1.4.08

jah jah city

from the BBC
“Jamaica's poor have been abandoned by the government and left to the mercy of violent criminal gangs, Amnesty International says in a new report.
The human rights group said inner-city Jamaicans were being "held hostage" in the battle between gangs and the state.
Amnesty said Jamaican authorities had stigmatised and "wilfully neglected" inner-city communities.
Jamaica has one of the region's highest murder rates, with 1,500 homicides in 2007 and 272 police killings.
"Criminal gangs... keep thousands of people living in constant fear," Amnesty's Fernanda Doz Costa said.
"Entire populations are shut down by barricades and unable to leave their homes after 5pm. Children don't go out to school and adults don't go to work because transport is suspended."
The human rights group urged Jamaican authorities to address the underlying causes of what it said was a "human rights crisis".
It said the government should act to reduce murder rates, introduce human-rights based policing and reform the judicial system."


The garrison communities like Jungle and Rema in Kingston are not what we see in travel adverts about Jamaica. On my last day in Jamaica my friend Frogy drove me through these areas on the way to the airport. In two years living in Jamaica I never saw anything like I’d see on that last drive through the city. The streets were dirty and run down like the rest of the city, but you could tell you were approaching a garrison community by the military blockade at the entrance to Rema. Big camouflage trucks and soldiers armed with machine guns patrolled the area. The walls were riddled with bullet holes and political graffiti. I gave thanks for the tint on the windows of the vehicle I was in.

There is some serious inequity in our world and it’s not all as far away from us as we’d like to think. For young men growing up in these poor neighborhoods of Kingston, the goal is to stay alive and learn to hustle. There is no possibility of escape -with the rare exception of a musician making it.

Often I hear reggae music in clubs or bars and people dance and laugh and feel happy. Any they should feel happy. But reggae is mostly a music of protest and defiance -defiance against the downpressors (as the Rasta would say), defiance against Babylon. The all inclusive’s lining the coasts of Jamaica, serving all you can eat booze and food, are nothing less than a slap in the face to a people who’ve been tricked by the IMF, World Bank, aggressive resource reaping nations, and yes even their own politicians. Be sure the pick up the next issue of Foulweather titled The Beach due out soon for more about my short time in Jamaica.


1 comment:

Foulweather... said...

I just read that article on the BBC and wondered whether you'd seen it...