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Sunday, July 5, 2020
Home Features Children, no; pikni, no; YOUTH, yes!

Children, no; pikni, no; YOUTH, yes!

It is amazing that the same people who would debunk Tata Duhende, Xtabai, and Santa Claus, become like the emperor’s tailors (who deceived him into thinking they were weaving magical clothes for him out of nothing) when they describe certain technically underage persons (teenagers) who are capable of providing for their food, clothing, and shelter, and continuing our species too. Of course people who live in the modern world have to change, adapt some to the times, but what’s with pinning make-believe names to make a truth that anyone can see through?

The last time my mom grabbed my dad’s belt and gave me a few cuts, I was 13 years old. She had this great fear of rivers, and even though I was fully capable on the sea, and could sail my dory anywhere, she wanted me to stay away from the river. My mom knew she was wrong, and the next time I went to swim in the river she waited until my dad got home. My dad lashed me, to satisfy my mom, but he knew he was wrong too. I never “talked back” to my parents. The next week I went back to the river to bathe. Thirteen, my friends, is no child.

Ouch, I hope my former teacher noh get bex wid me for this story. Hmm, it’s a story of crossed-wires, and we all have our moments. One semester at Compre we got a teacher who had spent most of her working life teaching children. I’m sure it was an afternoon when we met her for the first time, and she met us. She came in, put her notes on the head desk, turned to us and said: “Good afternoon, children”. Ohhhh no! I don’t know if we forgave her for that, then, but I am certain none of us hold on to any grudges now. Teenager da noh pikni.

I believe the primary reasons why the emperor’s tailors insist on calling teenagers “children” are, one, to impress upon youth that they should finish school; two, to get adults, particularly male adults, to turn their gaze from fantastic physiological things that are happening to the bodies of youth; and three, to comply with sometimes ridiculous child labor laws imposed by the Europeans.

That last one doesn’t always make sense in our country. Finished societies, like the ones in Europe, can afford to have their children squandering time on frivolous activities. Belize can’t afford that. We could, if we adopted a socialist system, but the brilliant Bill Lindo says we shouldn’t go there, so we have to find dignified ways to survive in the harsh capitalism. Children and youth must keep focused on education, and they do need a little time to play. At all other times they must be busy, helping their parents in every way they can to increase their family’s earnings.

I can’t see the point in not facing the obvious truth. I remember one kind lady said that they are about effecting changes in the way our children and youth and adults see things, and much of what they are doing makes sense, but I’d rather we have a discussion here, in Belize, before we follow the dictates of the Europeans. They, the transformers, have been at it for some time, and they have their victories. But I have my kwaaril about some of the moves they make.

A young teenager is on the first leg to adulthood, and an older teenager is almost an adult. We can make excuses for the things we keep hidden from children because a lot of stuff isn’t relevant to them, but when it comes to the youth we need to make sure they get it from us straight.

During this teenage period a youth is exposed to many adult matters, and they are called to make many decisions about their future. If you will guide youth you need to have their trust, and if you will have their trust you have to tell them the truth. You can tell a child to stay away from rum, case closed, but when you tell a teenager to stay away from rum you have to tell them why. Youth have to know the full story behind these laws that control alcohol drinking, and the reason for the laws that control marijuana.

I will listen to anyone who has done their studies, and when they are done I will compare with the notes I have from our ancestors and from what I have seen. There is a distinct separation between a child and a youth.

Okay, let me not go any deeper into things here, so, to end this story, one, I won’t refer to any teenager as a child because that is mek-believe, and two, congratulations to all the youth who participated in the Youth Parliament. Belize has a bright future.

Yes, Mr. ComPol Chester Williams, we see how hard you’re working to hound the rum bizniz out of existence, and how legitimate illegitimate women in the late night market are being forced into more respectable professions. I bet you have your supporters. I bet you must feel great to have the Evangelicals drooling over you, and egging you on. Your head must be getting very swell, but if I were you I wouldn’t put all my trust in the Puritans. Some of them can be two-faced.

The Puritans prohibited rum, and they extended it to weed, and purity didn’t stop some of them from shooting down the Native peoples and taking away their land.

In Belize, we were brought up to live and let live, but those good old days are drifting away. Chester’s got his points, but one of them isn’t accommodation. This sternness against drink and night life almost seems personal. Look, since our national concern is the terrible violence, and the trafficking, every district should have a red glow joint, behind a barbed wire fence. You want to know the identities of all the people who work there – the bartenders and the bouncers and the people who are into lewdness must all have their cards.

The red glow district will be easy to police because they will have us all in one area. Yes, I said, us – some of us dream of being around the exciting crowd, but we have what Oscar Wilde called “the terror of society”- – until we get a drink.

So much for mature adult stuff, a letter writer from San Pedro wrote for much of adult Belize when they called for more strict controls during dynamite season. It’s here, and it’s against the law, and it has gone way beyond the fun days of yore. Does our police boss believe that our only concerns are rum and lewdness?

Flat out, some of the dynamites are too powerful and they are frightening for people with heart problems, terrifying for the dogs, and dangerous for children. A STOP has to be put on this practice before someone has a stroke or some kid gets their fingers or hand blown off.

The best toy before Belize went murder crazy was a pop shot gun. KREM does a toy drive every year, and they do not accept toy guns, and it isn’t hard to see their reasoning. The Southside of Belize City has known more pain because of guns than any other area, and it not only might be unwise to get children involved in gun games: it might be inconsiderate to people who have lost loved ones to gun violence.

The story is that the dynamite is coming from Melchor. I would hate for Belizeans to have to stop shopping over there, but this recent situation with Melchorites squatting on our land has to be addressed. I hope it isn’t true that a person who teaches children is among the group that is violating Belize’s territory.

The Melchor problem aside, this blind eye to dynamite is wrong. It would be better that we legalize it and confine it to special zones. My great fun as a child was pop shot guns, but there are those who get their kicks from dynamite, and some of them prefer the big ones the letter writer called the M-80. Put them all in a park and let them go and play their war games there.

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