I need to get a few things straight, dear readers. Just for the record, and you may take it or leave it – as you wish. As we reflect on our Emancipation and Independence (two different things – I am not fond of the term “Emanci-pendence“) over the next few days, it’s as good a time as any.
Here are some things that, over the years, I have whittled down to what I stand “for” and what I stand “against.” I think this has been reflected in my blog to a greater or lesser extent, but if you like – these are my guiding principles that I have held on to since I was a young woman. Sometimes I do fall down; but I do try.
- Human rights for all. That’s what “universal” means in the UN Declaration of Human Rights, right? By the way, the UN Human Rights Council passed a resolution on September 26, 2014, to combat violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, seen as a critically important achievement for upholding the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. So – human rights for all, no exceptions.
- Respect for all,which pretty much goes hand in hand with human rights; but respect should also be a part of our day-to-day actions towards our fellow human beings. I see it as something to do with kindness, and good manners, and recognition of the other person’s humanity and dignity.
- Freedom of speech – which (to me) means you can say whatever you want, but don’t expect everyone to agree with you (I don’t expect you to agree with me; I am simply expressing myself).
- Freedom of expression: Which is “the right of every individual to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” It’s one of those rights listed above.
- The protection of the environment! Yes, and that is non-negotiable for me (as you are no doubt aware…)
- Empowerment of civil society, as opposed to its stifling.
- Peaceful action, not words. Democracy in action, that is.
- Corruption in all its forms, and as a member of National Integrity Action I would like to keep the focus on this.
- Insulting and disrespectful language – whether it’s the dreaded “n-word” or a shouted insult when someone accuses you of “bad driving.” Sometimes you have to balance that freedom of speech with respect for others.
- People using their religion as an excuse to be intolerant and uncaring. I am not religious myself, but I am not “anti-religion.”
- I am not happy with some of the Chinese developments in Jamaica and the way in which details are apparently being hidden from us, as I fear they are not in the country’s best interest. But I am not “anti-Chinese,” and nor should anyone be. Actually, I would really, really like to be able to applaud them for something!
- I want our environment protected above all, for our own survival as well as that of the “two likkle lizard.” But I am not “anti-development.” I am for sustainable development. I am overwhelmingly worried about climate change.
- I often question or disagree with Government pronouncements or decisions, but I am not “anti-Government.” In fact, I also check the “like” box for Government actions and policies. The same with the Opposition. I just want them all to do their best for the country, as they all know they should. I am not “anti-PNP,” or “anti-JLP.” I just want them to try harder, and do the right thing.
- Pontificating, talking behind others’ backs, talking, talking, talking and doing nothing!
- And perhaps worst of all… Apathy, fear and silence. Here’s a familiar quote:
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
I don’t always get it right, as I said. If you think I am a troublemaker who should sit down and shut up, that is your prerogative. If I get something wrong or you disagree with me, please let me know. I have never been one for sitting on the fence (or on an uptown verandah, which is what applies in Jamaica).
I hope that clears the air, a bit. Thank you for reading this far! At times I think it would be so much easier to write a pretty little story with a happy ending in my blog, perhaps once a week. Trouble is, I am always pulled back to reality, and I think we all need to face up to it sooner or later.
Maybe I will start writing happy little fantasies. Then everyone can go back into their comfort zones, again.