'It's a Jamaican thing!' Awards 2009

IT ALMOST seems a waste of time discussing Jamaica's problems anymore. Everyone knows what they are and what the solutions are. But no one, from top to bottom, seems interested in doing what has to be done. . .

Tragic Haiti, Financially Hopeful Ja

It's hard to write about Jamaica's financial problems after seeing the devastation in Haiti. Tens of thousands crushed under rubble, the injured and maimed with no medical care, the rest without food or water, and we claim to have worries?...

'A Woman we Name!'

"A woman we name, so we born lucky!" - Lady Saw.

Over the last three years, 141 Jamaicans have taken their lives, 128 men and 13 women. Jamaica's suicide level is pretty low by world standards. There were 48 in 2008, meaning a national rate of about 1.66 per 100,000, far below say Lithuania's world leading 38.6, Trinidad's 12.8 or the United States' 11.1. Yet while men everywhere kill themselves more often than women, our 10-1 sexual disparity is virtually unprecedented.

Lady Bustamante and the Distortion of History

History may be written by victors, but it's also written by writers. Which means that its intelligentsia may well have an even greater impact on a nation's accepted past than its generals or politicians. As the old joke goes, historians are able to do what is impossible even for God - namely, change the past.

History is largely a product of university denizens, who tend towards the left side of the political spectrum. Perhaps this is because leftist political dogmas like socialism and Marxism are themselves largely the products of academics and very amenable to theoretical dissection. This possibly explains why Stalin, for instance, still gets relatively good press compared to Hitler, even though they had equally blood-stained records. Or why so many who praise Castro revile Pinochet, despite both being iron-fisted military dictators who brooked no dissent.

Obsessing About Sex, Ignoring Murder

Slackness has always been present in Jamaican music. Mento, for instance, was as sexually obsessed as you can get. Obeah was not the main theme of 'Healing in the balmyard'! And while Rampin' Shop may be more to the point, its focus is no different from tourist staples like "All day all night Mary Ann, down by the seaside shifting sand", and "The big bamboo stands up straight and tall, and the big bamboo pleases one and all".

How Stable is Jamaica?

Since becoming independent in 1962, Jamaica has remained uprising free, suffered no major political assassination, adhered to the rule of law, maintained a free press, and held regular multi-party elections in which the incumbent party has been voted out more than once.

This might seem a rather common-place achievement. But over the past 46 years, few of the over 150 nations with more than a million people can make such a collective claim. In fact you can count them on fingers and toes: Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Germany, France, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Holland, Finland, Norway, Switzerland, Costa Rica and Jamaica.

Mad, Sick, Head Nuh Good Awards 2008

"One big family of headless people." Kiprich and Predator's 2003 dancehall hit pretty much sums up Jamaica from top to bottom. And here are some of the craziest things said and done in this crazy country last year suitable for 'The mad, sick, head nuh good awards 2008'.

Vengeance or Justice?

Man claims to be rational, but our opinions are determined as much by emotion as reason. And, for all the logical pros and cons, most people's views on capital punishment are based on feelings and not facts.

Save our Children, Please!

"This is the third child murder to have occurred in [Westmoreland] this year. Two young girls, Shaneka Shakes, nine, and her friend, Shauna-Kay Ledgister, eight, were found raped and murdered in a cane field ... in July.

Jamaican-born and Coached

It was the kind of scene that takes place every day in Jamaica. A bunch of guys race across a field, one pulls away from the pack, holds out his hands in triumph, and slaps his chest in glee shouting 'A me dat!'. Then he celebrates by dropping a few dance moves to the reggae music that's always pounding in the background somewhere.