West Indians have a saying, “If you don't laugh, you'll cry.” Certainly, the current wave of violence in Jamaica – centered around the government's agreement to extradite Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke to the United States to face drug and arms trafficking charges – is no laughing matter. Bloggers have been earnest in their attempts to disseminate information responsibly in order to get the word out to both their compatriots and the international community about what the situation on the ground is like under the existing state of emergency. But after days of sobering news in which police stations have been set on fire and defense force personnel, gang members and ordinary citizens have reportedly been killed, bloggers clearly needed to seek out the amusing aspects of an otherwise untenable situation.
It started when @anniepaul tweeted:
Shortly afterwards, she retweeted @cucumberjuice's amusement over the reporter's pronunciation of Dudus’ name:
Then, in response to @cucumberjuice's tweet about the network's profile of the Top 5 drug lords, @anniepaul quipped:
The one-liners continued:
…a reference to the name of the gang that ‘Dudus’ allegedly operates in the Tivoli Gardens area of Kingston.
@Fledgist, a fellow blogger who knows that @anniepaul has been in Barbados attending a conference, got in on the fun by linking to a Barbados Free Press post bemoaning the fact that a hand painted sign in support of ‘Dudus’ “was seen…on the left-hand side of Collymore Rock Road going towards Wildey from Bridgetown”:
Rogue elements in neighbouring Barbados support Dudus as his supporters in Western #Kingston challenge Jamaican security forces who are trying to arrest him. #Jamaica #Barbados
…to which @anniepaul replied:
Then came the news that the Jamaican government issued a statement “blaming users of social networks such as Facebook and Twitter for spreading what it says is ‘inaccurate and misleading’ information”. Instead of reacting angrily to the accusation, bloggers simply laughed:
Finally, in response to concerns that Jamaica's international image, so critical to its tourism industry, is taking a beating, @Gordonswaby made it clear: