Making a Non-Violent Bahamas
Question:Dear Sir: What is going on in our country? Who is to blame for all this crime? Is it the men or the women? Is it the politicians or the ministers of the gospel? We used to be peaceful. Where has all the peace gone? Can we really change?
Answer:Over the years I have been writing in the newspaper, I have written many articles on transforming violence into non-violence. I have tried to uncover the real issues involved. Today I feel the urge to write about it again and to re-publish some of what I said on the subject. Too often we hear on TV and radio leaders in our communities stating that "the reality is we cannot stop the crime." Although from a spiritual point of view this might be correct, however, socially it is a self-prophecy statement thatís reaping havoc today. We are putting our feet in our own mouths. It is my opinion that crime can be reduced significantly.
LETíS MOVE ON.
Sometime I wonder if we do realize that the crime level in our country is very serious. Churches are having all-night prayer sessions, civic clubs are having debates, public committees are having open forums. These are wonderful avenues for motivating people and gathering information. However, they are poor for doing things. We must move on, out of the halls of discussion and into the streets of action. It is easy to debate what we must do, but it calls for ten times more energy to do what we have debated.
FAVORITISM DESTROYS NATIONS
There is something I believe thatís holding us back; that is, favoritism. It often reveals itself in the form of nepotism and partiality. We must cease this death-bell activity. There should be no "who knows who" when it comes to crime. If a police is to arrest her brother-in-law who has committed a crime, she must to do so because the law requires it. She must not do him "a favor" by turning her head. We destroy the community and the law-breaking family member, or friend, by "letting him slide." Government officials, community leaders, pastors, youth leaders are all responsible for upholding the law in spite of the relationship to the law-breaker. Too many people boast of having "friends in high places" as an excuse for doing wrong. Now we have a nation soaked in the putrefying lies of indifference and passivity. Underneath the surface of our refined protocol of our tourism, church, and school environments, there is a malignant tumor thatís about to crack the skin of national peace and expose its ugliness to the world. Unless we have radical surgery now to remove the tumor, we might be headed to an unexpected death of a nation we once loved.
MAKING A DIFFERENCE
Nonviolence is a process. First of all, parents hold the primary key to a non violent nation. It is in the home where children learn the first skills of non-violence or violent behavior. It is not in the church or school. It is not in the yard shooting marbles. It is not on the cornerís basket ball court. Itís in the home. Mothers and fathers bear responsibility for the present condition of our nation. Transforming violence to non-violence must begin with parents. Families form communities. Communities hold another key to this necessary transformation. K. Louise Schmidt in his book Transforming Abuse states that "Bringing nonviolence into communities is not a linear process. It is a process by which each step opens into another, creating new forms as it evolves. There is no strategy or final solution; each community needs to look closely at the resources already at hand and begin with a faith that the tools we need are already with us. These tools are the ingenuity, determination, and basic living skills we all have. Our community can bind us together in nonviolent efforts to create safe homes and communities."
We must begin with accepting each Bahamian: black and white, rich and poor, literate and illiterate, male and female--as equal. As long as we are divided across racial and economic lines, violence will remain. We must bring our resources from all sectors of society to create healing. Our goal is not to avoid conflict, but to prevent violence. We want to provide a safe environment to express opposition, to differ, to change, and to grow. All churches should come together to organize nonviolence education programs. Communities should provide wholesome recreational activities for youth. Special training should be given for communities and churches to coordinate divorce recovery groups, support groups for survivors of incest, young parenting groups, single clubs, married couples clubs, support groups for men committed to a nonviolent lifestyle, support groups for former criminals committed to peaceful lifestyles. The list can be longer.
WE HAVE A VOICE
Bahamians must realize that we have a voice. A voice that can bring change. We cannot sit passively and indifferently by and expect time and others to change things. We have the time for change. Are you ready fathers to change your need to control? Are you ready mothers to deal with your denial and cover-up? Are you ready teenagers to shoulder your responsibility of decision making in your own life? Are you ready business persons to put your money where your mouth is? Are you ready politicians to speak out for justice even if it costs you your seat? Are you ready pastors to change your concept of leadership to servant-hood? Are you ready Bahamians? Transformation from violence to nonviolence is possible in our land when each transforms her/his life to peace and love.