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:
CNN about to feature Jamaica, Rick says they sent one of their best correspondents and he arrived in Kingston today.
Shortly afterwards, she retweeted @cucumberjuice's amusement over the reporter's pronunciation of Dudus’ name:
i know, too funny re CNN newscast RT @cucumberjuice: DWL @ the pronunciation of “Dudus” it came out as “Dooodaas”
cracking up in Barbados! RT @cucumberjuice: Stop it! LOL RT @MsRaine: #QUICKQUESTION Uh, CNN, who the hell is Doodas?
Then, in response to @cucumberjuice's tweet about the network's profile of the Top 5 drug lords, @anniepaul quipped:
Doodus not one of dem RT @cucumberjuice: CNN showing the top 5 drug lords
The one-liners continued:
Q: What do Tivoli residents use to screen their windows? A: SHOWER curtains…
…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”:
@anniepaul Annie, I know you didn't do this! http://bit.ly/cokbT9
@persephone101 was also on the ball, linking to an On The Ground News Reports update that stated:
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
@anniepaul How come you didn't break this first? I thought you were the roving reporter! http://bit.ly/cRsGWV
…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:
@LabrishJamaica: LOL! Government blames social networks over Tivoli http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Government-blames-social-networks-over-Tivoli
@DiWaltham: The ppl on twitter said #blameBruce, but now Bruce blaming the people on Twitter. #blameTwitter
@endzoftheearth: I think it was the 2 days of silence and precious little communication with the country, not social media that is to blame!
Finally, in response to concerns that Jamaica's international image, so critical to its tourism industry, is taking a beating, @Gordonswaby made it clear:
Jamaica's image is not tarnished. Usain Bolt just needs to break some more records. We're counting on you Bolty. Lol