Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Stop the Violence

Violence has reared its ugly head int he 2010 elections campaign. Since the Dec 13th date was officially announced stories of intimidation, physical violence and attempted murders have made the rounds. The Searchlight newspaper of Tuesday 23rd, ran as its cover story the beating of three young women by men who shared political views different to theirs. According to the story the perpetrators were throwing sand on a freshly painted ULP symbol which caused one of the young ladies to stand on it as a form of protest. As a result she was physically assaulted as were her friends who came to her rescue. In the same newspaper, a calypsonian who performed at an Opposition meeting believes the attempts on his life were politically motivated. In that instance he was shot at as he returned home from the village meeting.

Over the years I've been noticing a growing lack of tolerance in our society. We are quick to lash out at, degrade and ostracize persons different to ourselves. As I write I am wondering if a life or two would be lost to political violence in this silliest of seasons. When did we become so intolerant that we are unwilling to grant people the right of association? The political parties have to shoulder much of the blame for this ill will that is threatening to explode with more dire consequences. They have willingly positioned themselves as the sure way of survival, the ticket to the gravy train and all its related benefits. Small wonder then that these misguided people feel that by all means necessary they must defend their turf. It's high time that Vincentians realise that politicians are flawed persons like us and certainly not worth dying or killing for.

Not surprisingly, I have noticed that the story of the assaulted women has shifted to the PM's alleged use of swear words and threatening language to persons in the area where the attack occurred. I know it's too much to expect that political affiliations will be shelved and a spade called a spade but nobody ever said silly season was made for rational thoughts. Still, I live in hope that one day violence against women will not be treated with indifference, trivialised or simply paid lip service. One of the Opposition's slogan is √čnough No more", a slogan which I believe aptly speaks to the political violence that is seething. "Chill People, CHILL!

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I have an uneasy feeling about this election re: violence. We're coming to the end of whats been essentially a 15-month campaign (pre-referendum to election). Each side has demonized the other. So if I'm ULP, there is NO WAY I can allow NDP to come to power and turn back the progress. And if I'm NDP, Ralph is Hitler and must be stopped at all costs. Toss into the mix (a) the usual election passions (b) more lax attitude to violence (c) easier to obtain weapons and (d) alcohol... Not lookin good.
Like Abeni says: Chill!
I find it hard to accept that in we as a people cannot get to a place where we accept that views differ and there's no need to get violent about it. There is something about a political election that seems to just bring out the worst in the politicians and there loyal supporters. In my eyes, they are all the same, promising a better tomorrow when they are in opposition, and coming into power failing to deliver on promises made during election campaigns. And at the end of it all, the people suffer from the violent end of the stick. When will we mature? When will we truly be bipartisan and do what is best for the country and not the party? Grrrrrr ... Chill people!!
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