'I saw my land in the Evening …'
"…and, Oh! but she was drear,
Hope, vision and courage gone, fear and failure everywhere"
–(Apologies to M.G.Smith)
We have given up, it seems. Drunk on greed and obsessed by money, most of us seem ready to accept anything preceded by a dollar sign.
We are the foolish virgins, swooning at any temptation, ready to choose ethanol over food and the blandishments of any fool with a gimmick over our own commonsense, willing to discard everything we have learned and accomplished to go whoring after snake oil salesmen with perpetual money machines.
When the next disaster befalls us we will blame everyone but ourselves. It does not occur to anyone that the next storm -- not necessarily a hurricane -- could make the Palisadoes into what it used to be --a series of islands, reachable only by boat . It does not occur to us that if recession=hit Americans cannot afford cruises we will have destroyed half Jamaica for nothing
We could protect Palisadoes if we wanted, by banning sand mining at Yallahs but we prefer to choose expensive sea defences that will be destroyed if a Hurricane Allen were to make landfall where the 1980 storm was forecast to strike.
We could preserve our beautiful country and its rich heritage if we chose.
We could. We could.
But who will speak and work for Jamaica?
Teenagers and STD
It has has always been more dangerous being a teenager than being anything else. Scientists know that the human brain doesn't become fully mature until about age 24 which is why gangs, war, fast cars and reckless behaviour of all kinds is so seductive to young people.
Sex always sees to take us by surprise, and none of us more so than those least prepared. .At a stage where all of life is an experiment, nothing is as intriguing as sex. Which is why children need parents, guides, role models and confessors. But our Christian and some other religious beliefs combine with poverty and ignorance to ensure that most children are abandoned at the time in their lives when it is most crucial for them to be among friends.
The Americans have learned that one in every four teenage girls has already contracted at least one sexually transmitted disease. Among black girls, African-Americans, the figure is one in two.
A virus that causes cervical cancer - HPV - is the most common STD, followed by chlamydia, trichomoniasis and herpes.
The survey was not screening for syphilis and gonorrhea. What would those results tell us, one wonders.
In the United States for more than ten years the fight against the lethal pandemic of HIV/AIDs has been founded on preventing the more common STD. It's been found that any STD potentiates the HIV virus, making people more vulnerable to infection and making those infected more productive of the virus and therefore more dangerous to their partners.
Here, we fight HIV through education and propaganda. Our children are experts in HIV but illiterate abut all other STD. It might make more sense if we concentrated on finding and wiping out all STD instead of spending millions on surveys which tell us that the propaganda is received but the condoms aren't being used.
I am puzzled by the fact that American researchers in Uganda are now hailing as a great new discovery the fact that circumcised men are several times less likely to transmit HIV or any other STD to their partners. This fact has been known for generations. Jewish and Muslim women, whose men are routinely circumcised, have been for generations known to have a lower risk of cervical cancer and other STD. The first papers on the effect of circumcision on HIV transmission is at least twelve years old.
So I do not understand why the Third World is nor ablaze with neon signs telling men to get themselves circumcised in their own and their partners' protection and that the state does not offer free circumcision to all comers. .
Sometimes I feel that the current anti HIV/AIDS campaigns are a modern equivalent of the notorious Tuskegee study, when black men with syphilis were regularly examined by federally paid doctors but not treated until 30 years after penicillin was known to cure the disease.
Obama and Racism
One of the more surprising features of Hillary Clinton’s campaign is its racism. While she was ahead all was sweetness and light. When she started losing primaries people in her campaign began to reveal their true feelings about black people. Bill Clinton himself tried to downplay Barack Obama’s importance – just another black making a sectarian statement, like Jesse Jackson 20 years before. Clinton herself and other surrogates have embarrassed themselves by other snide, racist references including attempts to smear Obama as a Muslim and, by inference a friend of terrorists.
Another serial denigrator of blacks is Geraldine Ferraro, who twenty years ago – then an obscure Congresswoman, was selected to be Walter Mondale’s vice presidential running mate against George H.W. Bush and Dan Quayle.
Last week, Ferraro, now a member of the Clinton election team, delivered herself of the judgment that “if Obama was (sic) a white man, he would not be in this position. And if he was a woman – of any colour – he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept."
Does she mean that Obama is the beneficiary of some national pro-black hysteria ?
Ben Smith points out in the Politico blog that Ferraro said the same thing 20 years ago – about Jesse Jackson
Smith quotes from a story written by Howard Kurtz in the Washington Post in 1988
“… President Reagan suggested Tuesday that people don't ask Jackson tough questions because of his race. And former representative Geraldine A. Ferraro (D-N.Y.) said Wednesday that because of his "radical" views, "if Jesse Jackson were not black, he wouldn't be in the race." In 1988 Jesse Jackson dismissed Ferraro (and Reagan) saying “while I’m making history some are making hysteria.”
Obama can’t say the same thing of course. Hillary would accuse him of felonious plagiarism. And when the Obama campaign accused the Clinton campaign of racism, Ferraro came roaring back. Defending herself, she accused Obama of twisting her words: . 'Every time that campaign is upset about something, they call it racist,' she said. 'I will not be discriminated against because I'm white.….'"
Ferraro exposes her existential racism, raising up a whole panoply of racist spectres going back to the Civil War. This seems ingrained in the Clinton campaign, betrayed, as Orlando Patterson points out by the racist symbolism embedded in the Clinton TV commercial asking who would Americans want picking up the red phone in the White House when something dangerous was happening in the world
(See ‘The Red phone in Black & White’ http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/11/opinion/11patterson.html
The Clinton campaign has no intention of playing by the rules, elastic as they are. Clinton like every other candidate, accepted the Democratic National ?Committee’s decision to discount the primaries in Michigan and Florida, because the state parties broke the rules. Clinton’s name was the only one on the ballot in Michigan. In Florida Obama and other candidates were on the ballot only because it was impossible to remove them. In both states, however, Clinton’s surrogates campaigned while the others didn’t. Hillary herself made strategic fund-raising appearances in both states including a ‘Thank You’ appearance in Florida on the night of the discredited primary. In Michigan where hers was the only name on the ballot she claims that Obama did campaign. The reason: when Obama spotted the Clinton strategy he told his supporters to vote ‘uncommitted’ .
Clinton has been claiming that she ‘won’ Michigan and Florida where no valid ballots were cast for anyone. People did go to vote on ‘primary’ day in order to vote for various state initiatives. Many didn’t bother believing that rules were rules.
Clinton has been joined by elements of the press, who, determined to sow as much confusion as possible, continue to report that she “won” primaries that never took place.
As I said last week, this Presidential campaign will be the dirtiest in history.
I’ve been wondering whether Hilary realises that she is in danger of making her corner of the Democratic party into a modern version of Strom Thurmond’s Dixiecrats. With a little help from Ralph Nader, Clinton may guarantee an opening for Jeb Bush as John Mc Cain’s running mate and an opportunity to to secure the American monarchy left vacant since George III.