Love is……

What is love? How do you know when you found it? And how long will it stay when you find it? These questions been deliberated and written about for centuries, from poets to novelists to the great bard himself, Shakespeare, the celebrated playwright who probably wrote the most famous tragic love story between Romeo and Juliette. The greatest love stories in history revealed that many of the famous lovers met a tragic end, however, they show us that love is stronger than anything else in the world. So congratulations to you that have found love and to all those hoping to find it someday, of course, with a happier ending.

Love is a force of nature…..It strikes like lightning, it is unpredictable and overwhelming. Just as it is impossible to command the moon, the stars and the wind to capitulate to our whims and fancies. We cannot invite, command, dictate, or demand how, where and love expresses itself. The one command characteristic of love is the overpowering, alluring, seductive and tantalizing wish to be together as one, inseparable, two souls intertwined. Lovers who believe in each other and their love, even if the world does not recognize or approve of their union.

Love is free. It cannot be bought, sold or traded. Money cannot buy love. But one can buy sex or marriage partners, loyalty, companionship, a virgin, an undivided attention or an orgasm. Love does not come with conditions, stipulations, bargains or rewards. Marriage has certain restrictions based on the law, property rights and contracts, but marriage has little to do with love. As this famous song by Bonnie Raitt suggests, ‘I can’t make you love me,….you can’t make your heart be something it won’t’.

As I wrote in my last blog title ‘Hatred and Mental Instability’, that the two most intense of human emotions – love and hate – are intimately linked within the human brain, according to biological scientific study, and are the same nervous circuits in the brain responsible for romantic love………can result in similar acts of extreme behavior – although love and hate appears to be polar opposites. I believe the heart plays a more significant role in the feelings of love by receiving information from our senses of smell, taste, touch, seeing and hearing. When we are loved, we tend to feel it in our guts, we learn to recognize when we are being loved and also recognize love for another.

There is really no mystery about being in love, it is practical and down-to-earth. In order for love to be real love, it has to be expressed as an action. A loving touch, a deep caress, a loving smile, sweet kind words of appreciation, getting caught in the rain, a long drive to nowhere or an extended stay in the bathtub are evidence of romantic love. There is often tangible proof when you are loved. When you are treated with love, your heart feels that love, as King Solomon wrote in the book of Proverbs 27:19, ‘As water reflects a man’s face back at him, so is the heart of one [person] to another’.

Love radiates like the sun and shines through the darkest clouds, independently of our fears and desires. Love comes on its own time, without a schedule.

Hate and Mental Instability

My reaction to the Orlando, Florida massacre is typical, of which I count myself among a set of reasonable, well-adjusted human beings that find this unsociable behavior outrageous, shocking, insufferable and repulsive. The two most intense of human emotions – love and hate – are intimately linked within the human brain, according to biological scientific study, are the same nervous circuits in the brain responsible for romantic love. These findings could explain why both hate and romantic love can result in similar acts of extreme behavior – although love and hate appears to be polar opposites.

If one examined the massacres of the last 20 years in US, the perpetrators had serious mental health problems such as: schizophrenia, Asperger syndrome, and other mental illnesses characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction and non-verbal communication. A logical conclusion is that people are more likely to commit mass executions if they are mentally disturbed, an inevitably link between mental illness, mass shooting and gun violence.

Most of us harbor a resentment or dislike for a person who may have committed a wrong against us, but we certainly would not entertain a compulsion to kill them. Hate can be an all-consuming passion, like fanaticism or an addiction to some irrational enthusiasms or beliefs, especially in religion and politics.

The Orlando killer apparently had a serious conflict, or jihad (personal struggle) as a Muslim and a closeted homosexual; a bad combination which naturally can fester deep-seated hatred for oneself and the community one despised.

I do not expect any decrease in mass killings along as a proliferation of guns and mentally deficient individuals exist; politicians loyal to the NRA and the scientific community inability to fully understand the complexity of the brain. Or we can live similar to our closest extant relative, the Bonobo who form deep social bonds and is an authority on conflict resolution.

Hot for Teacher: ‘Sexpidemic’

Just finished reading a list of documented female teachers that been accused, or convicted of having sexual relations with their students. Teachers having sex with students is more prevalent than one would imagine, so much so, that it has a name and classified as ‘sexpidemic’ in academic circles for tracking and researching this deviant behavior. It is also surprising that I could not find an extensive list for men teachers, maybe because it less widespread, or male teachers are more discreet, or the girl students they molest keep their secrets. Most boys tend to reveal the unwholesome sexual interest to their friends and for some unexplained reason, to their mothers.

Though the criminal sex penalties are the same, victims are underage, and the alleged actions are similar, female teacher sex offenders in most cases face much lighter sex crime penalties than their male counterpart offenders do. Even more disturbing, these female teacher sex offenders have even gained pop culture status through intense media scrutiny about their arrests and sex crime trials. Contrary to their male sex-offending peers that are often deemed as “predators” by public and judicial consensus, female teachers involved in sex scandals tend to receive lighthearted, even flattering press coverage, instead of being reviled as sexual predators.

I would have willingly engaged in any sexual activity with my female teachers. As a teenager fueled with ranging hormones, and with the added misfortune of attending an all-male institution, I had to endure many sleepless nights longing for my beautiful and gorgeous Peace Corps teacher to seduce me and take me home for private lessons. I looked forward with great anticipation to my weekly French classes, not only to become more fluent in the language but also a rare opportunity, at the tender age of 12 or 13, standing in the proximity of a real woman (who was not family), to bask in her femininity and to breathe in her exotic perfume at every opportunity. Those fleeting moments of my impressionable youth still linger, with a definite appreciation of the French language. Not condoning teachers having sex with students, however, in today’s world that line of respect between students and teachers seemed to be obliterated.

The female sex offenders are of no particular religion, marital status or education from English, Language Arts teachers; Kindergarten, History, Special Education educators, softball and cheer-leading coaches to substitute teachers, and varied in ages ranging from 21 years to 60-year-old, Adrienne Laflamme, a Science teacher at the Brevard County Juvenile Detention Center in Cocoa Beach, FL., who not only had a four-week heated affair with a 17-year-old inmate but also included a three-some with a 14-year-old boy.

Sexual shenanigans are not always between teachers and the opposite sex, but also among lesbian teachers and young girls. Sexual involvement with students can be complicated when more than one teacher is having a relationship with the same student. Some teachers are quite adventurous as in the case of Special-education teacher, Summer Michelle Hansen, 31 of Centennial High School in Corona, CA., charged with having sex with five students and sending the boys text messages and nude pics of herself.

Alabama has the highest rate of sexual relations between teacher-student sex in the nation. Kentucky, Louisiana, Vermont and Mississippi round out the nation’s top five worst states for teacher-student sex.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice NSOPW website, the facts and statistics are overwhelming. In a 2012 maltreatment report, of the victims who were sexually abused, 26% were in the age group of 12-14 years and 34% were younger than 9 years old. Research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimated that 1 in 6 boys and 1 in 4 girls are sexually abused by the age of 18; and 69% of the teen assaults reported to law enforcement occurred in the resident of the victim, the offender, or another individual.

What would motivate an intelligent, mature teacher to indulge in sex with a minor at the cost of losing one’s reputation, career and the respect of the community? Well, no single factor or combination of factors can fully explain why someone offends sexually, though some factors may increase a person’s tendency to do so, such as: (a) physiological/biological (e.g., imbalanced hormones, being sexually attracted to children); (b) sociocultural (e.g., being exposed to broader social messages supportive of aggression); (c) developmental/environmental (e.g., having witnessed domestic violence) and (d) situational/circumstantial (e.g., having easy access to victims, extreme levels of stress).

With a large number of teachers having sex with their students across America, it is inevitable that being a teacher’s pet will include special sexual favors.

RESOURCES

The The American Physiological Association has a great resource for understanding and preventing child abuse and neglect.

Center for Sex Offender Management provides parents and guardians tools to prevent child abuse.

Outraged!

George Zimmerman, the man who murdered unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin, has elevated his status to the worst human being on the planet. Mr Zimmerman announced an auction on the murder weapon, the 9 mm pistol on Thursday, bidding begins at $5,000, but decided rather suddenly to cancel the sale, in good conscience. The lowlife claimed that the gun… ‘is a piece of American History’. The only historical fact is that Zimmerman is a mentally unstable white man and a racist that should have never been allowed to own a gun. Mr Zimmerman has never apologized to the Martin family and now trying to profit from the tragedy is beyond common decency.

Zimmerman beat the second-degree murder and manslaughter charges due to an inept prosecutorial team and a defense team who employed all the tricks of the trade to free a man that they now regret defending since his later run-ins with the law and domestic violence tendencies. This travesty motivated the Black Lives Matter and other civil rights movements to address the inequities and injustices of the judicial system, which disproportionately distress the Black community.

Just as outrageous is the Republican Party establishment sycophants kissing the ring and licking the boot of Donald J Trump, in their willingness to sacrifice their principles and convictions for personal gain or to stop Hilary at all costs. It is really entertaining to watch these representatives grovel for a piece of Trump’s coattail. Beginning with the Governor of New Jersey who seem stricken with Stockholm syndrome now that he is a hostage of the Trump phenomenon. Only the Bush family; Mitt Romney, Lindsay Graham and Paul Ryan, with his ‘wait and see attitude’ are the ones with any integrity. Trump is an immature, petulant, narcissist who continues to flip-flop his way to the Republican Presidential nomination, however, there are not many difference between the policies of the Republican Party and D Trump: that the wealthy are the engines of the economy; and the tax system that benefits the most affluent will have long-term benefits for the middle and lower class, otherwise known as ‘strickle down or voodoo economics’, which is a failure since it was introduce during the Reagan administration. So do not expect The Donald releasing his tax returns anytime soon, less the 99% discover how the 1% cheat on the taxes. Call it Conservative Unification.

At least, there is a break from the rhetoric that Obama is responsible for taking the country in the wrong direction, or we have to take our country back – which is euphemism for the outrage for a Black man in the White House. The country is no worse off than when Obama took over in 2008, an economy that was hemorrhaging jobs and heading for a financial meltdown. The country survived Richard Nixon and Watergate; the Vietnam War; the Bush tax cuts and a civil war. The country is just fine.

America is a country of contradictions. Americans are delusional, prudish religious nuts- especially when compared to the rest of world, (except where Sharia Law is practiced), according to the Pew Research Center. In an article by Kali Holloway, Alternet, asked the question, ‘How do you reconcile a country that glamorize violence but is squeamish about sex; conflate Christianity and consumerism; says it values liberty yet made human rights violations a founding principle?

A 2006 Guttmacher Institute survey found that 95 percent of Americans have had premarital sex. Just over 60 percent of American teenagers have had sex by age 19, while another 2011 study found that even 80 percent of unmarried evangelicals age 18 to 29 had indulged in fornication. The outrage is pouring government dollars in abstinence programs when it would be more effective to offer young people the skills and information to be safe when they become sexually active, as in useful sexual health education, instead of lessons in sexual repression. The U. S. maintains the highest teen pregnancy rate among all wealthy countries.

Do not follow the doctrine of Bristol Palin – do as I say but not as I do.

Barbados Golden Jubilee

On November 30, 2016, Barbados will officially celebrate the 50th Anniversary of its independence from Great Britain. The year-long Golden Jubilee party began in earnest on January 6th and will continue to June 2017. Before a large crowd assembled on Independence Square, in the nation’s capital, Prime Minister, Fruendal Stuart urged Barbadians, at home and abroad ‘to recommit themselves to the development of the country’. No doubt, many Barbadians of the Diaspora will return to participation in the festivities, the parades, the family reunions, concerts, fetes, political speeches, ceremonies and parties to contribute to the economy to offset the expenses of this grand undertaking with the purchases of memorabilia, to boost the economy for a brief interval.

Since November 30, 1966, the country has enjoyed prosperity, economic stability, stable government and better living standards; but the foundation for these successes were the early men of vision, intellect, foresight, and ambition, who represented the interest of the citizens first and foremost.

VISIONARIES

The merchant class dominated politics in Barbados for over 200 years. The Black population could not vote until 1831 or hold office in the legislature until 1840. Trade unions were introduced in the 1930s by descendants of emancipated slaves who formed movements for political rights.
In 1938, Grantley Adam (1898-1987) a leader of one of the Trade Unions, founded the Progressive League (he was the lawyer who represented Clement Payne in his case against deportation to Trinidad), which later to became the Barbados Labor Party, specifically to rescue Barbadians from the strong grip of social injustice and economic ill-treatment. He achieved significant social and constitutional reforms including: the right of women to vote on the same terms as men; establishment of a Labor Department; amendments to the Education Act; the setting up of Erdiston Teachers College; improved working for shop assistants; and increased old age pensions. Adams later became the first Premier of Barbados in 1958.

Errol Walton Barrow (1920-1987) left the Barbados Labor Party in 1955 to start his own Democratic Labor Party, replaced Grantley Adams as the Premier of Barbados. Errol Barrow was an experienced pilot and flew bombing missions during WW II. Affectionately known as ‘the Skipper’, Barrow and the DLP made free education available at all levels, started the Social Security scheme, and improved the school meal service. He led the way to diversify the economy to place more emphasis on Barbados’ tourism development rather than sugar dependence. He also co-founded both the Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA) and Caribbean Community (CARICOM). Under his leadership, he led Barbados to full independence, and his DLP was the majority party from 1966 to 1976; which returned to power in 1986, until his death in 1987.

Charles Duncan O’Neal (1879-1936) used his social and professional status to change the consciousness of a nation. He studied medicine at Edinburgh University in Scotland, was a member of the elite class and held a high social position in the Barbadian community, chose to dedicate his life to social reforms, assisting the poor, and actively rejected the racism of the 1920s and 1930s. He established the Democratic League in 1924, and in 1932 he won a seat in the House of the Assembly.

The above-mentioned notables are just a few people who have given outstanding service to Barbados; contributed to the improvement of the economic and social conditions of Barbados, demonstrated visionary and pioneering leadership, extraordinary achievement and the attainment of the of the highest excellence, so according to the Barbados’ Order of National Heroes Act who are honored every year on April 28th.

The political parties: Barbados Labor Party under Mia Mottley; the Democratic Labor Party under Fruendal Stuart and the People’s Empowerment Party (PEP) under David Comissiong hardly distinguished themselves with any clear objectives how to handle the challenges of the economy, the growing debt burden or public service delivery. They seem more immersed in the style and rhetoric of the personality of the leaders rather than a commitment to solving the countries’ problems.

Barbados in its infancy depended on the leadership and vision of proponents of good governance and advocates for social justice and economic reforms. Barbados now needs innovators and reformers for the next 50 years, which currently seem lacking during these crises.

Working In the Shadows

There is some debate whether prostitution is ‘the oldest profession’ known to mankind. But ‘working girls’ have been around since the middle ages. Looking forward to the day, or night when sex workers can hang a shingle to their establishment beckoning patrons with a warm welcome, ‘open for business’, rather than parading on sidewalks leaning into cars, or dressed provocatively, unprotected by the laws of commerce and trade. Prostitution is good old-fashioned capitalism: an economic, political system in which a country’s trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state. In basic economics, demand refers to how much a product or service desired by buyers. We can all agree that this commodity is so desirable that men will be always be willing to buy at a certain price, depending on how much the market can supply.

Making sex work legitimate would bring women out of the underground secret shadows, free from traffickers, predators, and criminals. Sex workers are the most likely demographic of people beaten, stabbed, raped or murdered. Only lumberjacks, bush pilots and deep-sea fishermen experience more workplace dangers, and a more hostile environment. In addition, avoiding arrest and incarceration, and society’s judgement is a burden most other skilled occupations do not encounter; except for salesmen and lawyers.

The consequences of being arrested for prostituting, not only carries shame and disgrace, but also the inability to get a more socially acceptable job to earn a living; ineligible to rent an apartment for up to five years, a criminal record; with limited options, the only choice is to return to sex work. Meanwhile, the other participant in the sex transaction is guilty of a misdemeanor, gets a slap on the wrist and his transgression is forgiven and a second chance to redeem himself.

In 1985 in Amsterdam, the first World Whores Congress established the International Committee for Prostitutes’ Rights. A total of 75 participants from six European countries, three South-East Asian countries, the United States and Canada. Both sex workers and allies wrote a World Charter that demanded decriminalization of all aspects of adult sex work, the repeal of laws denying their freedom of association, to a private life, or to travel. They opposed systematic zoning policies, mandatory health checks, any law that limited their abilities to control their working conditions. In 2003, the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers was found. Red Umbrella Project is an important symbol for sex workers’ rights recognized every year on December 17th.

In 2003, the New Zealand Prostitution Reform Act (PRA) fully decriminalized sex work. It is legal for any citizen over 18 years old to sell sexual services, street-based sex work, or run a brothel. Sex workers’ right is guaranteed through employment and human rights legislation. Opponents of the PRA had feared its introduction would to lead to an explosion of brothels, and of human trafficking. Five years after its introduction, the Prostitution Law Review Committee found, ‘the sex industry has not increased in size, and many of the social evils predicted have not been experienced’. The review committee also tasked the Christchurch School of Medicine (CSM) with carrying out an Independent Review. Quantitative and qualitative methods found that over 90 percent of sex workers believed the PRA gave them employment, legal and health and safety rights. A substantial 64 percent found it easier to refuse clients. Significantly, 57 percent said police attitudes to sex workers changed for the better.

Sex work is a caring profession that sells a service: including physical acts, of course, but also give comfort to the lonely, counseling, relieving stress, emotional connections and stimulating conversation and offer sex to men with disabilities who would otherwise had no opportunities for sexual expression and all the health benefits it can bring. A trailer for the Australian documentary Scarlet Road reveals a little-known side of sex work. Rachel Wotton an out-spoken young woman from Sydney, Australia, has been working legally as a sex worker; half of her clients are people with disabilities.

While decriminalization may not cure all the ills of this profession, however, an opportunity to see the sex worker, not as a criminal, but as an individual with rights who needs protection, and safety, healthcare, counseling, and treatment for drug addiction and mental issues, which may lead to economic empowerment.

Cricket, Lovely Cricket!

West Indian cricket fans from across the Caribbean and around the globe celebrated both the – ICC Women’s World T20 and the Men’s World T20 – victories in spectacular fashion. It is a welcome resurgence for West Indian cricket in 2016, with the Under-19 team also winning the 50-over World Cup in February. It should not go unnoticed that two Barbadians were responsible for both team successes; Hayley Matthews, player of the match in the women’s contest against Australia, and Carlos Brathwaite hitting 4 sixes off four balls to help lift the trophy versus England.

What is not of high quality and not worth watching is Dwayne “DJ” Bravo’s music video “Champion”, which has gone viral and seemingly the official anthem to the glory of West Indian cricket. This 2.45 mins dance music video, if you can call it dance, with choreography similar to the movement of a sasquatch or bigfoot, would have certainly been relegated to the list of worst music videos, if not for its lack of lyrical creativity, but for the scarcity of Afro-Caribbean women rather than the women of European persuasion throughout the video.

The Caribbean people, despite a shared common ancestry, is divided along racial, cultural, language, religion and region with distinctive singular identities. Cricket and other sports seem is the only connection to an all-embracing homogeneous society. The region is always in conflict holding fast to fiercely national ideals as distinctly Jamaicans, Barbadians, Vincentians, Guyanese, etc., rather than one people.

Hopefully, revival of West Indian lovely cricket will foster good relations among the islands; what the Federation, Carifta and Caricom seem unable to do.