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November 21, 2012
Star Features


Rights and responsibilities - balance di ting!

So the authorities have finally banned the people who preach on public buses. That is well overdue!

I hope the powers that be also act as forcefully to end the blaring of loud and offensive music on buses too.

Whether it's the gospel according the apostles or the words of the hottest dancehall acts, noise is noise, and people on public transportation have a right to travel in relative peace and quiet. Jamaica has enough churches for those who want to hear the gospel; and as for dancehall, there's a party somewhere every night. Wi nuh need it pon di bus!

Of course, many people are now up in arms because they feel the banning of the noise violates all kinds of rights. Rights? Is what really wrong with dem? Many people fail to realise that while they're busy standing up for rights, they're simultaneously falling down on responsibilities, and it's not only counterproductive, it's downright selfish. I'm personally kinda getting sick of those people who think they are being noble and doing society a favour when they take drastic action in defence of their narrow, individual 'rights'.

They get tiresome for me because most of the people who rant about rights often ignore the fact that every right comes with accompanying responsibilities.

Hear mi nuh, man: If the exercise of my rights impinges on the rights of another person, it's no longer a right, it's a wrong! A so me see it. How about you? If you agree that we have the right to a safe environment, you have to also accept that we have a responsibility to follow safety rules. Yeah, man, di ting haffi balance!

very self-righteous

Everybody is very clear and assertive about their right to loudly and proudly voice their opinion. But tell me this: How many of us are genuinely willing to balance that right with the responsibility to respectfully allow other people equal opportunity to voice their views? Not many, I think. The prevailing position seems to be 'my voice must tun up, and all dissenting voices must shut up!'

And we love to get very self-righteous about our rights. We Jamaican people particularly love to draw on biblical authority to support our right to all kinds of rights, nuh true. But we usually conveniently ignore biblical injunctions regarding our sacred responsibilities. Yeah, we have a right to live in clean, healthy communities, but some of us don't care to hear about our responsibility take care of it by not throwing garbage any and everywhere. Dat mek sense?

And any person who loves to declare his or her right to fair treatment must also be vigilant about the responsibility to treat others fairly. Also, if we all agree, as we should, that each of us has the right to education, jobs and a good life, shouldn't we also agree that we have a right and a duty to damn well work for it? Talk to me, people. I think we need to balance di ting! Mi wrong or mi right?


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