Monday, November 21, 2005

THE MONTEGONIAN :: On the issue of Jah Cure

On the issue of Jah Cure
(article from my weekly column, published in The Western Mirror on
19/11/05)

“When you go into court you are putting your fate into the hands of twelve people who weren't smart enough to get out of jury duty.”
~Norm Crosby

”A jury consists of twelve persons chosen to decide who has the better lawyer.”
~Robert Frost

“This is a court of law, young man, not a court of justice.”
~Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

“Although the legal and ethical definitions of right are the antithesis of each other, most writers use them as synonyms. They confuse power with goodness, and mistake law for justice.”
~Charles T. Sprading, Freedom and its Fundamentals

“It's strange that men should take up crime when there are so many legal ways to be dishonest.”
~Author unknown, quoted in Sunshine magazine

I have come to the realization that the issue of Jah Cure is a contentious issue in Montego Bay. I have been accosted on several occasions by people concerned by my portrayal of as an innocent party amongst other things too good for a “dirty rapist rasta” (to quote one woman). I have even been taken to task on the issue by my dear mother, who by the way is my biggest fan. To be honest I had intended to follow last week’s “Neo-Montegonian Invasions” article with an article titled “Who is a Montegonian” but I’ve come to decide that my stance on Jah Cure (whose real name is Siccature Alcock) and matters pertaining to the issue of Jah Cure took greater precedence. I had considered shying away from this topic seeing that it had placed me in such a hot seat, but in some way I would like think that I am not a coward and as such I am stepping up to the plate and clearing the air. So as I do this, I would ask my gracious readers to bear with me and come to the table with an open mind, as well as note that the opinions expressed in this column are my views and not that of The Western Mirror.

First and foremost I have always hailed Jah Cure as a talent musician and Montegonian. It is my honest belief that most people have allowed their prejudices to Rastafari, Flankers and all the other repressed to communities and subcultures to colour their judgement. I have never ever made the claim that Jah Cure was an innocent man, and if it is that he is a rapist as he has been convicted and duly punished for, he ought to be given a chance at rehabilitation and redemption like any other man. The point of prison isn’t vindictive incarceration and public vengeance, but due punishment and rehabilitation. So if he has sung songs that impact nation, is he to continue to be punished indefinitely?

We as a people must also learn to separate, a man from his message. If Jah Cure is a rapist does that mean he cannot speak truth and make meaningful songs? I might remind everyone of an analogy I once heard in a movie (the name of which eludes me), it says “even a broken watch, tells the right time twice a day;” that is to say if a watch stopped working at 2 o’ clock and says 2 o’clock forever, it must be right at 2 o’clock twice a day even if it isn’t working. I find it also the heights of hypocrisy, that many would neglect to see the wrong side of many other people’s actions yet come down so harshly on a man who says he is trying to make a change. Many are willing to still acknowledge that both accused paedophiles and child molesters Michael Jackson and R. Kelly as good musicians yet will not do the same for a local talent. I go even to remind many that Michael Jordan was accused of being a compulsive gambler, yet his moral indiscretion won’t prevent them from seeing him as the greatest basketball player ever. Bill Cosby a great black activist and proponent of black wholesome family and positive values did have illicit sexual rendezvous while married, yet undisputed that he has greatly contributed to the black ethos and human condition. So why are we so unforgiving of our own?

Prior to Jah Cure’s rise to prominence, the issue of his charges were muddied and made unclear in a massive puddle of speculation, vicious rumours and blatant lies. I for one had been told he was on gun charges, murder charges amongst many other things. I was even told by my aunt that she heard from the always anonymous “friend” (as so many Jamaican’s tend to have when spreading rumours) that he was put away due to strong confirmation of DNA evidence, only to do some factual investigation and find out there never was any DNA evidence a fact later confirmed in a Gleaner exposé on the Jah Cure case. I have also become aware that many Montegonians dispute the plight of Jah Cure without real knowledge of what took place. Now if anyone is really interested in examining Jah Cure’s case objectively I recommend reading his early interview by Julian Smith at http://www.jahworks.org/music/interview/jah_cure.htm and his reflections in the Sunday Gleaner at http://www.jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20050904/news/news5.html , the arguments put forward by the victim can be read at http://www.jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20050828/lead/lead2.html . I implore and beseech everyone to thoroughly peruse the information and try to draw rational and objective conclusions of their own. I personally believe that there are discrepancies (especially the fact that the victim never saw her attackers face).

The truth of the Jah Cure’s case however will always lie amongst the victim, Jah Cure and God. It is on this note that I close my arguments. I would also like to re-state my position that I do think Jah Cure is a talented musician that has risen from Montego Bay, whether he is a rapist or not is still a matter I cannot definitively tell anyone, I will maintain though that I do not think his trial was fair and that he is a victim of the prejudices of society, and whether or not his trial was fair does not change whether he is a rapist or not. I am not trying to justify Jah Cure or absolve him, I just want people to see beyond emotional judgements, “suss” and hear say. I rest my case.

By Yannick Nesta Pessoa
B.A. in Philosophy
Webpage: http//yahnyk.blogspot.com
E-mail: yannickpessoa@gmail.com or yahnyk@hotmail.com

10 comments:

GL said...

... actually, public vengeance IS a part of the purpose of prison.

Dig this: by exacting vengeance publicly, society expresses its disapproval of certain acts for all to see. It sets a societal tone.

Further, by exacting vengeance publically, it helps the victim of crime save face. The victim of a crime, by being branded as victim, is shamed publically - this is truer for rape than for every other crime. The public shaming of a rapist helps the woman to save face, to reverse the victim/victor positions.

Anonymous said...

Your article does make some valid points about our willingness to accept and forgive Jah Cure but forgiving him would imply that he actually did do something and was not innocent as u seem to contend towards the end. So what is your position? As far as the comparisons to R. Kelly and Michael Jackson, these men were never convicted of any crimes. While me and you probably share similar opinions about their guilt, if we are looking at facts then there is no denying that they were never convicted in court. Jah Cure on the other hand was convicted in a court of law.

What you are trying to do is to make a case for Jah Cure's acceptance without including the negative side of him, the man. You are so intent on proving your point that you are willing to igniore the fact that there was a victim in this, and that victim was not Jah Cure. Going to prison was probably the best career move for Jah Cure, part of his appeal is this "wrongfully persecuted" image and his singing is his only way to express himself.

When all is said and done, I am a huge Jah Cure fan and I am willing to accept him for who he is, a talented musician but a convicted rapist nonetheless. Don't try to clean up his image at the expense of the victim and the integrity of the judicial system.

Anonymous said...

Hey Yawnick you forgot to post this first article you wrote and also my response to it that the Western Mirror didn’t publish simply because it criticized you and the editor. It is clear that the editor allowed you to read my letter and further allowed you to write this article you now boast.

Titled Montego Bay and the media and Dated Saturday October 22, 2005
Written By the Montegonian (Yawnick Nesta Pessoa)

In the spider-web of facts, many a truth is strangled.” By Paul Eldridge
The bigger the information media the less courage and freedom they allow. Bigness means weakness.” By Eric Sevareid (The press and the people, television peogramme, 1959)
The media is renowned for its power of persuasion. Montego Bay is renowned for its tourism product. As fate would have it, the media has made Montego Bay renowned for its tourism product. For roughly a week now, I have been in the states and trying to keep tabs on Montego Bay through the various media, be it the internet, the radio, the television has proven a bit futile. The internet is the only medium that provided any measure of success. Television was a flurry of one love advertisements, radio was a cacophony of wanna-be Jamaican accents, lots of Sean Paul and jr. Gong. The internet provided the only thing I could remotely call news. Type in a search for Montego Bay in Google or any other search engine news section and you’ll get lots of hotel advertisements on the side, a long list of results about murder and crime in the second city and maybe a seminar, an expo, and a dash of something political. Type in a news search of Kingston and it is amazing the variety of information you’ll get, culture, music, parties, reggae, lots of politics, as well as crime and murder. So judging from an outside perspective, I can only conclude Kingston is where everything Jamaican occurs and Montego Bay is a schizophrenic split of sun, and sand, sea on one side and murder and crime on the next
WHOSE FAULT. It is amazing that there is little or no news of everyday life in the media on Jamaica’s most advertised tourist resort. I wonder whose fault this is. Now I really don’t want to be casting blame and pointing fingers, but most news feed on the internet came from either the Observer or the Jamaica Gleaner, and others from the Reuters, AP and Caribbean Herald. This then suggest that there is some bias in the coverage of Kingston on a whole as opposed to anywhere else in the island by the larger media bodies. It also suggests that the Tourism Product development Company (TPDCO) and the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) as well as the less innovative business interest are content to portray Montego Bay as a place where tourists come and pen up in ultra-inclusive resorts and the natives just go to work and go home (and I am sure we all do more that that) It also means Montegonians abroad will not get much insight into real life in their home town.
ARTISTIE MATERIAL. This dry and vapid portrayal of our friendly city is nothing new. Montego Bay’s portrayal as solely a tourist town has been going on for a long time and now is not limited to such as television, internet, and radio, but books, novels, and magazines as well. I was distressed a year or two ago to read of Collin Channer’s passing Through a brief mention of Montego Bay, as nothing more really than a tourist stopover. It is also tragic that a lot of Montegonian writers and novelist fail to capture or represent their hometown. It is even more astounding the lack of artistic material that represents Montego Bay. I have seen lots of stories and poetry that depict and capture the essence of Kingston and as a matter of fact, a lot of other Caribbean cities, San Fernando, Port-of- Spain and Havanna to name a few. Is MoBay not worth literary recognition? The intellectual community and readers worldwide will have only one picture of Jamaica really and that is really Kingston, other than that they get some mention of obscure locales.
LOCAL TALENT. Music is another medium in which we get neglected. Since January, I have been playing very close attention to the local music arena and it is beyond belief the amount of local talent that is under exposed. I have heard golden talent like The Merritol Family, Crazy Chris and Fire Lion, all of whom don’t get much air play if any at all. All this in an age where culture and music from our island is exploding, none of the explosion will come from Montego Bay. As far as the airwaves are concerned, MoBay is a side feature and a novelty. Worst yet, even though Jah Cure dominates the most dance hall sessions and music stations, outside of Montego Bay, very few people even know he is from the our underrated city.
If Montego Bay and Montegonian continue to let the media neglect them, the city runs the risk of fading into obscurity, relegated to the sideline of history and without acknowledgement for our contribution to Jamaican history and culture. Montego Bay hot on the heels of its anniversary needs to rally now and let the world see what we are, not media ‘rediscovery’ sex scandals. We are the same town that gave the Reggae Boys the likes of Theodore Whitmore and Donovan Ricketts; we gave the world Jah Cure, we provided the University of the West Indies with quite a few of their academics, we gave the country a significant amount of dollars to juggle in their budget. Sometimes I swear that there is a conspiracy to sideline Montego Bay …but maybe I am overzealous. Till


My Letter to the editor sent by email Dated Thursday November 3, 2005 followed by a visit to the Western Mirror office to confirm their receipt of this letter.
I feel compelled to respond to an article in the Western Mirror dated Saturday Oct 22, 2005 written by the Montegonian and made mention of Montegonians that we should be proud of namely Theodore Whitmore, Donovan Rickets and those academic scholars, yet in the same breath mention Jah Cure. I SWEAR Montegonians know jah cure better than the people in other parishes and are not as proud of him as you are, hence the reluctance of the masses to jump on the free jah cure band wagon, and show a total disregard for the law of the land considering jah cure was found guilty by 12 of his peers, yes twelve of his peers not a judge. Well at least we know what he is LONGING FOR, Babylon to free jah cure, ask women in and around Montego Bay what could a woman that was raped be LONGING FOR. For the life of me I can’t justify his release based on the fact that he can sing so I say, them naw deal with the REAL ISSUES gun crimes is a serious offence in Jamaica. Them naw deal with the REAL ISSUES treating raped victims like a piece a tissue. The fact is raped victims don’t have SUNNY DAYS they have SUNNY NIGNTS (they can’t sleep at nights) THIS ONE IS FOR YOU. In any civilized society a man sentenced for rape, if given a chance to do recordings would not be able to benefit from the proceeds but instead, those said proceeds would go to some charitable organization, namely one that was helping raped victims cope with there ordeal. But fortunately for jah cure we are not living in such a society. Oh before I forget let me congratulate all the women’s groups on their silence on the matter, it’s considered golden now its understandable why more and more raped victims stay away from the police. Wait till it late to speak out.

On the issue of the media ignoring Montego Bay I must agree with you. The Western Mirrror which is one of our main source of information in MoBay continues to be politically correct. For instance your space that is being used to seek publicity for a convicted rapist would be better served by policing the educational institutions in the parish as the very existence of the Western Mirror depends solely on education. If you follow the poor performance of the kids on the junior schools challenge quiz on TVJ you will realize it’s going to be sooner rather than later, before the Western Mirror goes into serious financial problems assuming it’s not there yet. A little investigative reporting wouldn’t hurt, what is a news paper if it doesn’t ruffle feathers.

So Mr. Montegonian we know the routine sneak in his name with good people today to test the water, then tomorrow you go all out to free jah cure (wont work) your article is living proof that the media is failing the people, and since you believe in entertainers so much take advice from Beenie Man, at least he observes the laws of morality, in Old Dawg Like We, he said, I don’t join the hold down and tek cause that a rape, sometimes me get frustrate, but me know me haffi WAIT, and in another of his songs said you rob me mother salary, down in a gully, rape nobody bout yah if you think you bad and you will see. What if other big entertainers should start raping would it be ok in your book? My guess is yes, as they are much bigger than jah cure. As a man entrusted with the opportunity to influence people by writing I am challenging you to go out there and ask women how they feel about this issue then report honestly back to your readers, before embarrassing yourself.

I will leave you with the words of REFLECTIONS as one woman I know sings it

MMMMMM
Dah da da da dah die
Dah da da da dah die
mmm
Behind my bed room walls
Crying every night
Just trying to sleep
ahhh hi
Spending my restless nights
Envisioning my ordeal
Oh they are grime
Grime
Being raped is not a bed a roses
Believe me its makes me bawl
I wish that jah could come and take me back in time
I swear I would never have left my yard
Yes I swear that I would have rather died
The hurt I feel wont set me free REFLECTIONS
The pain I feel wont set me free REFLECTIONS
Dah da da da dah die
Behind these mental bars
Jah jah I’m chanting
I pray for u to sooth my mind
I’m oh so sorry a girl
Deeply I’m hurting
The price I pay for no choice
Quite possible to see the changes
That has been made in my life
All they see is just the shadow he left behind
I swear that I would have rather died
Yes I swear I wish he had taken my life
The pain I feel wont set me free REFLECTIONS
The pain I feel wont set me free REFLECTIONS
Dah da da da dah die
Don’t judge me wrong for now I am scared sir
And I wasn’t before
I was young when I look down in your gun
Didn’t u hear my cries?
Quite possible to see the changes
That has been made in my life
All they see is just the shadow he left behind
I swear that I would have rather died
I swear if only u could understand
Why I swear I wish he had taken my life
The pain I feel wont set me free REFLECTIONS
The pain I feel wont set me free REFLECTIONS
Donwat0890@yahoo.com

Yahnyk said...

To respond to the previous poster, about me and the mirror and his letter of criticism. Actually, sir, I was not made aware of your criticisms or the letter by the mirror. My Jah Cure article was in response to the many people who ask me about it on the street and my family as well who don't share my opinion on Jah Cure. I'm sorry the mirror hasn't yet published your letter, it would have made for good reparte or public dialogue on the issue of Jah Cure, on that needs to be had publicly and factually so people can stop the sussing and rumour mongering and the hear say thing, so the topic can be air properly and free from who would like to flood the forum with prjudices etc.

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

YEAH RIGHT anybody who reads your first article, then my response that wasn’t published, then your last article will clearly see how the Western Mirror threats it's readers who have opinions. As your last article was very precise in the coverage of every aspect of criticism for my letter.

Anonymous said...

YEAH RIGHT anybody who reads your first article, then my response that wasn’t published, then your last article will clearly see how the Western Mirror threats it's readers who have opinions. As your last article was very precise in the coverage of every aspect of criticism for my letter.

Yahnyk said...

Dear Mr. Watson, I do believe that you may have genuine concerns about the Jah Cure issue, but please don't let it colour your judgement and lend itself to serious prejudices. Also my name is Yannick "YANNICK" not Ya'w'nick, but I digress. I was saying it is one thing to disagree with me on the issue of Jah Cure but please, I would appreciate it if you never accused me or the Western Mirror of trying to stifle your letter, because 1, they did publish it, 2, I wasn't aware of your letter and had not seen it prior to writing my column. You are accusing me of something you have absolutely no proof of, and really I don't know why.

Your cause which I assume is the defense of the victim is undoubtedly a noble cause, but the fact of the matter is that I did not say Jah Cure is innocent. I will never stop appreciating Jah Cure's artistic endeavors, but me supporting him as an artist or appreciatig his music, does not and will never mean that I think or am saying he is innocent. Like I am saying I do believe the case has discrepancies and that the legal/judicial system has it quirks and flaws, as we have seen countless times in the media, with various and variety of scandals and enquiries. So when and if I have casted aspersions at the judicial system it is with reason, and I think it would be unfair for you to say that the judicial systems is without its faults and flaws.

Please if you do disagree with me, don't attack me as a person or my character, because you really don't know me. Maybe we could meet one day have drinks and laugh this off, and actually agree to disagree... here is to peace full debates over bitter and cynical rhetoric.

Many thanks and bless up yuhself... straight.

Donald Watson said...

1. Cynicisms is such a wonderful thing assuming the word can be used in that manner The spelling of your name "YaWnick" instead of Yannik is not an accident it was deliberately done because of your use of a prescription drug for the wrong reasons and for thinking it was a common practice in Jamaica, well if the Jamaican Kids didn’t know then, they do now, thanks to your contribution on spreading the word.
2. You are right I have no psychical proof that u actually read my letter, but been told what my criticisms are, were just as good as reading it. What is overwhelmingly coincidental is the fact that you happen to cover every aspect of my criticism in your second column. You are obviously not over the effects of you bout with prescription drugs if you have to assume my letter was in defense of the victim.
3. As far as our judicial system is concerned I must agree it has if faults but it is all that stands between lawlessness and us, so for what it’s worth we the law-abiding citizens of this land called Jamaica MUST and I repeat MUST stand up for it.
4.You say you have never said Jah Cure was innocent and you’re right I haven’t seen where you have said that using those words in the Western Mirror or any other newspaper for that matter. However I have done quite a bit of reading on your web site. And one thing is abundantly clear. You maliciously rip the judicial system apart while using Jah Cure’s case as your example, while lauding Jah cure for been this great hope for putting Montego Bay on the map. Now if that is not saying he is innocent then the fact that I am a High School Drop Out must be the cause of me having flawed thinking. But then how do you explain the support I get from all the people that emailed me. As for the drink I will pass, intoxication in any shape or form is not a big thing on my list of things to do.
I will leave you with a word of advice though. Follow the simple rule of what is RIGHT and WRONG in whatever decision you make daily and you can’t go wrong. And listen to your dear mother and auntie. But we can talk, actually I would like that, so hopefully one of these days we will.

ding_eab said...

i wish my favorite artist will stop doing bad very very things so i dont have to stop listening to their music

Anonymous said...

i also am in the dancehall biz..but after reading all comments regarding jah cure and the ordeal as told by the victim suzanne ferguson....i think society as a whole has tendency to overlook all wrong doings of people with fame,wealth or extremely good singers. jah cure an artist who sings extremely well will always be given adulation for vocal talent and many will feel sorry for him.
But imagine if it was your own sister or aunt who was raped..we would not be looking for freedom for him ...anything but freedom...i personally think his music is unique as his heart sings/cries with his vocal...in his song reflections i hear a man who has accepted his guilt..but he should also give some form of release to suzanne ferguson by accepting his guilt ..without the cover of music...

i hope time will reveal..heal for suzanne ferguson