Sunday, July 20, 2008

Don't Shoot, It's Mexico!

Four of our boys are stuck in Mexico and quite likely to remain there for a few years. Let’s be honest people, they were stupid. And don’t give me crap about “they were just doing their jobs.” They went into the territory of Mexico with guns and without any official –by which I mean documented— permission to carry those guns. Tell you what, if my boss tells me to break the law, especially in a country that has no sense of humor about these things, I’m gonna have to go job hunting!

Now that I’ve said that and you’re all mad at me and drawing breath to shout that it doesn’t matter and they’re not stupid, let me stop you right there and tell you that the anger you’re directing at me is really something else. You want to tell me “it doesn’t matter, these guys are our fellow Belizeans and how dare Mexico treat them like that” right? Yeah, that’s called nationalism, or maybe even patriotism.

For those of you who aren’t feeling it yet, let me give you my view here. What I personally am thinking is that yes, these guys broke the law. But remember this, they did it chasing a couple of guys who broke the law on our side of the border. These bad guys are home safe, maybe not too sound, but they are being painted as victims and no one’s talking of returning them to our authorities to face charges. Fair? I think not.

This is just the latest of hundreds of incidents that have happened to Belizeans over many, many years across the border in our favorite shopping territory. Everybody knows somebody who has some horror story to tell, right? Hey, we built Chet, and after all we’ve done for them, if we get in a car accident and the Mexican driver’s at fault, we still have to pay. Yet, horrified though we claim to be, we keep going across to Mexico to shop, watch movies, eat tacos and drink beer, paying our hard-earned pesos along the way, developing Chetumal more everyday. Obviously we’re not that bothered about how Mexican authorities treat our people, not really.

But if you are one of the few who are angry enough to actually do something, then how best to handle your outrage, how do you most effectively throw your nationalism in Mexican faces? Heck, that’s easy. Just keep your money on this side of the border, boycott Chet; don’t go there. Amandala said it, Mexico’s for the Mexicans, but we keep building up their territory for them and not our own for us.

That nationalistic outrage you’re feeling? Shove it where it’ll hurt them most, in their wallets.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Delivering Justice...When?

Chalk one more up on the criminals’ side of the scoreboard. What? What do you mean you’ve run out of space? But the cops say crime has dropped. Ha! This, my children, is a joke. Do you think the family of Angel and Marco Tulio Xis think that crime is declining? Hell, no. The fact is, justice has been denied to crime victims too many times in too many ways, and the system sleeps on. In fact, picture the entire justice system snoozing in a row of hammocks on a long, shaded, breezy verandah. Because the judges, the prosecutors, the police and all the others involved in delivering justice can’t possibly be awake to our realities.

Okay, kudos to the cops for catching those young monsters who killed the Hills for a few trinkets and a vehicle. But seriously, how many people think like I do, that it’ll be a miracle if these boys end up being found guilty at all? And of course, we know they’ll never, ever hang. Saddest of all, when they get away with it, everyone in the justice system will blame everyone else for the failure, and no one will actually fix it.

I admit, I don’t have the magic bullet solution for the crime problem. I don’t think anyone does if they’re honest about it. I do know that this country’s too small to have this big of a problem, which automatically means that somebody’s not dealing with it as they should.

These days, most cases don’t make it to trial thanks to witness tampering; this needs to be seriously addressed, through punitive measures and by providing protection if required. For those criminals who actually do land up in prison, please, PLEASE put them to do hard labour. The idea is to make sure they don’t ever want to come back to prison, and you can make them think twice about it without treating them like animals. Certainly it cannot be achieved by allowing them to live in relative comfort, playing with computers all day, until it’s time to have a weekend out with the girlfriend –what innocent child ever viewed this as a deterrent?

Incidentally, Honourable Ministers, you need to get to work rectifying that CCJ mess. No, we’re not so na├»ve as to think that the CCJ will automatically let us hang brutal killers with ease, but at least when their lawyers take us to the highest of mortal courts, that court won’t be the painfully expensive Privy Council.

The fact is, we live in an increasingly dangerous society, which is unhealthy culturally, societally and economically. Any politician worth his votes ought to be seriously, actively, loudly addressing it, as should the citizenry. By the way, did you think that ‘not seeing’ a crime will make it go away? When you’re tempted to play ostrich, ask yourself how you would feel if something happened to you or yours and witnesses refused to speak up. Shouldn’t victims have rights?

Friday, July 4, 2008

Starting Over

I haven’t done this in a while, and to tell you the truth, I almost quit completely. You see, bloggers draw their energy and motivation from their audiences. The comments readers make, whether they agree or disagree, get bloggers going, set their mental juices flowing. If you’re silent, eventually we go silent. Hell, what’s the use of shouting when there’s no one to hear? Mind you, I wasn’t angry at my mute readership, I just figured I was doing it wrong, that I wasn’t being provoking enough. So I'll work on that if you do your part.

The idea behind this little project is to get dialogue going. I figure if you can afford a computer, an internet connection, and know how to surf the web, then you’re capable of rational thought and intellectual discussion. If you’re speaking anonymously you can speak freely, right? So I challenge you to make your comments, forward this blog to everyone you know, get the discussion going. Let’s make this thing so big that the politicians have to take notice. Then, by our anonymity, let’s make them crazy by preventing them from buying us off as they have other advocacy groups.

Use this (as well as Belize Watch) as one more forum to let the guys in charge know that we’re not taking any more abuse from them. Use all forums available, tell everyone about your thoughts, make everything you know public; get the dark stuff into the light. And if you have information you want to share, post it here or email it to belizebeliever@gmail.com.

In the meantime, let’s start this relationship over. Hi, I’m pissed, and you are…?