Legal Eagle: Mad, mad world

November 13, 2017
Law enforcement officials work at the scene of a fatal shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, on November 5.

Read, browse, watch and listen. There is likely to be one conclusion. It's a mad, mad, mad world, to borrow the title of the 1963 American epic film. This was really hilarious, but what is happening in today's world is no joke. No wonder, songwriter and singer, Lou Rawls, had to ask the question, "What's the matter with the world, is the world gone mad?"

The question posed by Lou Rawls is even more relevant today as national and international laws have been ignored. Citizens are taking matters in their own hands, and the leaders of the world are doing just the same in a world where terrorism is on the rise.

In Jamaica, it is stunning that the murder toll in St James, one of the smallest parishes in Jamaica, is at a record high. The irony is that the said St James is supposed to be the Mecca for tourism in the region. Already, more than 1,000 Jamaicans have been murdered, all over the country, this year. This is madness.

Then, there is a recent call from Professor Verene Shepherd and attorney-at-law, Bert Samuels, that it is a breach of the constitutional rights of our citizens to be prevented from entering a courthouse in Jamaica, if they are wearing sleeveless clothing. In this debate very little is said about the fact that our constitution does not give absolute rights. Essentially, it gives with one hand and takes away with another. In addition, our courts are empowered to make rules to govern itself and to ensure respect, good order and decorum. It is insane to think that anyone should walk into a courtroom dressed like he or she is going to the beach.

Looking abroad, as the president of Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, hosted the 31st ASEAN summit in the beautiful city of Milan. That event began yesterday. It is hard to ignore the concerns raised by the United Nations and so many Human Rights groups that the said Rodrigo Duterte is responsible for the death of about 10,000 of his own citizens. Also, in the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, Prime Minister Aung San Suu Kym seemed to have turned her back on more than 400,000 Muslims with connections to Bangladesh, as they were chased out of Myanmar. In Sudan millions of people have died in the past and millions more continue to suffer and are forced to live in poverty and at risk of disease due to armed conflicts and government policies.

 

RISE OF EXTREMISM

 

In recent years, we have seen the rise of extremist religious organisations such as The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, Boko Haram, Hezbollah, Haqqani Network and so many others. The world has seen and thousands have felt how brutal these groups can be as innocent men, women and children have been slaughtered in the most dramatic fashion.

Not withstanding the above, right across Europe Neo Nazis and fascists-based political parties in Germany, Hungary, France, Austria, Finland, Denmark, Sweden and Greece have gained momentum and are enjoying a greater share of the national votes. We see the move towards nationalism in America with 'America First' and in England with Brexit. The common thread that runs through all of them is that they are anti Muslim, Hispanic and blacks.

Closer to home, there have been many mass shootings in the United States in recent years. The latest was the brutal murder of 26 people who went to worship at a Baptist Church in Texas. Two years ago, nine worshippers suffered similar fate as they prayed in the Mother Emmanuel AME church in Charleston, South Carolina. Just weeks ago, about 50 people were killed at a concert in California. We all remember the shooting in recent times at a concert in Manchester, England, and the 49 who were slaughtered at a nightclub in Orlando. Indeed, there is no safe place in this insane world. To top it off, there is a threat of nuclear war in the Korean peninsular from two leaders who accused each other of having mental problems.

So, the concept of Louis Armstrong's 'wonderful world' or even Jimmy Cliff's 'wonderful world, beautiful people' is only a dream that is likely to become "the impossible dream".

It is clear that the mad mad world needs a shrink before it is too late. Hopefully, the shrink will conclude, as Lou Rawls did, that "there is nothing wrong with the world, it's just the people that's in it." History, foreknowledge and forewarning, must guide us to a safe, clean and peaceful world. Amen, and so may it be.

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