When might is certainly not right!
It was refreshing to hear the Barbados Workers’ Union’s (BWU) statement yesterday on a matter that should trouble us all.
As difficult as this complex issue of rising violence in our society is for us to stomach, it still needs to reported as happened –– and fully ventilated.
Furthermore, our victims –– be they male or female –– must be encouraged, as National Organization of Women (NOW) president Marilyn Rice Bowen recently suggested, to speak up and out about this problem of abuse.
“The major thing is to treat every threat seriously,” said Mrs Rice-Bowen to Barbados TODAY earlier this week.
Following a Walk Against Crimes Of Silence that ended 16 Days Of Activism, the NOW head specifically spoke to the issue of violence against women, warning that once “licks” were introduced to a relationship, the abused person should exit immediately.
More easily said than done, especially in a society where, Mrs Rice-Bowen rightfully points out, there are still many a woman who believes “if you don’t hit me, you don’t love me”.
Yet, we would rather see it as the NOW president does –– with the emphasis that love and licks don’t mix.
Still, in the majority of domestic abuse cases, it is less a question of right and wrong and more that of our tolerance as individuals and as a society, considering that none of us is immune in this world to provocation.
The onus, however, is that of ours, as individuals and as a society, to show –– if the evolution theory be considered –– that we are more than simple derivatives of the apes; that our thought processes and responses are far more developed and sophisticated.
Therefore, when one or more would attempt valiantly to push us over the edge, our minds ought to be so conditioned as to spontaneously register the repercussions of unbridled violent behaviour –– not only for the sake of ourselves, but that of our dependents and those of the injured –– and bring us to an understanding that all would be better served were we to maintain the upper hand on our tempters by doing the mature and sensible thing: walk away, or look the other way.
Or, even as The Bible says, turn the other cheek.
We are not purporting to preach here, though; only to seek to arrive at a neutral place where we all can be comfortable.
Nevertheless, it has to be said that a great part of the societal rut we are now noticing cannot be divorced from the current movement away from the church.
Those of us who have had the benefit of Christian families and regular Sunday School attendance, not to mention a national school system grounded in the ways and teachings of our Lord, can competently and carefully manoeuvre life’s bends, knowing that the policy of an “eye for eye” and a “tooth for a tooth” is never the best policy.
In fact, consider a Barbados in which we all took that vengeful route. Where would the violence end? How many more jails would we need? And if Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite thinks he currently has too much grey hair, we shudder at the thought of what his physical appearance would be faced with such an antagonistic scenario.
We believe the BWU is right in adding its powerful voice to the call for this dreaded violence to stop, for as the NOW president rightfully adds, it does none of us any good in this tourism-dependent region for the Caribbean to be branded along with Latin America as the most violent region in the world.
Granted, we have not reached the stage of Colombia and Mexico with their trigger-happy drug cartels, and it is our solemn hope and prayer we never, never shall!
But solving the problem of crime must of necessity start with the individual and gather resonance with Team Barbados. Otherwise the Chamber of Commerce’s present efforts –– as noble as they may be –– to fully light up the capital city with LEDs could be all for nothing, especially when one considers the many unlit creeks and crevices from which dangerous bandits spin on their axes of evil.
At the end of the day, our success as a nation rises and falls on the greater conscience of the majority.
Therefore, recession or no recession, hard times or not, a regular diet of televised violence or not, respect for others and their property remains paramount, as does society’s teaching that might is not always right, and that individuals must take responsibility for their actions.