Dear Editor

ONCE UPON A TIME THERE WAS "RING- 'O- ROSES" "Ring-a-ring-a rosey, you pocket fulla posey..."

It was such joy to play this game and many others as a child. It was even more joy to watch children play this game and many others as an adult. <

The joy in their piercing gleeful laughter warms every muscle, tissue and tendons in one's body. The high pitched screams that are conjured from the deeps of their tummy penetrates the ear and create an air of bliss.

The innocence in their voices as they fight, cry, pacify, solve conflicts, and negotiate, reflected the angelic aura they are so blessed with.

As an adult you watch them at play to ensure no harm come to either one, and this is a chore that you relish doing without complaining about it being mundane.

Watching the spectacle of the playground, of children on the green, you longed to be a child once again so you could play "ring-a-ring-roses. But all this was once upon a time. The children no longer play on the green. The playgrounds are bare, and occasionally when occupied, children run, laugh, jump and roll under the watchful gaze of fearful, tense and concern guardians who constantly look at their watches. Who would have guessed that Jamaica would have been at a place where playtime is planned against the clock; revolve around watchmen and in worse cases, be limited to indoors?

Jamaica oh Jamaica, where did we go wrong? My heart is broken. I can no longer hear the "ring of-roses" embodied with childhood glee.

Instead I see rings of roses, beautifully compiled and cuddling with each other to show their assortment of colours, to celebrate a moment that one cannot appreciate. This ring-of roses is now called a wreath.

Oh ironic it is that the joy of seeing children picking flowers at play, adults are now giving it to them as the lay motionless in coffins. How ironic is it that the ring that children form at play, is the same ring we form around their grave to bid farewell? Oh ironic is it that the protectors of children have now become the perpetrators? My heart is heavy. From sodomizing to be-heading; kidnapping to stabbing; frequently raping. These create a collage of brutality that now forms the treatment handbook for children.

Three years old are among the victimized fold that extends to late teens and all others in between. The decadence of this nation knows no boundaries. While growing up, I was afraid of the black heart man parents use to talk about, but quickly learnt is was a myth. Until now. BIZZARE. BARBARIC. SAVAGE.

That is us. Each day I hear the news of another promising life been snuffed out, my body tremble, my tummy hurts. As Jamaicans would say "mi belly bun mi". Who are these supposedly humans that have no souls? I find it hard to think that some of us know them and chose to render an item of silence.

Something is rotten in the state of Jamaica. Antibiotics cannot fix this. We need complete amputation but what are we going to amputate? I am writing this but I cannot even proffer a suggestion as to how we can attempt to fix this urgent and gigantic issue because all that's happening is beyond my comprehension. I miss hearing rings-o'- roses.

I miss hearing the childhood glee, innocent laughter. I miss seeing children on the green. I miss the protective arm of adults towards children. Most of all, I miss seeing children grow up. Once upon a time, there was "ring-o'- rosey"

Dorraine Reid

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