Terror in Tivoli and women’s role

And so islandistas, it has come to this.

Photo credit: Ian Allen/Jamaica Gleaner

The ugly, jagged and dark side of the Caribbean’s ultimate Jekyll and Hyde island has been unveiling itself in all its horror over the last week as the forces of Dudus have been unleashed against the Jamaican state.

Dramatic?

Not really.

A state of emergency was declared in Kingston yesterday afternoon. The Hannah Town police station and Darling Street police station have been set on fire and their officers forced to flee.

Police officers have been attacked and their vehicle stolen.

And there are increasing reports of roadblocks and marauding gunmen stalking both downtown (Tivoli, Denham Town, Hannah Town, Slipe Road) and uptown (Red Hills, Liguanea, Mona/August Town/Papine, New Kingston).

As we write, reports are coming in that officers of the Jamaica Constabulary Force are trying to reach five injured police officers who are stranded on the grounds of Excelsior High School in Mountain View Avenue.

More pics and analysis under the cut…

You would well know that usually the tone and fare here on Islandista is lighthearted but these are serious times.

Islandistas are the leaders and future leaders of the Caribbean and Jamaica’s crisis is all our business, particularly the pivotal role that women are playing in defending Dudus.

Photo credit: Jamaica Gleaner

The cries of the women as reported by the papers were striking – and horrifying too. Claims that Dudus feeds them and sends to school their children. Shouts that he is “next to God.”

Photo credit: Jamaica Gleaner

Seriously? How did it get so islandistas? Obviously, it is not the women who are prowling the streets with high-powered guns but still. It is not for nothing that the proverb is ‘the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world’.

Photo credit: Jamaica Gleaner

The Observer had a good article on it yesterday, examining the way such women view the dons and how the link between them is built on largesse. Some excerpts:

“”When I see them with guns, it’s like a normal, everyday thing, but is some a dem same guy dey who support we and mek we feel good, send the pickney dem go a school, gi wi money fi do we hair and nail and protect we,” she said.

Other women with whom the Sunday Observer spoke confirmed that a strategy used by their communities to protect gunmen was for women and children to go out into the streets when police and soldiers raid an area. The idea, they said, is to prevent the law enforcers from shooting at gunmen as they would be less inclined to fire once women and children are in the way.

“When times tough wid we, is the same man dem go a road go rob so that we can eat food too,” one woman from a Central Kingston community said. “We inna de ghetto nuh get nuh ratings from the people who live a Norbrook, Beverly Hills and Cherry Gardens. Dem think seh nobody good nuh come from the ghetto. We cyaan get nuh good work, and so if di man dem inna we area start do some juggling fe help we, everybody from outside just a come dung pon we so.”

What a ting…

If these women pass on this attitude of craven gratitude and dependence on a don to their children, how will the cyle ever be broken? How can it be broken? What can we as islandistas do through charity, through offering the opportunities these women say they have been denied, through mentorship or leadership to break this cycle?

Let’s start the discussion.

4 comments for “Terror in Tivoli and women’s role

  1. Ronnie
    May 25, 2010 at 11:33 pm

    It’s about survival, no matter where it comes from. Poor people are desperate; you don’t care if your benefactor is a priest or a crook. This phenom is as old as crime itself.
    Take Robin Hood: he stole from the rich and gave to the poor. Yet he was an outlaw. It didn’t matter that the King was a despot and the law was oppressive, the law was the law and Robin Hood broke it and lived on the edge because of it. Yet he was a folk hero for taking care of the poor with ill-gotten means. He’s still a hero to this day.
    Same thing with Dudus. The current outbreak is symptomatic of a bigger problem in JA: rank inequality in the distribution of the nation’s wealth, resources and opportunities.

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