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An All Time Low

pam-burnsideYesterday was indeed a sad day in more ways than one! I was aghast as I read and watched press accounts that demonstrated blatant attacks on our human and gender rights as Bahamians. We have sunk to an all time low confirming that, unless checked, our society – that breeds mediocrity, gender bias and shameless ignorance – is heading on a collision course straight into a bottomless blue hole of petty ‘politricks’ and gutter journalism. Meanwhile, amongst this tomfoolery, the people suffer!

I refer to two events that have developed, with far reaching consequences, as a result of the recent devastating passage of Hurricane Joaquin through these Bahamian islands:

1) The refusal by the Speaker to allow MP Loretta Butler-Turner to make her address on behalf of her Long Island constituents. We can all make up our own mind as to why this was allowed to happen without any immediate outcry from fellow Parliamentarians, but when we allow partisan politics to stifle freedom in speech, especially in times of NATIONAL disaster, we are clearly demonstrating that we do not understand governance ‘for the good of the PEOPLE’ (not the PARTY)…and for what? The attempt to stifle Loretta Butler-Turner yesterday will, in fact, have just the opposite effect.

“Hello…reality check: this is the 21st century – the age of social media” – the truth will get out, with or without your consent!

Hurricane victims are displaced and traumatized. They are hurting, and they need answers and action. The power of civil society is increasing and more and more the voices of the people are being heard. Wake up, and take note ‘politrick-shuns’!

2) The second incident was the outrageous social media gutter attacks on Candia Dames, Editor of The Nassau Guardian, by those members of society who can only resort to ‘slutshaming’. It is sad that their mental capacity can only lead into the gutter. Unfortunately this has become the rule rather than the exception in our society today, the result of our failed educational system and the deterioration of our moral values. But where is the outrage from fellow journalists? I extend kudos to the fearless young COB journalism students who have publicly demonstrated their support behind Ms Dames.

Is this smut the direction in which we want to lead our society? Can this ignorant behaviour of viewing women as nothing more than a ‘sex object’ be attributed to another negative result of the foreign-centric ‘Junkanoo Carnival’ marketing when we constantly foisted naked, gyrating, females upon the minds of our citizens? Is this a glaring example of why we cannot have a sensible debate about gender equality in order to get this important Bill passed?

In all of this we must reflect on the fact that we, the Bahamian people, are destroying ourselves from within. Those positive attributes and values that bound us together in the past are being lost and no longer understood. We cannot afford to lose our essence as decent, hardworking people who lived together as a community.

So are we ready to refuse to settle for mediocrity and ignorance? Are we ready to demand instead uplifting our minds with critical thinking, proper analysis and decent debate? These disgraceful incidents that happened yesterday are a frightening inkling of that deep, dark and dangerous path from which we must veer post haste in order to save our humanity.

Pam Burnside

Posted in Opinions

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