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Elections and shoes



Diary, Friday 28.11.1997:

The elections in Jamaica have been called for the 18th of December. We are encouraged to wear neutral colours. No orange or green. Politics in this plagued country has descended to the level of footbal hooliganism, while football has risen to the level of politics. The footbal team has become the representative of everything admirable. The trainer, a shrewd Brazilian, has been made professor by the University of the West Indies. It is time that Jonathan Swift is reincarnated: I value his view on the world.

Politicians are scorned universally and yet by rigorously nurturing the culture of small, individual, and highly visible favours, they always manage to regain lost ground by election time. They keep the people who support them most vehemently in the dirt and make them say thank you for a newly paved road. It is quite pathetic. More sensible people either join in and make use of the situation or become lethargic in their despair. Everyone wants so desperately to love this country. Four people have already been killed in Whitehall. Daily the number of deaths is rising.

A friend who is herself befriended by a soldier, told me that the number of guns he finds in the areas of Olympic Gardens, an area he patrols, is extraordinary. Guns in plastic bags down toilet pits, guns sewn up in mattresses, guns hung under clothes in the clothes cupboard. The soldiers’ strategy is to close off a street in surprise at both ends. Then they search each house methodically. Occasionally a young fourteen year old will run across the street, holding a machine gun, shooting wildly without aim and disappear in the labyrinth of alleys.

In Jonestown children who take school seriously are apparently left alone. But Jonestown for all its misery, is light-years removed from the very pit of Hell situated in Tower Hill, Riverton and Southside. There children with a chance are mocked and swallowed back into the fold by the force of envy. Young children are hired to shoot guns into the street to clear it of people. Having done this, they stand aside for the drug lords, dons and politicians to do their business. With the money thus earned they buy pretty shoes.



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