International Peace Day: Where Jamaica Stands...
Today is the Intentional day of peace as celebrated by the United Nations. The General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples with this year's topic being "The Sustainable Development Goals: Building Blocks for Peace." But where does Jamaica stand on this day? Where are we going?
To the the world, Jamaica is marketed as a tourist paradise with white sand beaches, a interesting history and a culture that is both captivating an engaging; at least that's what the message the Jamaica Tourist Board hopes is being transmitted. Unfortunately, we are a land that has a murder rate only seen in countries at war and a deeply ingrained culture of silence towards it. The "informa fi dead" or "snitching" culture is alive an thrives here aided by a well funded and well established network of criminals who have connections within the government and police force. This makes it difficult to tackle the problem of violence as it infects almost all levels of our society. There is no doubt that most Jamaicans want peace, no one likes waking up to a news report of another murder or another rape of a child or the robbery of their neighbours.
But how do we move forward if the systems we put in place are failing? When the culture embraces violence and stubbornly refuses to change? How do we answer a question that needs answering on a nationwide scale, but with persons who are too afraid to even ponder it? Their fear is understandable, for standing up means being singled out. It means that your family is targeted and essentially marked for death. It means an uncomfortable look at society, at one's self and saying that we have failed and need to change. Something that is not not an easy task to do because it is involves admitting we were doing something we wrong in public and no one likes that.
Jamaica has come a long way in its 54 years of independence. We have made our name on the world stage despite our limitations; we are a sprinting superpower, a cultural oasis and tropical paradise. But if we are to be frank, we have a basket of deplorables that are wreaking havoc on our nation and persons are waiting for someone else to to take the first step in solving OUR problem of crime. Today, I ask you to make the first step and the building block for peace.
Writer's Note: I decided to deliberately keep this post short. There isn't much I can add to the argument that hasn't been said by writers with more clout than I. But we as Jamaicans need to take a step back and stop talking and do what needs to be done. We are busy fighting over petty matters without seeing that our society is rapidly destroying itself. We need to be true Jamaicans that fight for our country at all times and not just when it's the Olympics. Walk good.
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