Social Commentary

The Upcoming Revolution most people didn’t expect: The Tambourine Army

 

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There is a revolution brewing in the most unsuspecting of places, the hearts and minds of our women. I have been observing these past few weeks, especially on social media, a renewed sense of urgency to stop violence against women and children. The co-founders of this movement, notable advocates Ms. Nadeen Spence and Ms. Latoya Nugent, have managed to galvanize support from women young and old across the Jamaican society.

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To provide some context about this movement, it all started when one of the co-founders, Ms. Latoya Nugent, who goes by the alias Stella Gibson was featured in the media in January 2017 for using a Tambourine to assault, then president of the Moravian Church, Paul Gardner, who was also subsequently charged with carnal abuse. It was this incident that spawned the idea to start an activist group to tackle gender-based violence which came to be known as the Tambourine Army.

Since these women launched their challenge against the system, I’ve observed strong support as well as strong opposition from both men AND women on the issue. Most people, especially the women, seem to be fully behind the cause and have taken to social media to break their silence and speak up! The opposing minority however seems to be indifferent towards the methodologies used and have even gone as far as to question the motives of some behind this movement. They seem to be of the view that the force and aggression will do little for the movement and are suggesting a more balanced, inclusive approach to get a larger buy in from other stakeholders of society.

While in theory that approach should work, in actuality that hasn’t been the case and I commend the women of the Tambourine Army for finally accepting this and choosing to be BOLD FOR CHANGE. There are many issues like gender-based violence affecting us as a nation that we spend most of our time writing letters to the editor about, talking on the radio/TV about or posting on social media and then get frustrated when these methods produce little to no results. Maybe this approach was wrong, but that is something we will have to wait and see as time passes. However, we must acknowledge the courage of these women for trying and fighting; a lesson we all could take away and apply to our personal fights.

I would never pretend to understand or even relate to the pain these women must be feeling; especially the survivors. The overwhelming anxiety for change and the strength to bear that pain and keep it subdued, while the system considers their plight. At some point enough will be enough, and it is not our place to judge them for taking this position now if they feel, the time is NOW.

To my brothers reading this I want you to imagine for a second, you were born into a world where society counted you as inferior before you were old enough to understand what it meant. And imagine a superior group of counterparts whom are knowledgeable of the perceived limitations placed upon you and take advantage of you in the worst of ways to further their agendas of greed, power and pleasure. I’m not certain if that fully captures it, but I’d imagine that’s how our women have felt all these centuries. Centuries of psychological, physical and emotional abuse that constantly gets overlooked because the people beyond this social glass ceiling are all men; looking amusingly at the woman’s effort to try and break it.

This nuh feel right and I would hate for the situation to get bloody before oonu Jamaican people realize this! This issue affects me personally, because I have witnessed for myself the emotional, physical and psychological abuse of the women I grew up with by men who were suppose to be my father figures. Not knowing what to do as a young boy I silently shared their pain, cried with them and prayed with them for better days until I was old enough to know better and to do better! I have been blessed with two beautiful little sisters that I’m worried about honestly. I’m worried they will be forced to pay a gruesome price for their beauty, and have to stifle their potential to fit into a society that fails to see the value in allowing them to just be. This isn’t just a fight for our women and children, but a fight for Jamaica’s sake. We all have a part to play, because we all are affected by this issue; in one way or another.

If the women behind this Tambourine Army believe they have exhausted all avenues of “proper” ways to advocate that they taught us in their schools, then I say do what you must to maintain the fight. If you must shout, then shout; if you must march, then march; if you are attacked with force, fight back with force; but please don’t give up the fight. Your courage and nationalism is not unnoticed and my children and the children of ALL MEN will thank you dearly for your service to Jamaica. History will absolve you.

 

-G.B

 

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Social Commentary

At what point should your relationship become social? (if at all)

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I used to be all over social media with my girlfriend. This was back then when I was young and foolish, I remember I’d write on her wall and she’d write on mine or make suggestive status updates with the intention of catching hers and my friends attention. Unfortunately (or fortunately?), we’re not together anymore, for varying reasons WHICH I WON’T GET INTO. However, I will admit to social media having an impact on that relationship; both negatively and positively, and it’s from that experience in particular that I learnt how to handle myself and my emotions on this new platform of expression (and the various platforms that followed Facebook). For me, in terms of positives it taught me the value of self respect, boundaries, privacy and really appreciating my partner in an unconditional way. On the flip-side, it highlighted a very dark irrational side to my psyche that only seems to surface in an emotionally pressuring environment and it took away my attention from where it should have been initially: on her; it distracted me. If you’re reading this, I’m sorry.

So from all of that right now where I am, I have learnt to gauge social media usage like a thermometer and use it for what it was originally intended to be: a channel. Just another channel of socializing with the aim of bringing us closer together as a world. I don’t believe posts, tweets and mentions should be the tool for keeping your partner happy; even if it is, it should be kept at an absolute minimum. Also, lest we forget that humans are innately bad-mind, vindictive and “red yiye” in nature and the same way they don’t want you to do anything personally or professionally progressive, is the same way they don’t wanna see you happy (subconsciously of course). So to avoid those energies coming my way and the hearts of so many good people in the world becoming filthy on accord of our human nature, I keep my thing on a level.

But I thought it would be interesting to hear the views of others on this; because it is a hurdle we all have to cross at some points in our relationships. At what point should the relationship become social? (if at all). Here are the views of some Jamaicans:

Makeda:

Ahhm depends on the person, I saw on an episode of Steve Harvey’s talk show that people give and receive love is 5 different ways.
Days gone by relationships on a whole were much more private but the world was smaller, overall it is an understanding of yourself and partner that determines how much you post
 So back in the day holding hands and kissing aka PDA was huge, now posting who your with on social media is the “new platform” to show love.
So if yahll are private it’ll play a minor role to your comfort, if unnuh have more public, bold personalities, possibly a bigger role but at the basis people need to understand the dangers of social media and use it to their liking accordingly.

Jaye:

“..personally don’t think there’s anything wrong with you know letting the world/ people know that you love someone.. but there shouldn’t be a ‘relationship’ made of it. If you get what I’m putting down 🤔”

Nick:

“We live in the era where social media is more deeply rooted as a platform for expression, so understandably people feel the need to share their affairs with the world. I think it’s still okay to make your relationship status known on social media as you choose. However, the affairs of your relationship should not be over social media, that’s the part you keep private.

So to answer the question now, I think your relationship and social can share a connection within certain boundaries. Why boundaries? You simply don’t want your relationship to become everyone else relationship, so you keep those boundaries observed.”

Brodey:

“..social media should not have any integral parts in my relationship other than communication… itz merely a conduit for keeping the link with your significant other or loved ones or it is used to establish a link (look a girl to have a relationship with)… if social media is used more integrally, such as showing affection and so forth, it may lead to damaging repercussions. Posts that reflects affection towards another (girl in my case) may provide ammunition in times of turbulence, especially if you a deal with another girl( the other girl snooping and then may start page the wifey or vice versa). The other one is that once those affectionate posts and blogs are publicized,  it can be saved and later used against somebody who don’t want to remember or have any evidence coming to the forefront of them ever dealing. Also the less ppl know about your business, the more you’re better off… so no post to explicitly show affection, for me..”

Fuju:

“Relationships shouldn’t be influenced by what we see on social media. Often times we just see stills/pictures,but we don’t see the bigger “picture”. We don’t see the sacrifices that it took to get to that place of love that we see displaying in front of or eyes. And on the flip side we don’t see beyond the facade, we can’t see the girl physically abusing her bf and him verbally abusing her. We can’t see the abortion that she did without consulting him on the matter.

Relationships on social media should not be taken as “gospel” or instructions on how to live your life, or the type of relationship you should have. It should only serve as an example that love exists.”

Melzetta:

“Being that im a private person i keep most of my intimate moments private. I use my SM accounts to talk about issues that affect me or people around me. You wont find me posting relationship arguments etc. However its a good spying tool lol but im also not that person to lurk on my significant others page loool I dont think SM should play a major role in the relationship as it can be considered private space – my partner still has the right to being his own individual. “

What stands out from these responses for me is this notion that social media is a spying tool, and for those reasons I guess some don’t believe their relationship should get social any at all. And I don’t blame them, cause both men and women are guilty of this; guilty of blowing something small and innocent into epic proportions of nonsense. Why is that me mentioning or retweeting a certain person more than I do my other followers should suggest unfaithfulness? Why can’t I post a picture with a friend of the opposite sex without the usual comment “A she that mi boss? *cool face emoji*”? Why can’t I make a random, emotional paragraph post without that awkward “is there something we need to talk about?” conversation before bed? when since we get so petty  and dependent on social media for assurance? My God.

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