While recently engaged in a discussion at church on whether DISOBEDIENCE and INDISCIPLINE are synonymous, a thought occurred to me: Jamaican students who migrate display a quaint but much admired character trait- the use of SIR and MISS when referring to male and female teachers. Another Jamaican characteristic displayed by parent/guardian is the administration of corporal punishment, i.e., spanking or as the good old book describe it, the use of the rod. The appropriate administration of corporal punishment/spanking is an integral part of our Jamaican identity.
It is also now well-known because of its frequent articulation by officials from the MOE who seem to go out of their way to remind us that “if any teacher administer corporal punishment, they’re on there own”. In previous years (the good old days?), when corporal punishment was routinely administer to erring children, there was no sense of an anarchistic state of affairs as currently prevails in school. What we now call schools are in fact war zones: between teacher and student and students and teachers and sometime even between teacher and teacher. Only a very brave or foolish person would become a teacher under the prevailing circumstances.
Another part of our uniqueness is our almost unanimous acclaim of love for God which should translate in adherence to law and order. Benefiting from the teachings of the Bible, we were routinely exposed to what’s right and what’s wrong. With the loss of our Jamaican identity we seem to have lost the relish for God. This has occasioned extremely negative repercussions which increase daily in intensity. Because the majority no longer find the Word of God appealing, they are not exposed to its sanctifying (softening) effect. And this has turned hearts into stone.
This accounts for the brazenness of the killers. The recent (May 12) ghastly slaying of a woman, who eyewitnesses said was chased around York Plaza like a dog and shot more than five (5) times in full view of motorist and pedestrians is testament to this fact. Her crime is that of being an alleged eyewitness to a murder in Half-Way-Tree. And because we no longer fear God, casino gambling can be introduced with impunity and anyone with the temerity to question its appropriateness to solve our joblessness and the government’s urgent need of revenue are ridiculed and made a pariah.
Indiscipline, crime and violence and lawlessness will reign and intensify exponentially as long as we remain prodigals to our unique Jamaican identity. There is something extraordinarily good about being Jamaican. And like most things Jamaican we have exported our unique Jamaican identity and we have been made the poorer. We now need to arrange its re-export back to our shores, even if it returns in the form of a deportee.