Don’t blame China, blame local governments for the perceived bad deals

Jamaica has had a long history with colonialism and economic exploitation, be it slavery and the British or the neo-colonialism imposed by the US, Jamaica has had a horrid experience when dealing with outside powers. With that in mind, recently over the past decade, we have been hearing an ever-increasing warning that the Chinese who have been heavily investing in this country may have sinister motives and that we are blindly walking into a debt trap and neo-colonialism as seen in the late 1800s to early 1900s.

These seemingly paranoid persons have some sound arguments and in many ways are correct to sound the warning bell. The Chinese after all, do have deals in which part of the payment they receive is a parcel of prime land, and it is also true that in some cases where the host country can no longer manage the venture that the Chinese step in and legally seize the asset (be they ports or hydro-electric plants). The Chinese also as is readily evident have no problem making deals which are clearly one-sided or on the shady side but I think that these persons (who are doing a service by keeping us vigilant of a possible debt trap) are missing something which differentiates the Chinese and their practices from those of say the British in Argentina or the US in Central America.

The key thing here is that though the Chinese may negotiate one-sided deals if the chance arises, they will also re-negotiate said one-sided deal if the other nation so wishes. A matter of fact, most projects which are done by the Chinese are not borne out of the Chinese imagination but are simply funded and built by them. Example, the Chinese did not think up the proposed highway between Harbour View and Portland, but they are funding it and building it. If the highway is unprofitable or ends up being a white elephant that’s not on China, that is in fact on our local planners who would be responsible for China getting even more of our land as is the case in Sri Lanka.

Greece, while it was going through the depths of its economic trauma, sold many state assets (including ports) to foreigners, Chinese included. After SYRIZA swept to office their finance minister had a look at the contracts and realised that they were one-sided, and in a major way. After informing the Chinese counterparts that the deal was a no-go China re-negotiated the deal. Think about that, rather than sitting on a legal contract which gave them an unfair advantage in a key economic zone (economic imperialism) the Chinese chose to re-negotiate the deal to something more favourable to Greece.

That does not strike me as the kind of behaviour a budding empire would display, rather it would seem to be the kind of behaviour a businessman displays. You have something to sell, they want to buy it, let’s do a deal and if you don’t like it re-negotiate, that is a pattern seen in many countries where the Chinese have done business. The Chinese have renegotiated with Greece, Malaysia, Venezuela, Argentina, South Africa and literally dozens more nations, so if they are willing to renegotiate these deals and shy away from economic imperialism what really is the problem?

There are two problems so far as I can see and both are rather disappointing when one really thinks about it. The first is that China, the PRC, governed by the party which gave us Mao and Deng is more than happy to do deals which are blatantly one-sided and at times engage in shady deals. This is disappointing because I would expect China to behave better as many nations and persons look to it as a beacon of third-world rags to riches and revolution and this behaviour tarnishes that reputation. The second factor which is most disappointing (if it does indeed pan out) is that our government or any for that matter wouldn’t attempt to re-negotiate these deals especially in light of the other nations who have.

The problem on the Chinese side is both out of our hands and being dealt with by the Chinese authorities (see the heightened and extended crackdown taking place now), what we need to do on our side, the side of the person taking the money, good, service or infrastructure is to ensure that the deals are made in a transparent way void of pork belly, and actively push to renegotiate deals which are potentially more harmful than beneficial. If we go about making deals in that manner, then it would be extremely difficult to end up in unfair deals or fearful of the debt trap while also enjoying much needed foreign infrastructure investment.

With the MOF recently coming out and stating that the debt owed to the Chinese should be repaid within a decade one can only hope that the GOJ continues to strike balanced deals with what can thus far be called a most reliable partner. This news, while it should be welcomed by those who have consistently warned against the debt trap should not be the end of it. They should remain vigilant, continue to warn against the very real dangers of the debt trap and ask for transparency with ALL contracts and deals done with foreign governments and companies and demand renegotiations of the deals when/if they are found to be to our detriment.

So make the deals where we have to and ensure vigilance, that’s all we can and should be doing. Haranguing the Chinese for looking out for their own is pointless and condemning our government without demanding renegotiations is fruitless. Let’s aim for that as we seek to finally upgrade the country in ways it hasn’t been for some time.

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USA settles in for its long ride with the far-right

The recently concluded US midterm elections were supposed to be that nations repudiation of the Trump administration. For nigh on a year the US political media has been hyping up this blue wave, and for three years (since he announced his candidature) have been heaping scorn and ridicule on president Trump. After labelling his administration as a tool of foreign agents, after his blatant racial, religious and xenophobic rhetoric and after his toadying towards the uber-rich one fully expected the Democratic party to win it all. After all the online protests, after all the marches and all of the tears, I expected to wake up on Wednesday to see the Democratic party controlling both sets of the house as well as many local seats.

Sadly, the US media has once again failed to accurately take the pulse of their people and as such the much-hyped Blue wave turned out to be more like a blue drizzle. Instead of the Democratic party cementing both houses and many states, they have been left with a decent (not super) majority in the lower house while losing seats in the upper. Things at the state and local level also mirror the federal level with Democrats and Republicans having about half of the respective seats and governorships up for grabs.

This election far from showing that the American people are sick of the racism, classism, eternal warfare and creeping fascism has shown that they are in fact comfortable in their current situation and simply don’t wish to rock the boat. That may seem a shocking statement, especially as we saw persons protesting spontaneously in defence of the fired AG, but the results of the elections prove the statement correct.

The fact is, after all of the demonising and after all of the media hype, the Democratic party won the lower house with a majority of 32. In other words, with over 400 seats up for grabs, the party representing the far-right barely lost. Put another way, the party which has seen its supporters send out mail bombs and shoot synagogues in the lead up to the elections almost won. Even accepting the fact that there was massive voter suppression, one would think that the masses of persons who oppose far-right principles would flock to the polls thus rendering voter suppression difficult (but not impossible).

Instead, with a fifty-year record turnout for midterm elections, the party representing the far-right sits safely in control of the upper house, real leverage in the lower house and in control of dozens of state capitals. This does not strike me as a people disavowing the far-right, this instead strikes me as a nation comfortable with the rightward drift only wishing to rein in its more unseemly features. The retort may be, ‘but half the electorate stayed home’ and to that, I say that is further proof that the people are simply comfortable.

France in the second round gave the people a choice, the centre-right Macron or the far-right Le Pen. With more than half the electorate staying home the centre-right candidate won, the same thing happened in the local and parliamentary elections, even as Macrons popularity rates plummeted. If given a choice between crypto-fascists and the centre-right, normal people vote in the majority (even if the majority stays home) for the non-fascist. You don’t vote for the far right or enable it by allowing it to keep the upper house etc unless you are comfortable with it and the promises it makes to you.

The levels of comfort could also be seen in the types of candidates which won on the Democratic ticket. These were not men and women who for example stood up and called for an end to the military industrial complex, foreign wars, economic imperialism, the starving in America, the un and underemployed in that nation or the millions who are shafted by the joke of a healthcare law. No, rather than do those things they called for bipartisanship, fence-building and reaching out to the Republicans in the house and the president.

These representatives, after calling the Republican party out for what it is, a bastion for the far-right are seeking to work with it. That alone tells you that the issue is not the far-right and the policies which it brings forth, rather the problem is the face which delivers those policies. Nobody batted an eyelid when Obama suspended posse comitatus (a truly far-right move) and hardly anyone chirped when GW Bush passed the Patriot Act (again something from a far-right dream), nobody cried out when HR Clinton cackled when Gadhafi was murdered so we shouldn’t be shocked that the American people have left their government basically split down the middle.

Both parties and it seems that the voting public in the US are fine and dandy with the far-right. They are comfortable living in a land of racism and anti-Semitism, they revel in the fact that they murder children in schools and patrons at bars. They hoot and holler in joy when their nation holds 25% of the world’s prison population and they find joy in the fact that they cause so much death, destruction and misery around the world.

We who live outside the land of the free must not put our hopes in either the Democratic party or the voting public in the US. Both have no interest in global justice and as has been shown over the past 30 years (and more specifically the last four election cycles) an open fascination for the far-right. Things in that county will get worse before they get better, the Democratic party is too far to the right to be any less reactionary than it already is, what we can only do is sit back, watch, prepare and hope like hell that the majority who do not vote in that nation one day soon wake up and vote in the global interest (which is also their interest too) and seeing as how the latter won’t happen any time soon, I suggest we batten down the hatches as the US gets comfortable in its long ride with the far-right.

Violence within the empire

Empires and imperialism, they are a physical entity and an ideology which know nothing but violence. This much is obvious, from the Persians in the bronze age to the US in the nuclear age, empires and the ideology behind them need violence against the ‘barbarian’ to act as the grease on the wheel of territorial or fiscal domination. Everybody acknowledges this, there is little to no debate on this topic, the debate comes into play however when one begins to ask if the violence of the empire starts abroad and finds its way home, or if it is in fact vice-versa.

It is my view that far from an unknown violence practised abroad coming home, it is, in fact, the other way around, that the violence is first tested at home, simply expanded and improved upon abroad and brought back home with a vengeance.

Take the British Empire for example; After William, the Conqueror defeated Harold and claimed the throne a brutal subjugation of the locals and nobles took place. It took him at least a decade of constant warfare with the local nobles to finally cement his place on the throne. The violence he used to cement his place on the English throne was then turned towards the Irish in what became and remains one of the longest and most brutal periods of colonisation (note that the UK consist of the colonies of Northern Ireland).

The sharpening of the teeth in Ireland was extended across both the Atlantic (in Africa and the Americas) in the Pacific and Oceania (the Indian Subcontinent, Australia, New Zealand and the countless Pacific islands). But the violence always remained at home, and with the same force. Slavery in the Americas had its bastard cousins, the servant, serf and peasant, in the English heartland who were being treated with a severity only marginally better than the slaves.

The violence meted out to the protesters at Morant Bay was of the same ferocity as the type meted out to the labour workers in the UK 30 years prior and 30 years later. The same can be seen in the former German Empire which was born out of the violent crushing of the worker protests in the 1840s. The same architects of that crushing, the same lawyers and judges who sentenced workers to extreme punishments, were the same ones who created the German Empire. They were the same ones in the German colonial endeavours in Africa where the natives were put down with an even greater and more refined ferocity.

The same men who led the colonial ventures in Africa and the Pacific were the same ones who in the end put down the rebellions in Germany post-1918 such as the suppression of the Spartacus rebellion, and in the end, they were the same men who acquiesced to the Nazis and actively participated in the extermination of some 8 million people.

Such a pattern can also be traced with today’s empire the USA. The near destruction of the Amerindian population, the chattel slavery, the indentured servitude are all horrors which were dealt upon the local population during the period of expansion even before the US had the strength to move abroad. The ferocity with which the American colonies cum nation slaughtered the natives was surpassed in their first foreign wars (Mexican-American war and the Spanish-American war). It should be noted that following both those wars, the officer corps were the same ones who violently suppressed both worker, suffragettes and race protests.

The timeline of history shows us that the violence of empires is first used within its direct borders to suppress dissent and then exported. Why then do persons within empires act surprised when the violence practised abroad comes home? The answer is simple as it is uncomfortable, the persons within the empire buy into the illusion that they are part owners of the empire. They feel a sense of pride in the imperial expansion abroad (which their children often take part in), and at times some of the imperial wealth accumulated at the top trickles down to the people so they feel like beneficiaries.

They then act shocked and even offended when the state returns their gaze upon citizens in the heartland. The people who live within the modern-day empire must understand that the violence it refines abroad it first tries at home and if the violence is to end then the imperial structure must be dismantled. The issue is not the empire bringing home generals who commit atrocities, it is that the empire routinely uses violence to suppress internal dissent and then those persons moving abroad. If the violence abroad and within the empire is to stop, if the citizens of those nations truly yearn for a peaceful existence then they must first deal with the violence within those countries and come to terms with the mentalities (imperialism) which breed these actions and say such actions are unacceptable and unnecessary.

Until that is done, until the imperial thought is abandoned and viewed with ridicule and scorn then the violence outside imperial borders and within them will only continue. Chase away and condemn imperialists for a more peaceful future or continue to live under their violent oppression and exploitation, those are the options facing those inside the belly of the empire.

JAMAICA NOT IMMUNE FROM THE FAR RIGHT

The past few years have seen a massive surge in support for far-right, crypto-fascist politicians and parties. Election results from India to The Philippines, from Germany to Italy and most notably the USA in 2016 have elevated candidates with reprehensible ideologies to the highest offices in their respective lands.

This trend has continued in Brazil as the Hitler-praising Bolsonaro resoundingly won the recent second round of elections in that nation. Such results have naturally caused many to ponder seriously what is going on in the world that could cause so many people to act in such a reactionary way, and locally the question on some persons’ lips is, could such a politician succeed here?

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IF WE MUST PRIVATISE…

Privatisation is a phrase which is not alien to Jamaicans, a phrase which seems to constantly sit on the tongues of our elected officials, especially ministers. It is an activity which has a deep history in this nation as JPS, Kingston Wharf, the airports, the sugar industry or even the transport sector can attest to. It is a word which is heavily loaded emotionally as it naturally means that the State loses control of an asset and one feels a serious dent in pride when a nation is forced to sell off its assets, especially prized ones. Now, I am no fan of privatisation. If things were my way the State would own outright or have a controlling stake in all major sectors (finance, mining, agriculture, transportation, telecommunications) but the economic realities of Jamaica are such that what I wish remains just that. Loss-making assets and assets which are bulky with their overheads and maintenance need to be shed at this point in time so that the ship which is the Jamaican state can be righted. I understand that fact and can grudgingly acquiesce to that dreaded action, but where I draw the line is when these entities are sold off solely to foreign companies…

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Why the shock with Kanye-Trump summit?

Recently, the record producer/fashion designer/rapper Kanye West met with the president of the US Donald Trump. The meeting which came after Kanye infamously threw support behind him (after the election) has stirred up much controversy, confusion and even hurt amongst both his fans and persons who are close to or involved in the continued civil rights struggle in that country. The usual cries from these people range from the question ‘how can the man who called Bush a racist endorse this man?’ to petty insults along the lines of ‘the man is obviously crazy, see his many breakdowns for proof’.

Such stances, both the question and the statement, reveal to me a level of naivety in the world at large for the answer to the question ‘why is Kanye acting this way’ is hilarious in its obviousness.  Mr West gravitates towards Mr Trump and his ilk simply because they share the same basic core beliefs, they are if I may paraphrase Mr West ‘Kindred spirits’.

What could I mean by that? Simply put, these are two men of the same class, living in the same bubble, interacting with the same people and dealing with the same problems at the end of the day. Problems such as the state (particularly at the federal level) taking away money through taxes. Problems such as poor infrastructure (which rich person wants to travel in a dilapidated airport, and it is the rich, as they are the primary travellers). Problems such as copyright and patent lifespans, so that the holder can live like a rentier.

People are not shocked by Ted Nugent supporting Trump, they are disgusted but not surprised when Rosanne Barr vocally supports Trump, but they draw the line at Kanye. In this instance I have to agree with him, I agree when he says his detractors are ignorant and racist. Racist because they have for the most part bought into the fact that all minorities should vote Democratic and ignorant because they fail to realise that economics and class trumps race any day.

Herman Cain ran in 2012 on the Republican ticket on the far-right fringes, Ben Carson ran in 2016 as a mixture of Christian right and the Chicago school of economics, Nicki Minaj openly supported Mitt Romney in 2012. How many more instances does the public need to understand that just because a person is an ethnic minority does not mean that they are all of a sudden, some bleeding-heart liberal or pre-disposed to progressive revolutionary thinking? Class almost always wins out and shows itself in the end and it has done so here only with the brashness and pomposity of Kanye West.

These uncle-toms (or roast-breadfruit) know full well what they are doing, and they know why they are doing it. They know full well who they are aligning with and they have no problem as it secures their wealth and their place in the class. This can again be seen in the likes of a Bobby Jindal and Nikki Haley, both of whom have roots in the sub-continent, both of whom are at the top of the social, political and financial hierarchy and both of whom represented the reactionary wing of the Republican party. The same can be said for the ethnic minorities who are the elected members of the Democratic party, those at the top both socially, financially and politically and who also happen to be on the reactionary end of that party.

This incident to me proves once again that while race is important, the most important thing the most pressing issue is the class issue. Race is sexy, one can easily get agitated and behind the cause or individual because it/they are visible but as seen by the examples laid  out above, if left isolated from the issue of class then one ends up with an Obama in office, Abu-Jammal still in jail and a Bernie Sanders type candidate not getting the support of the minority congressmen and senators whose racial ilk would benefit the most from his policies.

Stop looking solely at an individuals race and start taking into consideration the class aspect as well, once that is done one finds that most actions then make sense and are less surprising. Clinging blindly to race alone, thinking that because you and your potential representative or cultural idol share the same skin tone does not automatically mean that they are on your side. Think of the famous line from Aquemini by Outkast, ‘is every nigger with dreads for the cause?’ and think of its response ‘no’ and use that as one’s mantra. Ask whose interests does this person represent, try delving deeper than the colour of the person’s skin and if I may be crass check out their bank books, that more often than not will give you the true response as it relates to that question.

Nike not woke, McCain no angel

Over the past few weeks, two events have happened which seem to have set the global media into a tailspin. On one hand we have the death of the long-serving and much travelled US Sen. John McCain and on the other hand, we have had the blacklisted NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick unveiled as the new face of Nike. The two events have been met with what can only be called an exaggerated emotional reaction, a willful blindness to facts and in a strange way, act as symptoms of the disease which affects humanity.

Let us start with the case of Nike as that incident seems to have garnered the most controversy. Contrary to what social media and media pundits tell you, Nike is not ‘woke’ (if I may be permitted to use the youthful jargon) and the move to secure Mr Kaepernick was not borne out of some sort of moral stance, rather it was made for simple economic reasons. In the years since Colin took the knee and even following his blacklisting, his jersey remains in the top five as it relates to most popular and sales. Nike made a marketing decision, a bold one, but nothing more than mere marketing and trying to get more money, this time from the SJW group.

Have we forgotten how and where Nike shoes are made? In Hattian, Thai, or Chinese sweatshops by underpaid over-exploited persons who more often than not are children. This is not a morally upright company (an oxymoron probably) and to state that it is one simply because it has the great Serena or the stoic Kaepernick as the faces of the company product does not change that.

The mourning of the late John McCain is equally baffling as the Nike case. Mr McCain, a person who never left the American media spotlight, gained even more popularity in the last few years of his life as an ardent and vocal opponent of the current president. Before and more so after his passing we have been inundated with stories of how the late war-hero and Sen. strived for bi-partisanship, human rights and even if a maverick always had his heart in the right place and did the right thing. This is the mantra coming from both parties in the US and even critics of Mr Trump abroad, it couldn’t be further from the truth.

Lest it is forgotten in all this mourning allow me to remind us all of what John McCain stood for. The much-venerated veteran served in the Vietnam war and was shot down while en-route to bomb a lightbulb factory (a war crime by all standards), the so-called champion of human rights aggressively and openly funded/courted hard right despots in Latin America. The man who so recently has been held up as a champion of human rights embraced in his final few years the open neo-Nazis in Ukraine and the militias which have been running slave markets in Libya and Iraq. John McCain was many things, a paragon of human virtue, however, he was not.

But what is it that these two cases have in common and how does it reflect on our modern society? The common thread running between these two cases is people projecting their values on others because it fits the narrative.

It is fun and heart-warming to believe that Nike, the heartless amoral company would stand up to white supremacy, it gives us hope in mankind to think that a man who operates as McCain did opposes the insanity president Trump does. There are more people of colour in the world when compared to white people, basic business states therefore that you don’t alienate them. More persons of colour are playing sports when compared to white people (for the reason see the previous point), basic business says you do everything to retain that market before securing others. Note that the company still has no problem operating in countries with legalised racism.

John McCain despite vocal criticism to Trump voted in his favour in the majority of votes taken in the house before his demise (most notably the tax bill which most persons agree is unsustainable). Despite vocal criticism aligned himself with Trump on foreign policy or, and this is because he was a maverick, was even more hawkish than the current president. Note that the man who stated that the president is a Manchurian candidate voted to give him unfettered war powers.

What these recent events have shown me in no uncertain terms is that this urge we have as a species to run with the premise that ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’ is still with us. It shows that we are still gullible and refuse to look at the picture as a whole rather than in fragmented pieces and therefore fall prey to propaganda and (what can only be called slick) marketing campaigns. It shows that some people are still more than willing to drink the Kool-Aid even after seeing the rat-poison being poured into it.

That, however, is no reason to throw in the towel and stop calling out inconsistencies, propaganda and flat out lies. On the contrary, it should be the fire which drives one on. So, I say again, John McCain was no fan of the oppressed and downtrodden and Nike is nowhere near being the ACLU (or JFJ for us Jamaicans). Do they on the rare occasion stand on the right side of history, yes, but so did the British and Free French in WW2 and they are still held up to ridicule for what they did pre and post-war. Never believe that ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’, things are always more complicated and murkier the longer one looks and shouldn’t be forgotten. So, kudos Nike for a slick campaign, but you really need to step up workplace practices while speaking out against racial injustices if you are to be taken seriously as a voice of virtue. And thank you, John, for calling out Trump, it’s a shame you never got a chance to show if you had truly changed your political stances or were merely grandstanding to a man who levelled insults towards you.

Hypersexualisation and rape, two different issues which must be tackled separately

The recent rape and murder of a fourteen (14) year-old girl in Kingston has again sparked heated discussion in Jamaica and the diaspora about what can only be called our epidemic of sexual violence. The actions against the minor have elicited the same outcries as others before, we have everyone condemning the perpetrator(s), demanding better protection for our children and reinstatement of the death penalty. Unfortunately, what has also been brought to the discussion table is the supposed issue of how the child may have been dressed and the provocative outfits worn by the current generation and how they (unwittingly) invite this kind of assault.

Unfortunately, as disgusting as it is, that talking point is a very prevalent one when discussing sexual assault/abuse, especially when involving children. It is a common touchstone, oftentimes reaching the heights of victim blaming, but it has no bearing in any sexual assault case and most especially one involving a child as the two are totally separate issues and should be talked about as such.

Rape and sexual abuse/assault are illegal actions, punishable offences which carry prison sentences, a child dressing in a belly-skin and batty-rider is a parenting matter, a woman wearing a see-through crop top is a dress matter. The last two have nothing to do with the first, one is a crime and the other is a societal matter regarding hypersexualisation; The two, though they may intersect, are totally separate matters.

There is no justification or excuse for rape and sexual assault/abuse regardless of the victim’s sobriety level, location during the act, or style of dress. There is no understanding, or another side when it comes to these matters, especially when a minor is involved and making such excuses and using such talking points is as I say is a form of victim blaming.

Let us not view the two as the same coin only different sides as they are not and if we tackle them as such then this madness will continue. The rape culture we have in this country (and don’t let anyone tell you we don’t have one) is based on many things. How our young men are raised, how they are raised to view women, how they are raised to deal with rejection and many more things. What it is not caused by is a teenager ‘acting sexily’ or a woman wearing a revealing outfit, the fault, blame and cause lie squarely at the feet of those who commit acts of sexual violence.

If we are to deal with this epidemic of rape and sexual abuse, then we must address how we raise our young men. We must teach them that no means no (even if it is during a passionate consensual embrace), we must teach them that just because a woman says no to you does not diminish you as a man. We must teach them that just because a woman dresses in revealing clothes or acts provocatively does not mean it’s a green light for sex. Until those issues and others like it are dealt with we will always be experiencing this trauma.

The issues surrounding the hyper-sexualisation of children and that of broader society, that is the dress norms of the day, fall strictly in the realm of the personal and the immediate family. How a person dresses, be they man, woman or child is not the business of society at large (baring the excesses such as public nudity), rather it is an issue to be dealt with within the confines of that person’s home. These personal choices have absolutely no bearing on if a person is sexually abused and should never be used as ways to reason away, make sense or justify what is a one-sided crime.

For heaven’s sake, if the moral police have an issue with the way people (and by people, I mean women) dress then they should start petition groups and try to get laws enacted (good luck on that front). But to even think of conflating how a person, let alone a child dresses and why they have been abused is a disgusting red herring and must be called out.

If how a person dresses ‘invites’ sexual abuse if that is really the line which we are taking, then why are we not warning our men who wear saggy pants and also those who wear close fitting pants that they are potential victims of our imagined homosexual predators? We don’t do that because it is a stupid argument of victim blaming, coupled with the fact that we dislike gays whom we perceive to be molesters and rapists in the waiting. That is more proof that we don’t respect our women and have a serious problem when one thinks of rape and sexual abuse (if its gay then kill the abuser but if it is hetero you make excuses). It must stop and we all must recognise and accept that sexual abuse and rape are crimes and only the criminal can be blamed regardless of the victim’s age, how they were dressing or their sexuality and until we get that simple basic premise then this sick culture will only continue and become even more warped.

NO ART FOR ART’S SAKE

Art has a purpose. It is to act as an expression and extension of humanity and the human experience. This much is obvious, listen to any song, read any novel or view a painting and one can oftentimes feel what the artist is striving for (more so if the piece is very good).

Because art in all its forms is the ultimate expression we can all understand it has naturally been used by many for differing reasons, from religious to the selling of cereal, and as a result, many artists have decided that some form of non-alignment or neutrality in their works is best as they don’t wish to be bogged down in fights over ideology or sales-figures.
Such a stance, art for art’s sake, is understandable, but it is a wrong stance which in the long run leads to the stupification of the arts while allowing the most awful entities, be they political or corporate, to control art or, more importantly, the message in the art. For the truth is that there is no such thing as art for art’s sake as all forms of art will inevitably be used to either confirm or deny pleasure, or piss off people.

Two cases immediately spring to mind why art for art’s sake will only lead to the rise of demagogues and the rule of the stupid – the song The Snake (often quoted by Trump) and the artist Jackson Pollock…

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EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION OF TOURISM PROFITS

Jamaica is a land with many riches and quite a few rich people. However, the country remains desperately poor. It is a land where the biggest net earner is probably the illegal drugs and black market trade followed by remittances, then tourism. We are a people who are, in short, dependent on the grace of others for our food.

This is made all the clearer when one gets to understand that the vast majority of the major hotels, which are the major money, see their profits going abroad as the majority stakeholders have no real ties to Jamaica (infrastructure excluded of course).

That is not a good place for any nation to find itself. It simply cannot continue as such without a massive breakdown, which would result in a state of living which we cannot even begin to fathom. Something has to give!…

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