Monday, February 28, 2011

Fate of a Failed and Faithless State

There I was, late for church,  silently willing the chatterbox driver to go faster, and overhearing these two men talking about the driver's latest unfortunate run-in with the police (apparently he'd had several).

Then he made this statement: "Me nuh have no faith inna police nuh more. No rasta.  Police or pastor. Me nuh have NO faith inna dem." (Translated: I have no faith in the police anymore. Not at all. Pastor or police, I have no faith in any of them).

And it made me think of our entire nation, because I've heard similar sentiments expressed on many other occasions. Our society is so riddled with corruption and frustration-inspiring situations that Jamaican people seem to have lost faith in a LOT of things and people. So here's my list of things I think we have no faith in anymore.

7. Government/politicians
We let that ship slide a long time ago. So long, in fact, that people no longer make a distinction between politics and corruption.

6. 'Di system'
It's not just government and politics. It's this unnamed, intangible entity/force that drives all the major industries/sectors in our country. 'Di system' is this organised series of events, an unwritten list of requirements that naturally excludes the masses and imposes injustice on the people.

5. Police
A common cry among our people is that the police force has become the nation's machinery for mass victimisation, bending to the wishes of their heartless dictators, many Jamaicans see police as the enemy, as 'Babylon', the ones who make life difficult for everyone.

4. Pastors/religious leaders
If ever there was a people/state who have been grossly disappointed by the Church, it's Jamaicans. Usually a strong Christian society, over the years Jamaicans have become the world's best and biggest religious sceptics. They've seen it all: from sex in the pulpit to pastors with guns, and they are not impressed.

3. God
Well, if the people who represent him constantly fail you, why believe anything they say or look to any reference point they offer?

2. The future
'Boy, tings dread,' is a common sentiment. And if that was all, it wouldn't bother me. But our people have begun to develop a posture of resignation. Like the listless brood in Ayi Kwei Armah's The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born, they have become firm believers in a stagnant, unchanging, unchangeable society. The more things change, they say, the more they remain the same.

1. Themselves
And this is the part many of us don't realise. Our loss of faith in all these other things belies a deeper crisis. It's not just that we no longer believe in others or the system they work in, but it tells us - tells me - that we don't believe in ourselves. We no longer value our own capabilities and potential.

So that's my list. What do you think? Do you agree/disagree? What would you add? Minus? And are you one of the many Jamaicans/persons who have given up on this country? I hope not.

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