje, and several others.

Their efforts helped to make the crime less acceptable to the Jamaican public and thus easier to combat. I see and feel a very negative atmosphere surrounding this crime in recent times and this is because of the efforts of the National Taskforce Against Trafficking in Persons, the police, the media and the aforementioned entertainment community.

It is the gangs' turn now.

This is probably the first time that isolation and public shaming could be used for good. That is because this is the first time that there is a group that is small enough for it to work against, dangerous enough for it to be needed and vile enough to be deserving of it.

Feedback: jasonamckay@gmail.com


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