Noble: This is Madness! Sparrow warned about slaughter of our young

On Friday 5 April, the Express headline screamed, “Things you see in movies”. Little did the writer know that more horror stories would come within the week.

The newspapers do not have to worry about the frequency of headlines that cause us to gasp. They can do it every day and all week. Our shoulders droop at the unrelenting flow.

Mourning another loss…
Photo: Shutterstock

The only restraint that is still observed is the showing of dead bodies lying in the streets or homes across the nation. But we are not spared the tear-jerking pictures of relatives in immense grief.

We see the blood stains as though they are paint left over from J’Ouvert.

In 1995, the Mighty Sparrow warned us in Madness.

What is going on? This is madness!

It is as though we are binge-watching a never-ending reel of horror movies. We live as though we are stuck in a movie theatre with multiple screens, all showing unbelievable pain and sorrow.

A forensic pathologist works at a murder scene.

If it is not in our country, we are bombarded by the shocking stories from Gaza, Sudan and Ukraine. Violence, starvation, death and unending drama stalks our world. We cannot escape.

We wonder whether it will end or get better. But then: oops!

We are characters in the latest edition of the movie. We become zombies, staggering through life, not knowing when the next tragedy will strike. Our tears come unbidden as we gaze reluctantly at the tremendous loss of lives.

The wickedness is widespread; even babies won’t be spared!”

Four-year-old Amarah Lallite was murdered earlier this month.

This last week, we were greeted with the heinous beheading of Amarah Lallite, a four-year-old child.

How do we process this event brought to us by a male relative who had acted as her father?

We ask, “What are we becoming?” But that question is too late. It is that we have faulty memories, and we discard unpleasantries. Poor Amarah is not the first child to be killed by a relative, and she is not the youngest.

On 17 June 2009, Tecia Henry, a ten-year-old Laventille child, was found stuffed in a hole under a house not far from her home. She had been missing for three days.

Her mother had sent her to a nearby parlour. A vigilante crowd bayed for blood. Over 200 police officers had to intervene. No boundaries were observed between the communities as literally hundreds of villagers gathered at the suspect’s home. The suspect was found shot less than a month afterwards.

In 2013, there were three more such deaths. In July, Musa Subhan, a five-year-old, was murdered along with his parents by a deranged relative. Police rescued another child in the South Oropuche home.

Photo: Ten-year-old Tecia Henry was murdered in 2009.

Kimora Roopnarine, a two-year-old of Enterprise, died, under suspicious circumstances, from two broken ribs. Years later, when her mother was murdered, we discovered that Kimora’s killer was a male close relative. He was 25 years old.

In November, Keyana Cumberbatch, six years old, was brutally murdered and stuffed in a barrel under some clothes at the apartment in which she lived in Maloney.

The find came almost a day to the week after the body of one-year-old Jacob Munroe was found in a cesspit near his Maracas, St Joseph home. An autopsy revealed he was beaten in his head and smothered to death.

“[…] Don’t call mih name. I ent taking no kind of blame…”

Mourning another lost life…

We look for a cause-and-effect relationship to connect the crime and the victim. A knee-jerk reaction in more than one of these incidents was: “Women have to know who they [are] putting themselves with!”

Vigilante justice was tried in more than one instance. Police are often behind the proverbial eight-ball with their limited resources to collect court-ready evidence on a timely basis.

“[…] Mamaguyism has to stop, so take my advice is ‘time to wake up and open your eyes’…”

Women protest against gender-based violence.

What should we learn? These murders crossed ethnic lines. They happened under different political administrations. They happened in various geographical locations.

Possible reasons? Dysfunctional families, a culture of violence, cycles of abuse, mental health issues or poor or limited parenting. There are no easy solutions. Finger-pointing will not solve our problem.

The reality is that there is good and evil. Evil was not an illusion or just a feeling or emotional response to an unpleasing event. We know that from our experience. Man can choose evil or not. We call this choosing the basis for character-building.

Devilish eyes…

Then we ask: “Who or what is God? Where is God in all this suffering? Why does He allow it? Is it that we do not have strong faith?”

This pain is often personal and very lonely.

In the desert of our experiences, we understand and appreciate the laments of David in the Psalms. His raw emotions become ours. He told God to ‘hurry up and act’! (Psalm 143:7). Then he asked God to kill the children of his enemies! (Psalm 137:9). But, like Job, he did not know everything.

Image: The sufferings of Job are recorded in the Old Testament.

The reason for the tremendous horror is often behind a veil. How dare we blame the sufferers among us? Who gives us the authority to speak on God’s behalf?

In the account of Job’s suffering (he lost everything, including children), God never told him what was the back story. So why are we so presumptuous to blame the suffering souls?

Pain can get our attention by shattering our illusions. Are we willing to look at ourselves in the mirror?

Sparrow recommended: “[…] The nation’s youth must know they mustn’t stop trying/ so talk the truth with them and stop all the lying…”

Cunupia Government Primary School children enjoy an afternoon out.
Photo: OPM

In that, Sparrow was right. He was prescient. This calypso was sung in Dimanche Gras 29 years ago! To fix this problem, we must help our young ones. The chickens are gathering, and we will have hell to pay.

He admonishes: “Let the Lord be praised and leave the devil and his wicked, evil ways.”

Finally, God reminds us, “When the earth and all its people quake, I hold its pillars firm.” Psalms 75: 3. God holds things together no matter how wretched the world is.

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