EDITOR: I recently saw a very short, and therefore edited, clipping of a conversation between two people. In the conversation, (which I feel I must say again, is heavily edited and therefore missing context) one person in highlighting the depressing and impoverished plight of a people, references a transaction between two people (assuming that consent was present) of an intimate nature.
The fact that this incident did not elicit more of an outcry says a lot. I need to retract that statement, it did lead to an outcry. But the wrong one; or the wrong type I should say. Rather than be concerned that this was happening at all, people took sides. People took sides when there was a host of issues raised as a result of this story that demand the attention of a unified people. A people driven by compassion and concern. No one’s a winner in this episode.
The reality is that there is an overarching economic environment that has given birth to this and other such situations. The reality is that this was a cry for help from a person whose soul has been whittled down to nothing. Help, not mockery, shaming, or even public exposure, is what was needed. The reality is that this incident comes up against the backdrop of a recent study that depressingly revealed sexual practices among Vincentian teenagers. Some of which, according to the laws of SVG, were illegal. And another study shows our equally depressing unemployment situation.
Do you know what’s the worst thing about this entire episode? Let me give you a hint. It was not the fact that poverty has so crushed a person’s dignity that they had to resort to what they did. It was not the fact that something beautiful and precious was made so publicly ugly and demeaning. It’s not even the reality that Vincentians “know” that episodes like these are happening way too frequently these days.
It is the fact that all of this reveals a culture that has degenerated to the point that human anguish is now on the level of spectacle.
When we make stories like these into spectacle, we are in fact exploiting them to the level that we have dehumanized flesh and blood people. People who have dreams and hopes and worth. This reveals, not the promises and plans of a government, or the depths of poverty, or the failure of policies, but of a society that is now comfortable enough to lift its skirts up and show the world its putrefied vileness and think it’s entertaining.
This one’s on us Vincentians, every last one of us. This is what we have become. We need to wail and lament and bawl at how gutter we are. Maybe that would spark a realization that we need to change.