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EDITORIAL: Our duty to let children be children

BEA DOTTIN, [email protected]

EDITORIAL: Our duty to let children be children

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Our revelation, in our last SATURDAY?SUN, of unforgivable – at best untoward – conduct on the streets of our nation on Kadooment Day has proved its shock value. The protective agencies of this country have been stirred; well, some! For too long now we have been contented to sit on the sidelines, assuring ourselves that the crude and coarse public behaviour passing itself off as artistic expression during our major cultural festival was only among a few; that it was a one-off thing.
We have come to learn that it clearly is not on the odd occasion that this undesirable public act of rough sex simulation is presented.
The National Organization of Women (NOW) president Marilyn Rice-Bowen herself paints a most disturbing picture of children being pushed by others to dance on adult revellers on Kadooment Day. Witness Ms Rice-Bowen, a reveller herself, had to break from her band on Station Hill in an attempt to deal with the indecency.
Regrettably, it was, as usual, “a source of entertainment” for the people looking on.
Lamented Ms Rice-Bowen: “Unfortunately, even though I tried to reason with the people there, good sense did not prevail.”
It didn’t because too many Barbadians have become immune to the ill-effects of the swaying debauchery that rides on the wave of much of our uptempo Crop Over music – netting very young impressionable minds in the process.
NOW’s head believes that if these types of act are left unchecked, they will lead to an erosion of values in this country. Sadly, they already have.
How else does a genuflecting, gyrating adult woman get to have a male child humping behind her in the street, in broad daylight, while being encouraged by a barefaced, shirtless, hardback man?
A few readers have had concerns with the published picture, naturally revolted by the participation of the child, even unidentified as he was. But equally striking is the shown enjoyment of this despicable exhibition by an amused set of onlookers, including other children. Some readers missed this point, which needed to be put squarely before the people of Barbados.
Community reaction to all this illustrates the deeper questions raised by the picture publication. The consensus is the actions of the adults were offensive and that said adults should be prosecuted. They should also be made to apologize to the country.
And it is not even enough to be outraged. We must take every step to protect our children from this depravity generally, and to never ever again let it be a feature of our Crop Over Festival, which is so thrown open to the world.
We – the Government, the media and the people – have a bounden duty to let our children ever be children.