A recent upsurge in crime over the last few weeks has Jamaicans gravely concerned. Last week's discovery of the body of an eleven (11) year old boy was the latest in a string of attacks against the nation's children. Jamaican blogger (and mother) iriegal of A Fe Me Page Dis Iyah reveals that her own daughter was almost victim to a sexual crime and in a letter to the perpetrator cries out:
You are a sexual deviant, a pariah. When you decided that you wanted to harm an innocent person. A person who did not even know you were attempting to violate them then you doomed yourself to your own demons.
Compounding the situation, young women have also been targeted recently, with an upswing in the number of rapes and abductions in certain areas of Kingston, leading some to suggest the possibility of gang initiation being the underlying cause. Trinifem2 of Transition Sunshine examines her feelings about living in Jamaica, and how her behaviour has had to change in recent times:
I have often repeated that I refuse to feel caged up or threatened by the crime in Kingston. I face each day with joy and enthusiasm using the same precautions I would utilize in any major city. However, of late I have been coordinating with pals to run, walk and cycle in groups which I must admit has been a first for me as I have always enjoyed the freedom of bolting out solo.
Early morning walks alone and saying, “Howdy!” to people on the streets has been restricted […] I have attempted to stop watching the 7pm local nightly news […]
[…] I have resorted to reading the newspapers and listening to radio talk shows only.
Will an illiterate, angry, uncaring and unforgiving individual who may have never experienced gentleness or kindness, get up one day and recognize that his daily acts of fighting, stabbing, shooting and raping are wrong?
Whose responsibility is it to teach a man or woman right or wrong? Good or bad?
Email calls for a peaceful protest have begun circulating, with the complete text being shared by several bloggers asking Jamaicans to come out to support. Jamaican blog Long Bench asks their readers to “spread the word widely“, posting the entire email text. Expat trinifem2 of Transition Sunshine also posted the email within minutes of receiving it, expressing optimism through a YouTube video of the Loius Armstrong classic “What a Wonderful World“.
The message, purporting to be from Aloun Ndombet-Assamba, former Minister of Tourism, Entertainment & Culture for Jamaica, invites Jamaicans to join a march on Wednesday November 19th, 2008, which is the International Day for Prevention of Child Abuse.
So much of us have been talking on the phones, on verandas about what’s been happening in Jamaica these last three weeks. Here is an opportunity to do something more. Each of us need to stop being crippled by fear and do what we can to make a change.
Wear white for peace. Pass it on. Participate. Jamaica can be so incredibly beautiful, but it's currently in crisis.
Jamaican blog Long Bench reserves comment on the event but invites readers to:
[…] show up at the vigil and then come back and tell me how it was for you.
Although the impact of this event and its message will not be known until after it takes place, most Jamaicans, like trinifem2 of Transition Sunshine, remain ever “hopeful that things will soon change.”