Our own give us reason to hang our heads in shame
On the heels of buoyant messages from our political and civic leaders, and the nation’s chest stuck out filled with ambition for the new year, comes a most repugnant video making the rounds on social media of our people at their worst.
That there is disagreement does not offend. What is abhorrent is the horrid display of the oppressed and marginalised assaulting the oppressed and marginalised.
Too much has been achieved in the pursuit of sustained rights and opportunities for women and children to not hang our heads in shame at the sight of women and youngsters launching a barbaric attack on a young girl who, reports indicate, is 14 years old.
While there could exist no justifiable reason for such an attack, as details arise on the alleged contention which resulted in the pummelling from this group, there is realisation that moral degeneracy and plain wickedness are alive in our communities.
With the prospects of our physical and economic development always top of the agenda, we must come to the realisation that the social and moral fibre of our nation is at constant risk if the angry mob which unleashed its will on this young girl in Clarendon could be replicated elsewhere in this country.
Problem is, this scene could well have occurred in any of the thousands of communities across this country.
And so, roads fixed, hospitals stocked with supplies, and schools effectively teaching the three Rs mean absolutely nothing if the level of depravity displayed on the video goes without public opprobrium and the reach of the long arm of the law.
We note that the Child Protection and Family Services Agency is investigating the matter and “stands ready to provide the necessary support to the child and her family”. As well, subsequent videos indicate that the constabulary has corralled a few of the parties involved in the incident. But this must be seized as a turning point in our existence as a proud nation to stamp out such beastly and brutish behaviour.
We, in this space, know that all is not lost, and this is not insuperable. We take courage in Governor General Sir Patrick Allen’s ‘I Believe’ initiative which is buttressed in the belief that, “There is nothing wrong with Jamaica that cannot be fixed by what is right with Jamaica.”
As such, we yearn for a time when the tide of decency in this country will turn for the better. Still, where are the human rights activists and civil society commentators? Where is the denouncement from the usually vibrant social media influencers? Where are the Bible thumpers and those who look down their noses at individuals they consider different? Their silence in this matter serves only to lose the valuable teaching moment that it presents.
Had there been widespread support for efforts such as former Prime Minister PJ Patterson’s Values and Attitudes programme and the continued promulgation of the mandate of groups such as Boys’ Brigade, Girl Guides, Brownies, and the like, the existence of so many seeming beasts would have been stymied.
The resolution to such a shameless display must be as public as the act itself. We, in this space, commit to ventilating the matter — beginning with our banner story in this edition — as we “play our part in advancing the welfare of the whole human race”.