Rawpoliticsjamaicastyle’s Weblog

Critically Examining Jamaican and World Politics!

‘Gay’ violence at local university symptomatic of Jamaica’s increasing descent into anarchy and mayhem!


The rule of law and democracy are under severe threat in Jamaica. From by all accounts, the situation is extremely dire.  Not even Usain Bolt’s world record efforts can save us now.

‘Compromising situation’

On Thursday, November 1, 2012, a male student at the University of Technology was set upon and severely beaten by security guards, after being chased by a mob of his peers. The reason? He was suspected of being gay and was presumably one half of a duo caught in a ‘compromising situation’ on the campus.

Mob attack/ nightmare

Having run to the security post to escape the mob attack, the ‘gay’ student had his worse nightmare come true. His source of refuge turned into the very thing he was fleeing.

Blood lust

Degraded and dehumanized in the worst way by the security personnel on duty, the ‘gay’ student was mercilessly beaten while an entertained audience filmed the obscene event,  their bloodlust clear in the expletive filled chants for him to be killed. This was, undoubtedly, a surreal scene from the theatre of the macabre.

Real-life/ violence

But sadly that was real life and this is relatively commonplace in Jamaica. Indeed, mob violence has been routinely used to intimidate and in some instances kill those against whom it’s been directed in the past.

Mob killing

Recall, the killing of a man two months ago by a mob in the community of Zion, Trelawny. The man’s neighbours felt he was the father of a man alleged to have raped and murdered two little boys in the community. The deceased’s daughter was also injured in the attack.

Dark Ages

Before that, a policeman shot and killed a woman seven month’s pregnant for using a curse word – another clear example of a society stuck in the ‘Dark Ages’. The policeman also shot and injured the woman’s sister in the incident.

State response

So it is clear that, in the absence of an effective and meaningful state response previously, the UTech students  felt no compunction in their savage venting of their ‘hatred’ of their colleague’s actions. Thanks to their frightening display of incivility and barbarism Jamaica’s name is now, effectively, in the toilette.

‘Pride’

The students must be very proud of themselves. They did seek to deny one of their colleague’s right to his humanity, even while others reportedly sought to justify their actions in the aftermath, by declaring their belief in a ‘higher form of morality’.

Bible

The Bible, in effect, justified their near fatal abuse of a ‘gay’ student. After all, homosexuality is an abomination, according to Leviticus 18:22. All discovered to be so ‘guilty’ should be put to death in Jamaica and several other places like it.

Homophobia; hatred of life

But while this incident was certainly homophobic,  it also smacks of a telling and deep-seated hatred of life; law and order and the basic democratic principles of the right of self expression.

Democratic expression

Note, this is not to deny the stunning lack of thought which may have initially prompted the ‘gay’ student to express him and his partner’s desires in the manner which reportedly lead to this gravely unfortunate incident.

UTech/anarchy/ mayhem

But these are negligible matters which must be expended with, at least so it seems for the UTech students in question. Their indiscriminate use of violence coupled with their demand for blood and an obviously rank stupidity devolved into anarchy and mayhem – a reality about which they do not seem especially concerned.

Future leaders

Why then has the state never effectively addressed this problem before now? How is it that students set to lead a nation in a few short years are not able to see the implications of their actions and what it means in the context of a wider set of issues such as governance, rule of law and national development?

Silence

Furthermore, whose agenda is served by this apparent silence, even as the ‘rabblement’ turns on itself? That nebulous group called ‘the authorities’? Do they not have an investment in fixing these issues?

Business as usual

Or, is this ‘business as usual’ and in the ebb and flow of life here on the Rock?

The alarming erosion of the rule of law vis-à-vis citizens’ democratic rights to life and self-expression in Jamaica is an extremely serious issue. It must be addressed as an act of great urgency. A strong, clear and fulsome response is vital.

Condemnation alone not sufficient

The routine condemnation of ‘lawlessness’ and ‘violence’ alone is not enough. More is needed.

The state must take a stand; regular citizens included. This is especially if the guarantee that the the rights of all, regardless of race, colour, class or creed is protected under the Jamaican constitution is to be believed.

For Jamaica to take its rightful place in the world then silence cannot be the appropriate response.

Jamaica needs to wake up! This cannot and should not be allowed to continue unaddressed.

 -30-

14 Comments»

  Biju Tom wrote @

According to my faith, marriage must be between man and woman. No other relation is not a holy sacrimental an it should not be accomodated. however christianity is for save people who has no faith or right practice. In bible we never see a physical punishment to correct or save anyone.

So I do not support any physical punishment but wee need social interaction.

  rawpoliticsjamaicastyle wrote @

that is fine. i am Christian as well. i just do not believe that this was what Christ intended in the Gospel when He said: “love each other as I have loved you”. this incident flies in the face of that. and seriously.

however, with that said, i am not so much interested in the subject of gay marriage as i am in whether the state is acting in a way to prevent mob beatings and vigilante style justice as a way of solving the problems in the community. and let us be clear, i am not saying that this type of mob beating is directed only at homosexuals or people suspected of being so.

on the contrary, it is rather commonplace for people to take the law into their own hands and take over the role of administering justice and that is the context in which this incident has occurred. that is wrong. and it threatens the rule of law and order and the triumph of a democratic spirit in the state.

  stacey brown wrote @

Solid points. Some people are not looking at it from the perspective that this man is human whatever his sexual orientation and as such should be treated as how we would like to be treated. I would still like to know who is being held accountable? Yes the guards were fired but what has that done to solve the problem. Gone are the days when you are university when you are kicking up a fuss over school fees. This is what utech is putting out, hooligans who do not have an ounce of compassion for another human being

  RPJS wrote @

thanks for your comments, Stacey. i am keen to hear as well what will happen after this. it is downright unacceptable that this is allowed to happen and no one sees the issues which are at play other than homophobia. i am surprised by the language of hate which has sidelined the questions of what next and who will pay for this young man’s abuse?

i also want to add that there is clearly a need for school administrators, parents and students to address this question of security, particularly in a context where we believe in vigilante style justice in Jamaica. there has to be an owning of the fact that these things will happen and a subsequent discussion and policy effected as to what to do when it happens and how to prevent it altogether.

it is likely that will mean telling ALL students that there is to be no sexual or otherwise intimate contact in public, in the spirit of equity. that is, short of people admitting that there are gay students on campuses all over Jamaica. the time has come for us to step up the crease and bat.

  petchary wrote @

Why have we never addressed it before? I think because we have been in huge denial of the fact that our democracy is being eroded (and I mean democracy in the broadest sense – as you mentioned, the rule of law and human rights). Those who have pointed to it in the past have been ignored, although there has been ample evidence of this breakdown in so many areas. I am afraid that even educational institutions like UTech (but not only UTech) have also been in denial as they don’t want to give themselves a bad name. It has been the elephant in the room that has not gone away. And it won’t. I am hoping that our leaders – church, politicians etc – will come out and at least say something? This is extremely damaging for Jamaica, I agree – and for our tertiary institutions.

  RPJS wrote @

i agree Emma! totally. it is very sad though, in my view. there are enough intelligent people around who could bring their significant expertise and thinking to bear on how to address and properly fix this very important matter.

i fear that we will reduce the conversation to homophobia. which, while it is part of what we know to be the problem here, it is not the only thing. in fact, i would say that it is a very limited part of the conversation. not because there were no homophobes in the crowd but rather that the driving force behind what happened is that people feel they can take the law into their own hands and feel no challenges thereafter.

it is sad and unfortunate that the justice system is so compromised that we are unable to get a move on seriously addressing this question of ‘jungle’ justice.

  petchary wrote @

I agree with you. This is part of a much wider problem. But I also agree with you that it can be fixed if we all address it seriously, this time around – “damage control” is not what is needed.

  RPJS wrote @

well, let’s hope somebody is listening. truly.

  Cj wrote @

Hi

First of all, if there was some sexual conduct taking place in the bathroom, it should not be so. Public area, keep that in private whether male and female or in this case same sex.

For the news to say he was mercilessly beaten by the security is exaggerated based on footage. Comparing that to probably what would have happened outside the post, would be a stark difference, probably death. So indirectly he was given a life line per se.

Now to the beating of a person in this case, I personally don’t condone it. Yet some form of discipline should take place and for other acts that affect the public domain. As long as a person doesn’t force their sexual orientation/acts then they can keep it to themselves. No beating/killing.

However, we see that not only with gays but for other incidents, mobs seek to take matters in their own hands. Why? Is it the lack of proper systems that frustrate persons and so just at a brink. We need to look into that. Again for this case if he was/they were in their home or some private place away from public view, then I doubt it would escalate to this.

I think that even though gays are complaining that persons are insensitive to them etc; they have been pushing their agenda and so even to the point that they should get away with these things in public with no repercussions.

  RPJS wrote @

Cal,

first allow me to thank you for the response. i am heartened that you took the time to do so and as requested, at the site.

however, i have to disagree with almost all of what you say. firstly, recall that the young man was beaten and degraded.

as i understand it the lights were turned off and he was subjected to further beatings, not before being beaten in front of a jeering audience. it may seem appropriate to ‘discipline’ someone for infringing on the public domain, as you say.

however, please be aware that that ‘discipline’ is at heart what makes the action so objectionable and disturbing. we have, in effect, arrogated the role of judge, jury and executioner onto ourselves and over what? sexual conduct in a room on campus? really? not good enough.

just today a friend informed me that the numbers of time he has had sex, in the open, on campus is just unbelievable. i don’t know what that says about my friends. but i do know that what it says is that we are in the habit of excusing certain actions while coming down hard on others.

  RPJS wrote @

and it is not just that we do that. but we also kill people in the process. there is something patently wrong with that, regardless of what you may say to justify that.

these people, in case you are not aware, are the leaders of the country in another decade or so. they will be taking over positions from the ones who will demit office then.

how can we not be outraged that tomorrow will be in the hands of people who see nothing wrong with resorting to ‘jungle justice’ to vent their frustrations, presumably over two men caught in a sexual act? please!

further, and i feel this is the part that escapes so many in this situation, we forget that a crime has occurred. we operate like it is okay to break the law in some instances and not in others?

how can we say we have any respect for the rule of law if that is the expedient principle by which we live? tomorrow it may be you or someone you love, for whatever reasons, tomorrow it may be me or someone you know. who deserves to live in that kind of society?

what too of the international brand that is ascribed to Jamaica after this and the several other outrageous incidents like it? are you satisfied with this? just curious.

[...] Raw Politics Jamaica Style saw the attack as a “severe threat…to the rule of law and democracy…in Jamaica”: [...]

  Michele wrote @

Whether we are kicking up a fuss for school fees or beating a gay person or singing and shouting at the gates of UWI/UTECH we must remember these institutions are a microcosm of the wider society and so it is imperitive that we addreSs the root of the problem, not accost the institution for churning out hooligans or inhumane individuals. Where do these individuals come from? They are part of the bigger picture who preach christianity yet they lie and if you want to go down the bible route that too is an abomination as much as women whistleing etc its an abomination.
c
So I never saw in the bible where as Christians we are instructed to harm or maim our fellow man but it urges us to pray for them so that they may see the error of their ways. So if you are a so called Christian who is without sin cast the first stone. Be reminded if a gay person dies gay and you die a fornicator who is straight you will both stand the exact same judgement as the liar the thief and the man or woman who stirs up strife and hatered. I don’t agree with it I am a mother of a little boy who has fears as well but as a Christian I can only pray for all sinners which also includes homosexuals.

  RPJS wrote @

Thanks for your insights. I have long maintained that Jamaica is really only Christian by name, in many instances. Hardly much in the way of living Christian principles and virtues when it comes down to it for many of us.


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