Observer column for MON 16 NOV 2015 by Jean Lowrie-Chin
|Aung San Suu Kyi - from BBC.com website|
This horrifying attack by the so-called “IS” against France, is a powerful reminder to leaders everywhere of the danger of hatred. Psychologists are still trying to unravel how a state became so convinced that Jews were their enemies, that six million children, women and men were systematically murdered by the Hitler-led administration less than a century ago.
Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of Myanmar’s (formerly Burma) National League for Democracy, told the media, after her party’s recent landslide victory that the deep-seated divisions in her country will take time to heal. Suu Kyi had been kept under house arrest for ten years by the country’s military, after campaigning for democracy. In 1991, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her principled activism, described by the Nobel Chairman as “an outstanding example of the power of the powerless.” Suu Kyi’s victory proved what she had written years before: “love and truth can move people more strongly than any form of coercion.”
This leads me to appeal to our Jamaican leaders, to remove the vitriol from their campaigns. If you have enough accomplishments and solid plans for Jamaica, why use your campaign platform for these personal attacks against each other? PSOJ President William Mahfood remarked recently that he had hoped to see greater political maturity from our leaders as they gear for the upcoming General Elections. With the world in such a state of fear and disarray, how wonderful it would be if we could say of Jamaica, “We speak peace in every corner of our country” and mean it! Then communities would not be so divided that people cannot cross certain roads, just a few metres from their homes.
We are still proud that we have come a far way through the establishment of our Electoral Commission of Jamaica (ECJ), preceded by the Electoral Advisory Committee (EAC). Both political parties are represented on the Commission and they should work to make this political maturity a reality. Who knew that as members of the ECJ, Senator Tom Tavares-Finson and Minister Peter Bunting have travelled together to regional electoral conferences to share Jamaica’s electoral best practices?
The next great step would be full adherence of all political representatives to the Political Code of Conduct that bans any association with corrupt and violent practices. Hatred feeds on negative behaviour, and endangers the lives of the innocent. Let every pastor who preaches the love of God, rebuke any anti-social behaviour they see from our leaders and their party faithfuls. Let them engage our politicians in church services and prayer meetings, to cool their tempers.
Similarly let all religions of peace lead the world away from those that are purveyors of intolerance and violence. In France, and in too many other states, we see the danger of hatred. Thank goodness, we also see in the hundreds who lined up in Paris on Saturday to donate blood for the victims, and those who gathered at the sites of the bombings, their undying fidelity to their motto, “Liberté, égalité, fraternité” – liberty, equality, fraternity. Out of our shared grief, let us find the courage to make this a safer, better world.