This the final of a series of blogs with #bloggingabroadblogchallenge. Today’s prompt is Proverbs or sayings you hear around your community. The saying I am focusing on is not heard around my community so much, but it has a deep meaning to me. Focusing on the meaning and why it is very important I hope it will shed some light on things here.
Cockroach no business inna fowl fight, means do not involve yourselves in others quarrels that do not concern you. Typically I would say this is great advice, but being me and having a focus on conflict resolution I am that cockroach in the fowl fight. Every day when I work in the schools I see fights and break them up. Just yesterday a grade 6 boy went after a grade 2 boy with a machete. I had to intervene and send both back to class, I struggle with giving the kids tools to work the farm due to this kind of behavior. Sadly the kids go through life without intervention and then become adults who solve all disputes with violence.
For me this cycle of violence is unacceptable. Jamaica’s biggest murder motive is domestic violence. By people minding their own business this will never change. In America we have the same issues, but being one who suffered with an abusive partner and survived, I will never stand back and allow it to happen. I always step up. I cannot understand why good people sit back and watch it happen and not intervene. Just the other day a video went viral of a man beating a woman on the bus, instead of stepping up people just recorded it? Seriously wt actual f?
History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/m/martinluth133707.html
The recent murders of American missionaries has rocked the island, and even more so in those communities where foreign aid workers live and work. My community is scrambling to ensure me that I am safe and no harm will come to me. Though I believe them, I still take no chances and focus on being extremely diligent as I go through my days. I look forward to closure in this case and justice being found.
As I have so often mentioned Jamaica is a paradox of super-religious background and hyper-sexuality add in a good quantity of violence and apathy and you will understand why the Peace Corps is still here. Jamaica has a need to find inner peace and non-violent conflict resolution. I struggle daily with how to assist with such things. In a normal every day conversation between community members, it often sounds as though it is escalating into violence, but it is not. I am not saying violence runs amok here, it does not. What I am saying is that violence is always in the undertow and it takes so little to bring it to the surface. A man can have multiple women and cheat on his wife/lover, but if she leave him or cheat on him she will get her just rewards. It is a very patriarchal society and that might be stemmed in the strong Christian base that it has. I have long wondered if a pastor, Jamaican or otherwise, focused more on scriptures of love and forgiveness if this world would be far less violent? Many wars are started rooted in religion and Christianity is the biggest offender in this.
So I wonder if we can stop pretending bad things do not happen around us and instead stand up and display our sense of justice and step up when needed? I advise you to remember your personal safety, but if one man is beating a woman and there are 4 other men, step up. Stand up in your faith, find your strength and face injustice with the anger it deserves. Stop thinking you are a cockroach, you are the farmer and you can squash the violence, you have the power, will you use it?
Remember this is not just a Jamaica problem, this is a human problem. We have the abilty to end it, we just have to choose to. I pray that Jamaica finds her strength and that the people learn to stand up for justice and fight the violence with love and compassion, we all should learn this.
**Author’s note: “This blog is written as a response to a blog prompt and since I do not hear many proverbs spoken, unless I use them, I found one that is fitting for the moment. Please do not think that I am scared to go anywhere here, or that it is dangerous all over, it is not. Most often foreigners are not targeted for such violence, the missionaries are a unique case and most people I know cannot stop talking about jungle justice and how they hope the perpetrators are quickly caught, brought to justice and incarcerated.
Also note that I am currently working on a violence prevention and conflict resolution progam at the local school I work at. I have been trying for months to make this happen and by month’s end I hope to see it come to fruition. (If I did stay a third year this would hopefully be my focus, do not hold your breath, Jen!)