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A Country in Crisis

I am sitting in my room on this rainy morning, looking outside my window and thinking about life and appreciating how happy I am. Recognizing that I have come a long way and just admiring the fact that I made it to the other side. when I was in my early twenties, I did not imagine that I would have been able to triumph the way I have, so for myself I sigh and smile, with pride and joy for the fact that I made it over.

As I look through the window at the rain, I imagine how nice it would be to live in this same country, if the events and people and situations were different from they are now. The news yesterday said four year old girl killed, her head was cut off and her body disposed off in an abandoned pit! She was four (4) years old, a baby unstained, untouched on her way to school, seen in the company of her father's girlfriend, who it turns out became angry because of the father's affection for his daughter. The news this morning, eight year old found in pit latrine, a beautiful eight year old girl was raped and disposed of in her school's pit latrine. The news yesterday evening; eighty four year old woman, a vendor, poor, vulnerable, struggled all her life, chopped to death by a man, apparently of unsound mind.

Just last week we remembered the six (6) girls who perished in a fire in a girls home, after they were locked up in a tiny room, 'twenty three girls, with seven beds, fourteen mattresses" locked down for three weeks, no fresh air, no attempts at easing the building tension, limited access to a bathroom, girls fighting each other, beating each other, raping each other, living like dogs, surviving in a hell hole of degradation and shame, becoming less of a girl every passing minute, but denied the right to speak for themselves because they have been deemed 'uncontrollable'.

The Jamaican state does not know what to do with girls who protest injustice, stories surface of girls who experience all kinds of abuse, who have no access to justice, who really have no advocate, who act out of frustration, but who are denied the right to protest their own maltreatment, who are denied the right to be human, who are denied the right to self defense, because there is a special demarcation, a special category for girls who dare to speak, it is called 'uncontrollable.' So girls deemed 'uncontrollable' are locked away in prisons with hardened criminals, three of them killed themselves earlier this year, or they are put in so called girl's home, places of obscene cruelty, where a sadistic state employs sadistic citizens to put these girls in their place for daring to be 'uncontrollable.'

They called the female prime minister 'uncontrollable' all the time as well. Only in 'polite society' uncontrollable becomes "too passionate", 'too emotional" or like my male colleague said yesterday, when he became the manifestation of patriarchy "that outburst".

I am still looking out my window, this time with tears just one blink away, wondering if I really did make it over, I am rethinking all of this, I am wondering why the hell we take this, I am wondering why we grit our teeth and bite our tongues and bathe ourselves in flowers and feminine pink, why don't we say it with fire, why do the women keep silence, this is not a damn church, why don't we speak, for Gods sake, why have we allowed our children to be used and disposed of, what the hell have they done with our voices and our tongues? why are we speaking in soft dulcet tones? why do we seek approval and validation? Why are we seeking validation and approval from a patriarchal system?

Comments

Beautifully written Nadz. It touches my heart and it bleeds for all the girls in your thoughts.

I see quite a lot of myself in what you have written. Recognizing what a long way we have come - how much sacrifices and heartaches after we have reached where we are. People see us as successful and as strong people with luck on their side.

But what brings someone to somewhere is handwork. And yet, to realize that our hard-work still has not been enough. We still need to continue marching on to get the rights of others. We need to be the strength for others like us. Other unfortunate people need a helping hand to empower them, to move them ahead.

My heart goes out to the victims of rape and I cannot help ask if God is real. I can't help ask why He created humans who could do such atrocious act and can live with themselves - can sleep and can laugh about life.

And us women - Yes! why the do we take it? Every single one of us need to stand up for our rights. We need to speak and make ourselves be heard.

Good luck with your journey ahead with VOF

Salaam
Aminah

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