OK, kiddo! Here are all the fantastically amazing posts tagged with Jamaica
Check out this trailer for An Abominable Crime, a documentary about the rampant (and often ignored) homophobia problem in Jamaica. The filmmakers are currently fundraising to help get this film finished, and The Pulitzer Center has offered to match all Kickstarter donations. So go check it out and offer some support if you can.
iTunes Canada has removed several songs by Jamaican artists Elephant Man, TOK, and Buju Banton because they call on listeners to murder gay men. Stop Murder Music Canada and Egale called on Apple to remove the songs, which contained lyrics translating to “Join our dance and let’s burn the queer man” and “Boom Boom, queers must be killed.”
Although removing the songs has caused some controversy about freedom of expression and censorship, one thing is clear: they’re not legal. Speech calling for the murder and hatred of an identifiable group violates Canadian hate laws, and Stop Murder Music Canada has called on other music retailers—such as HMV, Amazon.ca, and Archambault Musique—to follow Apple’s suit.
Jamaican dancehall music is notorious for its homophobic lyrics. Homophobia is rampant in Jamaica, with 43 lynch mob attacks on gay men reported in 2007 alone, resulting in the murder of at least 10 gay men.
Michael Hayden, a gay police officer, is the latest refugee from Jamaica to seek asylum in Canada.
Michael received multiple death threats after he spoke out about Jamaica’s deadly homophobia problem in a local newspaper this year. He now fears for his life and has gone into hiding, desperately seeking to escape to Canada:
I want to stay here [in Jamaica] and fight, but it’s not safe for me. My life is in great, great jeopardy.
Despite Jamaica’s image as an easygoing paradise for tourists, it is among the worlds most deadly places for gay people. Earlier this month, Gareth Henry, one of Jamaica’s few gay activists, escaped to Canada after 13 of his friends were killed by lynch mobs.
The good news, however, is that with every new refugee, more attention is drawn to Jamaica’s deadly secret. If Canada and other governments become aware enough of the issue to put out traveler warnings, Jamaica’s tourism industry can be leveraged to stop this horrific violence.
In my web travels, I often collect stories that I intend to share, but then become distracted by newer, shinier stories—or feel too lazy to illustrate them. This is what becomes of those stories: a Pile o’ Slaps!
Dr. Brent Hawkes, a Toronto pastor and gay rights activist, has received the prestigious Order of Canada in recognition of his fight toward equal rights for gay people. I shall start the betting odds at 946341:¾ that an anti-gay lobbyist will burst a capillary over this within a week.
The rift between Canadian Anglicans is continuing to grow. A Vancouver congregation has voted to leave the country in favour of The Province of the Southern Cone in South America, which does not think of gay people as favourably. Authorities in The Province of the Southern Cone expressed overwhelming gratitude toward the Vancouver church for knowing that The Province of the Southern Cone exists.
The gay-targeting zombie lynch mobs in Jamaica are finally getting some media attention thanks in part to Gareth Henry’s fight to stay in Canada. A New York Times feature on Jamaica describes some of the horror. (Hat tip to Montreal Simon)
Speaking of Canadian Refugees, Capital Xtra has an excellent article outlining the frustrating process that refugee claimants must go through to prove they’re gay after years of effort to hide their sexuality in their home country. It’s a great lesson for future refugees: If you truly desire to protect yourself, put yourself in as much visible danger as possible.
A sports photographer has angered and confused Kentuckians after a newspaper published a photo of two male basketball players hugging in celebration of their victory. Columnist Pam Platt, in a display of common sense, offers no apology to the scores of offended readers, who will move on to picket the guy that accidentally brushed up against them on the public transit.
Jamaica is marketed as a vacation paradise, but for gay people, the danger can be shocking.
Gareth Henry, a Jamaican gay activist, has had 13 of his friends murdered by lynch mobs in the past four years, and has now fled to Canada to seek refugee status.
Sadly, Canada has an atrocious track record of protecting endangered gay refugees. Alvaro Orozco was ordered to be deported to Nicaragua in October because his adjudicator didn’t believe he was gay. Leonardo Zuniga, a Mexican claimant, also had his refugee plea rejected last summer despite the threat of anti-gay violence in his home country. With Jamaica’s popular image as an easy-going tourist spot, Gareth Henry might not have better luck.
Jamaica’s perception needs to be challenged; the country’s most popular musicians habitually call for the murder of gay people, and the public acts accordingly. Montreal Simon regularly reports on Jamaica’s horror stories (I’m borrowing his recurring zombie island motif), but very little attention is paid by the mainstream media—and Jamaican police are often mob members themselves.
I wish Gareth the best of luck with his claim and hope his stories will gain the attention they deserve. If governments become aware enough of the issue to put out traveler warnings, Jamaica may finally be forced to stop the madness.
The federal New Democrats have called for a boycott of Jamaican musicians Elephant Man and Sizzla. Both are currently touring in Canada, though several venues have canceled performances and refunded tickets after the nature of their lyrics, which calls for the murder of gays, was brought to their attention.
NDP MP Bill Siksay said that these sort of performances have no place in Canada:
I hope that fans of Jamaican dancehall music will appreciate that a vibrant musical tradition should not be used as a cover for the promotion of hatred. I hope that they will choose to boycott performances.
A spokesperson for Elephant Man offered a signed declaration stating that anti-gay songs would not be performed, but Stop Murder Music, a Jamaican activist group, said that past declarations aren’t “worth the paper [they’re] printed on,” once the artist returns to Jamaica, where anti-gay violence is rampant.
- NDP calls for boycott of anti-gay & lesbian artists [NDP]
- Censors win: Elephant Man’s Ottawa show canned because of past anti-gay lyrics [Capital Xtra]
- Controversial rapper heading for London [London Free Press]