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Belize City
Saturday, April 13, 2024

To – David

“THE CANDLE MAY GO OUT,BUT THE MEMORY...

Young sailors stand on the shoulder of a Master and Commander: Charles Bartlett Hyde

Photo: (right) Charles Bartlett Hyde Contributed: Harbour Regatta...

Storm clouds!

A tribute to C.B. Hyde Saturday, April 6,...

From the Publisher

PublisherFrom the Publisher

I was circumcised when I was about 28 at the old Holden Memorial Hospital. But I was put under, as they say, so I didn’t feel any pain. Nelson Mandela explained in his book that in his tribe in southern Africa once the young boys of the tribe reached a certain age (I can’t remember if it’s 12 or 13), all of them were taken to a private place in the village where they were circumcised by an elder (without any pain killers) and then spent several days recovering from the cut wound to the foreskin of their private parts. Such a ritual bonded the young men of that age to each other because of the common, very painful experience.

As far as I know, there was no such ritual amongst the roots youth of British Honduras/ Belize, but there must have been some form of bond or respect amongst our young boys/men here before hell began to break loose amongst them in the last years of the 1980s. 

In Mexico, they say every son is a soldier. I remember that during colonial days here, we young people were basically disrespectful of the Mexicans because all we knew of Mexico was poor villages like Payo Obispo. We knew nothing of the great revolutions and wars the Mexicans had fought. Today Belizeans are highly respectful of Mexicans, because we know now that there is a longtime tradition of courage in the Mexican republic. 

What is this institution which we call a “people”? I think it is the growth over time of families which involve men and women procreating and raising the children which are the products of said procreation. They say strong families make strong nations. I’m not going to argue with anyone who sees things differently from the way I do. I’m just offering a definition. 

The point I want to make in this column is this. Once a young boy/young man reaches what they call the age of puberty and powerful hormones begin surging through his bloodstream which drive him to seek sexual satisfaction from young girls/young women, you are dealing with what I consider the most powerful desire in the world for the majority of young boys/young men, and that is sex. (I have no interest in the LGBT section: they live their own life.)

On Friday afternoon last week, an eighteen-year-old boy whom my wife and I know because of his mother and stepfather, went to jail at Kolbe for the first time in his life. For sure the trauma he suffered must have been devastating.

I remember being driven, when I was that age, from White River Junction, Vermont, to Hanover, New Hampshire, to begin college at an American university. My student driver/host took me with my humble luggage to my single room on the second floor in a three-story dormitory. It was getting dark. I was left there all alone. There was no one in the suite, no one in the dormitory, and no one, it seemed to my traumatized eyes, on the whole frigging campus. I felt like crying. 

This week my wife and I cried for our young friend, whose experience on Friday had been far worse than mine in 1965. He had reached the age where he wanted/needed the company of the opposite sex, and the only way he could access that was by mingling with older neighbourhood youth who could show him the ropes and give him access to resource accumulation. After all, the opposite sex is always in need of resources, and if you cannot supply same, you will be a nonentity, a joke.   But in many areas of our city, especially where black youth live (this one is on the Northside), there is only one way to accumulate resources, and that is by breaking the law. Breaking the law is nice work when you can get away with it, but it comes with harsh penalties when you get caught. Last week, our young friend got caught.

Blame whom you want to, and blame whom you will. I am telling you, Mr. and Mrs. Self-Righteous, that life is a gift from God Almighty. No matter how you despise black youth, you can’t deny that. But at a certain age, these gifts from Almighty God have certain desires and needs which have to be satisfied.    

Did you know that my great-great-great-great grandfather on my white side was one of the three Magistrates who sat on the Mansfield Bowen/Peggy case in 1822? Put that in your pipe and smoke it. And deal with it how you will. 

And listen, if you are one of those who feel that I am ungrateful for all the breaks you and your kind gave me in life, you have a right to feel that way, beloved. Life turned out the way it did for me because of certain specific circumstances I encountered and certain specific decisions in my past. Punto final. 

I have grown to despise the selfishness and hypocrisy of certain sections of our Belizean population. What I feel will not affect their luxury and comfort, but they all say they believe in a God and a judgment day. 

For me, one of the most beautiful parts of the Bible is when the condemned ask the Lord, “but Lord, when did we see you in such a condition, hungry and thirsty, and did not minister to you? And the Lord answered like this: whenever you saw the least of my brethren like this, it was really Me you were seeing”.

Thus endeth the lesson.

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To – David

Storm clouds!

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