“All of Jamaica (that matters) is Here” Diner en Blanc, Kingston, Jamaica.

I haven’t spoken about Kingston’s Diner en Blanc until now. Shrugs. I simply haven’t felt the need to. It was just another party. The pictures I saw looked beautiful! Diner en Blanc was all about gorgeous people in white, lovely place settings, in the beautiful Emancipation Park.  Diner en Blanc is an international movement. 

Photo courtesy of Diner en Blanc, Kingston’s FaceBook Page 

Then I watched ER’s report on Diner en Blanc. A representative from one of our leading banks made a statement that has been bothering me since Friday night: “All of Jamaica is here”. No, Ma’am. Not at all. 900 people is not all of Jamaica. Did you mean to say “All of Jamaica that matters is here”?Think about it: All of Jamaica (that matters) is here. 

This goes to the heart of what is wrong. It reveals the thinking of many of us. It explains much of what we see around us. “All of Jamaica (that matters) is here.” Us and Them. It informs the dispensing of justice, provision of health care, why some things happen in some communities and not in others. “Us and Them”. As long as those with means continue to pretend as if Those Others don’t exist, the chasm between Us and Them will grow wider. Then guess what happens…Resentment foments. Decisions are compromised by conditions conducive for The Next WillingNigger.  Us and Them. 
Diner en Blanc was never an issue. It is the thinking, betrayed in a relaxed moment, perhaps shared by others there that illustrates Jamaica’s fundamental issue.

Dis ya Jamaica? People mortgaging themselves to the hilt to drive the right car, while living in rented accommodations. People who beg in secret for invitations to the Right Occasions. People racking up debt to look the part. People making these choices simply because appearances matter so much in today’s Jamaica.

The bank’s corporate presence at Diner en Blanc illustrates another reality and underscores the point I am trying to make about decision making being driven by the importance of appearances rather than firm principle in support of growth and development. Fact: It is easier to get a $7M loan to buy one of Mr. New Car Dealer’s new It cars than it is to get $2M to retool a factory. 

Appearances > Productivity.

“All of Jamaica (that matters) is Here”. Stay woke, Jamaica. Remember the Tipping Point.  

Why can’t I watch the Winter Olympics? Why is our murder rate so high?

Have you ever had something denied to you that you knew was rightfully yours? Or have you ever been blamed for something that you never did? How did you feel?  A tight knot of resentment right in the middle of your core, growing bigger with each passing second… If it had a colour it would be deep red…and the worst part about it is that there was nowhere for it to go… it just sits there getting hotter and redder and bigger with nowhere to go and you can’t even touch it or scratch it because your hands are tied tightly behind you… The rage.  The indignation. The helplessness.
I wanted to watch Winter Olympics last week.  I merrily turned to NBC only to see the increasingly familiar message from the cable provider: “no video” and a black screen.  Kiss mi teet.  It turns out that the only way I will get to watch the Sochi games is if I fork out more money to my cable provider and subscribe to SportsMax.  Something feels so wrong about this arrangement.  Something feels so unjust.  I have paid for a service which ought to allow me the pleasure of watching the games.  And some bodies here on this island have decided that they must make some money so I am denied what I have paid for and pay over monies to them to get what I already paid for. 
I am not watching the games on my laptop.  I don’t have a smart TV.  I don’t have the cord that connects the laptop to my TV.  I am not going to go through the trouble to block my IP address so I can find a good feed.  I want to turn on my TV, switch to channel 104 and watch the freaking games, in my bed, or from my couch or wherever the hell I choose to watch them from.  I want to see triple Lutzes, the luge, speed skating and ski jumping!  I remember watching ski jumping as a teenager with some friends. One young man, today a famous entertainer in his own right (Hi, Terry!) summed up so articulately, so elegantly what I felt inside while I watched the intrepid gents soar off the ramp into the clear winter skies: “ Da bredda deh mus feel f*#! up just a sail tru di air wid him hand stiff a him side!!!”
Photo courtesy of National Geographic
 So I pretend as if the games don’t exist and settle for another Law and Order or House Hunters marathon.
And if I feel this rage at this relative inconvenience, pause as I did, if even for one minute, and think about the MAJORITY of our Jamaican citizens who face injustice in even more real and frightful circumstances daily… the man who is in lock-up without being charged, without a “good lawyer” to get him out; without a family who can represent his case… the youth who is rounded up and herded with blows unto a truck by agents of the state, not nuh gunman or criminal doing this to him, but agents of the state, simply because he is in the wrong place at the wrong time… the woman who has to go to the Family Court and is verbally abused or at best treated with indifference because she feels, maybe she is, unable to articulate her case with poise and clarity…
Photo courtesy of the Daily Gleaner   

I felt like stoning supn when I was denied a TV show that I had paid for.  And we wonder why our murder rate is so high.  And we wonder why our society has become so aggressive and brutish.