Will poor lives ever matter?Sunday, March 28, 2021
IN the eighties and nineties after years of the world accepting and even endorsing the South African Government's racial policy of apartheid, economic sanctions were finally widely introduced.
These measures were introduced by Jamaica first and as far back as the 70s, it sits as our greatest non-sport international accolade.
The greatest nations of the world did nothing really, until it became an embarrassment to them.
Rhodesia had similar policies and enjoyed a great relationship with many European countries. England even declared Nelson Mandela – the freedom fighter – a “terrorist”. He endured this designation up to 2008, whilst the rest of the world worshipped him.
The Chinese Government is currently being criticised for its participation in the Uighur genocide taking place in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR). I imagine there will be international condemnation of these atrocities. Still, Jamaica and most western nations will still trade with them.
My point? Economics trumps poor people's lives every time. There is not really a genuine concern about the murders being perpetrated by evil, unless that evil is a government and that government is economically unimportant.
The Government of the Dominican Republic is still pursuing its racist policies against third-generation black citizens in their country, using the cloak of their Haitian heritage as an excuse.
We are not doing anything about it and the rest of our region couldn't care less.
Haitian bandits are killing cops, emptying prisons and killing at will and I do not see a joint military exercise being planned by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) or a Caribbean/North American alliance. You see, as I said, killing innocent people is only an issue when it is being done by a government – and usually a 'bruk' one.
So let us go local. Our people are killed at a rate of over 1,000 every year. I do not see one human rights organisation – worldwide or local – championing the cause of our murdered. In fact, the European Union refuses to sell us guns because of it. So we are being sanctioned because we are being murdered.
Now, what do you eat to be able to belch up rubbish like that rule? If we had too many fires would you refuse to sell us dry chemicals to put them out?
We are not asking you to sell guns to the gunmen. We want you to sell us legal, registered guns! So, you see my point, no one gives a row of pins that poor people are being killed. It is just politics!
Maybe it is time to move towards real independence. Can we not invite an armament manufacturer to make guns on our shores, like what occurs in free zones with garments? We then would not have to kiss foreign governments' behinds for them to sell us weapons to defend ourselves from local killers being funded by overseas-based gangsters.
Stock control in the arms industry is very doable, we can secure it and trust me, guns are already out there like cigarettes. If you cannot acquire arms without begging another country to allow it then your independence is a farce.
Let us go back in time. During the Jewish genocide of the 30s and 40s most countries said they did not know it was happening so they could not target the specific camps as part of their military strategy. The German people said they had no knowledge of the structured slaughter of their former friends and neighbours, or they would have done more, or even done something. Well I cannot say I believe them but I cannot prove anything, so I have to take their word. You know of the Uighur genocide taking place now as you read this article.
What will our leader do? Better yet, what would Michael Manley have done? What would Alexander Bustamante or Norman Manley have done? What will you do? Will you boycott their products? Our prime minister is in a very difficult position, as China is a big part of our economic support system.
What will the USA do? And the European Union, what can they do? More importantly, what would they have done if the victims were white? Would the situation have been treated differently?
Technically, if we accept this genocide and keep smiling then we would have accepted the Jewish genocide, or the apartheid disgrace. We would then be as marked as Switzerland and England. Food for thought.
Locally, almost every year we have had over 10 times the number of people killed by gunmen than by the armed forces. Yet not one organisation has championed the cause of the murdered. Why is it that it is less important if it is ten times more prevalent?
A lawyer and supporter of local human rights organisations explained to me that their mandate is structured to fight State excesses. Okay, fair enough. But why? What is the driving force behind your passion? Do you care about people? If so, do you care about human suffering?
If you say yes then I would expect that you would target the greatest creator of said suffering, not the least.
Is it that there is no money or less money in human suffering caused by criminals than in suffering endured by them?
Well, at this juncture I am calling on Jamaicans of any creed, rich or poor, black or white, police or civilian, to rise up and help to fight the group that is slaughtering Jamaica's poor – the gunmen.
They are killing women, children, the elderly and young men like themselves. The victims of their activities are at breaking point. The innocents' families have to endure politicians smiling with the perpetrators at election time and our middle class calling them victims of State suppression when they are deprived of their liberty for a few days too long.
It is time for all who have complained to act! Form an organisation to represent the victims of Jamaica's gangs. Take this cause to the international level. It will not be easy, so you'd better be rich. You will be going up against an incredible lobby and the least of your opponents will be the gangs you target. But, you will have tried.
You will have at least made a statement that poor lives matter, even if there is no money to be made from international handouts, or votes, or national awards. And maybe, just maybe, you could make a difference.
At the very least you will sleep better.
Dr Jason McKay is a criminologist. Feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org
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