Of Garcia, Levites, priests and sound systems
SOME PEOPLE, it seems, would have us howling all day and all night about the supposed injustice to Raul Garcia.
Our righteous anger at his treatment would signal our firm status in the world of the truly humane, they seem to say.
But not only that. They would apparently also like to shame us into feeling abhorrently callous, insensitive, unchristian, uncharitable, unforgiving (and a lot of other uncomplimentary uns) if we don’t howl about the treatment of this Colombian(?) / American(?) / Cuban(?) / stateless(?) / non-stateless(?) man we now find on our collective hands.
About a matter that has so many shades of grey, possibly dangerous unknowns, legal technicalities . . . things that apparently would make legal luminaries scratch their heads for weeks and tumble down bound volumes to look at sections of “whereas” and “hereinabove” and “heretofore” and “to wit” and “the party of the first part” and “all the appurtenances thereto” under microscopes to unravel.
But, according to some, all it takes is dollops of something called forgiveness and “the milk of human kindness” (that they not even extending to you if you don’t come with them!) and a jumping in the ling and chanting “Re-lease Gar-ci-a”, “Re-lease Gar-ci-a”, “Re-lease Gar-ci-a”.
At least they should understand that for many people this matter en clear-cut and that there is a good chance that many who pontificating about it are short on requisite information and understanding.
Meanwhile, back on the farm, there are less complicated matters, of more widespread daily reach, of more fundamental import, that have to do with the trampling of the rights of thousands of Barbadians that they never say anything about.
Take this one: the ravishing of neighbours and those nearby with noise. Now, if you want something that nakedly disrespects the rights of others – many others – and fails to treat people humanely it is difficult to beat the sonic bombardment regularly visited upon the people of Barbados.
The neighbour who decides that his enjoyment of his booming music is to know no boundaries. The PSV driver whose volume level presages hearing impairment. The car and motorcycling enthusiasts whose jarring, heart-jolting invasion in the middle of the night leaves us sleepless, bleary-eyed, headachy, miserable and less productive. The passing road hog whose blast threatens cardiac arrest. The business places that now blare music so you can’t even hear yourself think.
It is a regular thing in Barbados – day in and day out. So if granny and granddad who just want peace suffer sonic violence, it doesn’t matter? Nor little Adrian, who has homework? Nor the new mother who, if it en bad enough that childbirth and the baby’s natural crying and the father’s disappearance leave her worn out, now has to face the prospect of longer periods of unease?
And what about the ordinary working person who is so buffeted by the neighbour’s unharnessed, ear-splitting uncouthness via stereo that he takes the law into his own hands, doing grievous harm to his tormentor, and they arrest him, but his name is not Garcia, so nobody cares what state he is in when some men in Dodds sexually molest him?
No help from our own Levites and priests who long time ago left us wounded and bleeding from these wounds and gone preaching ’bout love and kindness and human charity towards Garcia.
Lemme tell you something: it is intensely troubling that this noise matter that strikes at the heart of human coexistence, the daily (and nightly) savaging of one’s fundamental right to enjoyment of one’s own space is never taken up with any zeal, except by a few – whose numbers generally don’t include Parliament, the church, UWI, the Bar Association, the trade union movement, the Democratic Labour Party or the Barbados Labour Party – who some people now want to shout from the housetops about Garcia.
Sorry to have to put these two things together, but I shake my head almost every day – in consternation, in disgust, in abhorrence, in boiling anger – that Government and key entities in this society are so callous about and collusive with the pervasive sonic assaults on our people.
Outside of actual physical violence, the intimate disrespect (nay, inhumaneness) of loud playing of music or noisy vehicles probably has as its only kin the burning of “stuff” in or near a residential area.
But yet we must all focus, focus, focus on Garcia – as this is what will mark us off as a humanitarian, Christian, civilized society. You kidding me, right?
But then again, I might not have understood correctly. All the noise has affected my hearing. What is it you’re saying? Something about Sarwan? Starboy? Garfish? Garrison? Farley? Garley? Garlic? Gar-who?
• Sherwyn Walters is a writer who became a teacher, a song analyst, a broadcaster and an editor. Email [email protected]