Of boors and brutes
By A.A Fenty
August 30, 2002
..... and it is so tempting to add "bandits" to that caption above. Our gangsta-rap "culture".
With apologies to our not-yet-forty President I choose to stress some negatives today, as I've done before, in the hope that if just a few responsible persons in some authority are touched, some inkling of social change will occur.
An old Oxford Concise dictionary offers a few definitions of "boor" as "peasant", "clumsy, ill-bred fellow". Hence boorish behaviour flows from boors and that type of (male) fellow especially. But, believe me, the behaviour is not limited to males. The book also defines "brute" as "not gifted with reason; stupid, sensual, unspirited, beast-like, merely material; lower nature of man." Readers may guess what relevant definitions of brute, it is my unpleasant option to dwell on.
You see it is again my contention that as a society, too many of our under-thirty citizens (?) are now given to boorish and brutish behaviour and lifestyles. I don't care how many hundreds I see pouring into and out of the popular church-halls. I salute their efforts to make an effort at acquiring spiritual guidance and religious values. But do you know that too many of them become boors and brutes, of varying levels, just as they swing out of the churches?
Success stories of CXC achievers, Vacation Bible Schools, corporate/business leaders, some intelligent fashion-pageant contestants and top sportsmen cannot hide the fact that too many thousands of our youth are boorish and gross. Be frank about it! Stand up unobtrusively, outside some schools next week; mingle with the school-men and school-women at the bus terminals. And hear their "conversations" of choice: adulation of the criminals, the sex, the lust for the instant-rich, quick dollar and much of what is wrong and/or illegal. What a natural nurturing ground for potential bandits. So I'm being too extreme? Unscientific?
Well I dabbled a bit, years ago, with the fine attempts by places such as the Guyana Responsible Parenthood Association (GRPA), the Adult Education Association and appreciated the work of the LEOS, the SCOUTS, the YM/YWCA etcetera. I add in the efforts of some "church organisations" and the GNS of the eighties and yet I declare: parents and church have failed generally. What? Deeper research, insights and analysis show that social and economic factors - meaning unemployment and poverty - have played a significant role in producing today's brutes? I suppose I'll have to concede. But I wonder why my generations of deprived teens were not as given to brutish grossness and gangsterism. The social, pressure-cooker factors were not as many?
Another fundamental concession I'll make again, as I mourn for a country now overrun by boors, brutes and bandits is - that it is not the youth, by themselves, who are responsible for their undesirable majority status. As the song said: "youths don't own the breweries, the cocaine cartels, the night-clubs, cinemas or brothels." Or words to that effect. Of course not! Who are their social and political role models? Their local television inspirers and their protesting teachers? Ha! Even homosexuals seem to be mostly adult! So I leave my lament on a serious note: Who's to blame? Perhaps I was and am part of the problem? And others like me?
They continued dancing
Related to all the above is a phenomenon a friend of mine wrote about. He, like I do, shudders at the fact that it seems that slowly, too many Guyanese are becoming "numb", indifferent, insensitive to the sufferings of our fellow citizens - the robberies, the brutality, the murders. A guard at Bhagans is shot in cold-blood. But at nearby Juniors, they continued "drinks". The Sunday night bandits shootout by the disco, and the revellers continued dancing! The anti-drug official is executed and the tele-activists and others infer "a drug-deal has gone sour".
Fear, indifference, ignorance, bandit-adulation have all contributed to the acceptance of banditry. Even tacit, can't-help acceptance. When my friends, a society turns its back on crime and criminals; when it is insensitive to its neighbours' woes; when even the police are laughed at, the seeds of "ungovernable" anarchy are sown. Are we not there already?
So tell me, which group benefits from this state of affairs? Or thinks it does?
Cry, our beloved country
1) How best could we honour our finest?
1b) Even ambitious boors would not want to know only Bounty Killer, Capleton and Chutney
1c) My heart goes out to bank guards these days.
2) I liked this Monday's Stabroek News editorial calling for action not words. So why not some limited state of emergency? Infringe some rights then. For the greater good and security. Execute dragnets without even certain officers knowing beforehand. Let the PNC, the Bar Association, the WPA and Mr McCormack protest afterwards.
3) Perhaps they never had our problems. Interesting statement by the President. That nowhere else in the Caribbean is political power "shared" as is already being done here. Or as is being requested.
4) From Rose Hall to Richmond Hill - the supporters want to leave. Many feel that the CIVIC now does not have the security support to protect them. I suppose others will leave too.
5) So Major-General Joe had thrown out the fellow? No wonder the 'busing. Who's the good guy here?
6) Oh-oh. More African trouble ahead for the poor CIVIC? An African City Hall Parliament is about to make certain serious demands. Poor Civic. Those "Africans" never asked the PNC.
7) Great stuff brought to my attention this week. The President stated his position on homosexuals. Then there was (another) social event of the year.
'Til next week.