This is the first in a series of remarks that were made at the launch of the "Nuh Guh Deh" campaign by Eve for Life on November 26. It was a powerful and at times quite emotional morning. You can contact Eve for Life at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at (876) 754-3594. You can also find them on Facebook and on Twitter @EveforLife.
Guest post by Rashad Brathwaite
2013 has been an intense year in the development of the legal framework of Caricom. The Shanique Myrie case engendered a host of political, legal and social commentary; necessary dialogues; dialogues worth having. Progress is seemingly followed immediately by failings. Following the legal formulations by the Caribbean Court of Justice vindicating and fleshing out the nature of the freedom of movement, a cohort of Jamaicans were rejected from Trinidad and Tobago. Following the signing of a Trade agreement between Jamaica and Trinidad, The Minister of National Security metaphorically sent many more home claiming the Trinidadian State is not a Mall.
In the face of failings by National Leaders and Institutions, from across the Caribbean whether in the direct denial of rights, the inflammatory language, our failings to join the Caribbean Court of Justice, our responses as Caribbean citizens impassioned in the moment, have often been violent and vitriolic. This piece focuses less on the legal development of CARICOM, which is no doubt critical, but instead focuses on our responses to these acts of violations; to our speech-performances of violence in response to violence.
It asks questions of our claim to moral authority when our responses in moments of oppression is to become equally oppressive. It problematizes our discourse when Caribbean citizens transform Facebook text-boxes into stereotypes, a devaluing of cultural differences and a claim to superiority. It rejects these notions of superiority. Cultural capital does not make you superior. Human-Resource capital does not make you superior. Natural-Resource capital does not make you superior. We are not superior.
Our liberation into a Region that holds each fibre of the Caribbean fabric as important, must start with us as members of the Community, of a Caribbean Civilization. The work of CARICOM, the spirit and ethos of Caribean-ness, not merely the Legal Mechanisms and Functionings, is in the everyday interactions of us as a Caribbean people.
When a Barbadian Minister reduces a country to “a rot”, when the Trinidadian Minister of National Security says the country is not a mall, When a Leader claims we should abandon, or refuse to join our Regional Court in favor of the National or in favor of the Colonial Power, our resort must be a radical Love; A Love that rejects these damaging notions, but does not replicate them.
These moments of Institutional failures must be our greatest call to actions as individuals. In a world dominated by realpolitik, rational self-interest, protection of the Sovereignty of the State, the national interest, is there a room for Love and Loving? Is this love and loving the space through which Caricom may flow? Is it not in these precise moments that those who form the established intellegensia and those outside of its boundaries; those whose wisdom does not ordinarily fit within the intellectual formalism or expression that defines the academy; those who possess the everyday wisdom of age, of experience, of youth, must respond in love?
In no way does this radical love preclude justice; it precludes vengeance. It does not preclude legal recourse to mechanisms designed to protect these rights, nor does it preclude denouncing sites of oppression. It precludes bigotry in response to oppression. It precludes claims of superiority. It precludes debasing our humanity in response. Paulo Freire contends in Pedagogy of the Oppressed that “the great humanistic and historical task of the oppressed:[is[ to liberate themselves and their oppressors as well.”
When our leaders fail to set a spirit of Regional integration on fire, and instead seemingly set fire to the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, do we not have an obligation to water it with love? Undoubtedly, this is an unusual position, what place does a discourse of love have in the face of these seemingly ever growing moments of Regional War. But, Is it not precisely in the face of this war, that this discourse of love must take root? What will our liberation look like? How may we liberate ourselves from our existential realities of oppression? How may we liberate our Caribbeanness; our CARICOM? Tessanne Chin sang Bob Marley and the Wailer’s Redemption song on the Voice this week. The Caribbean sang along. We did not sing divided. We ALL sang along. What will the notes, the harmonies, the melodies, the chords and the lyrics of our Regional song of freedom be?
Rashad Brathwaite is a 22-year-old graduate of the Faculty of Law of the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus.
So you’re a “journalist” who wants to write about violence against women but you don’t really care much for women. Here are 10 easy steps to make your job of ignorant, uninformed, misogynist commentary easier:
1. Call anti-violence activists “radical”, acidic, bitter and threatening.
2. Equate “woman will subtlely [sic] make her former spouse’s life ever miserable” with murder. Because “nagging” and murder are the same thing.
3. Say, “obviously we don’t support domestic violence of any kind, but…” and then outline 10 justifications for violence against women
4. When activists talk about gender-based violence accuse them of “finger-pointing”
6. Tell activists they will get nowhere unless they learn to work with misogynist men’s rights “groups” who have one lone member.
7. Recommend anger management classes. Because relationships based on dominance and control in which women are subjected to a range of coercive and controlling behaviours including stalking, sexual violence and spatial control are the result of a heat-of-the-moment burst of anger.
8. Blame gender equality. Suggesting to a woman that “he ain’t no head over you; you equal to him” is clearly what causes violence.
9. Remind the public that the six women killed by current or former partners in Barbados this year is a “comparatively small” number.
10. If all else fails just blame non-nationals.
With the exception of # 5, these 10 steps were brought to you by the Barbados Today.
not promoting in anyways the killing of women but if some of wunna hot pussy whores keep wunna foot shut might b living now
A former schoolmate of mine has posted his wisdom on how women in Barbados can avoid being murdered by former or current intimate partners.
Another woman has been killed. A 22 year-old who loved her family, her two year-old daughter, whose baby sister just became a mom. A mothering worker like so many other Caribbean women who supported her family while furthering her education. And who loved make-up. A complex woman like all women. A woman with a right to be. A right to a good life. Her name is Krystal. A name chosen with much love and care.
We continue to fail women. We continue to offer excuses and justifications for their murders.
She had a new man.
She mussee tek de man money.
Yuh want soldier man money? Tek soldier man blows!
She did horning he.
Women does provoke men.
Now the police are reporting that the majority of perpetrators of domestic violence in Barbados are non-nationals. Xenophobia masking misogyny.
The violence won’t end till the hatred of women ends. The violence won’t end till we stop blaming schoolgirls for men’s decisions to rape them. The violence won’t end till we end it. We all have to look deep inside ourselves and unlearn those lessons about the relative value of women and men, about what it means to be a man or woman, about love and what it looks like, about what kind of fate is waiting for us “hot pussy whores”, about whose lives are dispensable.
Let us remember the women murdered in Barbados this year in acts of gruesome, public violence. Let us honour their lives by choosing to do the daily work to unlearn harmful gender ideologies. Wherever we are, whoever we are we can choose to work toward transforming our societies. We can start by speaking up when the men and women in our lives seek to rationalise violence against women. We can tell them violence is never justified. We owe at least this much to the women who should still be with us, to their families, to their children, to ourselves.
Kimberley Hinds, 24
Brenda Belle, 64
Denise Clarke, 41
Caroline Forde 49
Krystal Lovell, 22
Before you say anything more about what the Shanique Myrie ruling means for CARICOM, why Jamaica should boycott Trinidad & Tobago products or the slaughter of Haitians in the Dominican Republic you should read this article.
It’s the text of the keynote address which Alissa Trotz delivered at the 20th anniversary symposium of the Institute for Gender and Development Studies. The title is Inescapable Entanglements: Notes on Caribbean Feminist Engagement.