Thursday, October 13, 2011

Every Man for Himself and God For Me Alone!

Continued from: The Lack of Organized Public Protest By The silent Majority

Are we actually interested in permanent solutions to our problems? I think we have given up on the Government’s ability to fix anything and have decided to provide for ourselves the things they have failed to do. In most developed countries the people would take to the streets to demand that the Government deliver on what they are suppose to deliver, it is why we pay taxes, so that we do not have to worry about these basic services.

Take the dilapidated state of our roads and infrastructure, faced with this problem do we organize and demand that our hard earn tax dollars go towards fixing our basic needs? The average Jamaican choose the alternative they go to the bank and take out loans to buy the biggest SUV they can find to navigate the potholes, the more dilapidated the roads the bigger the vehicle. Big SUV's are more a status symbol than a requirement, peoples way to profile and separate themselves from the have not. Problem solved, those who can afford it are happy and those that cannot suck salt.

A friend was telling me about a person he knows, this person lived in Portmore in one of those prefab houses with an SUV that took up every square inch of the front yard. It was taller than the house and valued about 12 times as much.

With the introduction of satellite dishes most Jamaican household began to install these massive ugly metallic structures in their yards and on top of their house, they would walk around boasting of their size, who had a 15 footer and who had a 20 footer and how much channels then had. It was also amazing to drive through the ghettos to see a 20 footer dish that was much bigger than the house made of board and zinc that it shared the yard with, even more amusing to see a satellite dishes on top of a house that looked like it could not and should not be able to support the weight of these monsters.

Every summer Jamaicans go through a series of water lock off’s due to drought and every summer the brains of our society write various articles proposing various schemes on how to solve this problem, it is a yearly ritual because as soon as it starts to rain everyone forgets about the summer drought, plans are shelved to be republished next year. We have these two dams, Hermitage Dam in Stony Hill, opened in 1927 and Mona Reservoir, opened in 1947, that we have totally out grown, the population size of the city has more than doubled and these dams I am sure are filled with more dirt and debris than water. So what do we do? Do we take to the streets in protest to force the Government to build new Dams or increase the capacity of the old dams or do we take hard earned money and buy these ugly personalized black tanks that sit on top of our houses? You guessed it, given the option the average Jamaican would rather take a financial hit, taxes plus the cost of ugly black water tanks rather than confront the government, also its a status symbol to be able to afford this, peoples way to profile, to show that they have the means and again those who can afford it are happy and those who cannot suck salt. 

Security and crime is a big problem in Jamaica our governments have failed to provide adequately security for our country and as such it is affecting us in a negative way. Our GDP would increase if we could bring about a solution to crime, it would free our minds to be more creative, to build and develop.  Faced with this problem the Jamaican people would prefer to provide their own security other than force the government to tackle the issue of crime. One of the biggest business is Jamaica is security firms, private police forces, armed rent a cops used to guard entire families and homes, you call them to tell them you are on your way home and they send a car to wait for you at your gate, they enter your property for a quick look around then escort you into your home, soon I believe they will tuck you into bed, read you a bedtime story and get you milk and cookies. Most of these people have never been a victim of crime, even before the days of the security firms, they do not live in crime ridden areas so this is more of a status symbol, keeping up with the Jones, to separate themselves, the look at me syndrome, more profiling and in order to justify it they go on and on about crime.

Houses have become bunkers, fortresses as we imprison ourselves by placing iron bars on every window and doors, there have been cases where fire have destroyed entire families because they could not exit their own house/prison cell, they could not find the keys to the grilled iron gate. Walls around properties have shot up some 12 feet with remote control gates and gun ownership has gone up as most walk around with bulged hips and while coming home from late night parties are forced wait on slow moving electric gates to open with their guns in hand, at the ready half-cocked or full-cocked. More and more people are leaving stand alone houses with massive front and back yards for Gated Community Compounds with 24 hour security and again those who can afford it are happy and those who cannot suck salt.

Frequent power cuts across Jamaica affects GDP growth and the personal lives of the people, but faced with this problem Jamaicans would rather buy Delco Generators than force the Government to guarantee constant power supply and again those who can afford it are happy and those who cannot suck salt.

We have a selfish society that only cares about me, myself and I, every man for himself and God for me alone, the educated class is only thinking about themselves, there is little or no concern for wider society and when you engage them in conversation they will provide a million and one reasons why that is so. In order to care less about their fellow Jamaicans they must portray them in such a way that would force a mental disconnect, they are animals, they are this and that, which empowers them to care less and only for themselves but we are creating a cycle that will come back to bite us in the butt as the number of people we care less about gets large.

All of Jamaica’s achievements in the past came about because the educated class engaged the lower class and the upper class in a fight for social justice, workers rights and universal adult suffrage. None of this would have been possible if it was not for the unique position of the educated class, their proximity to power-base of the ruling upper class and their ability to organize the power of the common people to bring about the required changes. These days however they care about nothing but themselves, want everything for themselves and give nothing back to the process of Nation Building.

So instead of confronting Government we now provide our own power, water, security and transport while still paying taxes to a Government who provide very little. I write not to condemn but to try and inspire change, I want us to become a nation that cares about our fellow man, woman and child, I want us to build a Nation State that would be a shining example to others, I want us to be more pro-active and I want us to come together as one people, not as JLP or PNP, not as rich, poor, educated or uneducated but one people because the problems we face are not limited to a certain sector of society, it is our problem, this is our country and its future depends on all of us. I beg you all to reengage the Nation Building process.

1 comment:

  1. WOW!!! A very thought provoking article and quite accurate.