Guess who’s coming to Twitter? @dudusfromtivoli…

Dudus on Twitter? and a satirical look at the Mannatt Commission of Inquiry in Jamaica.

Guess who's on Twitter?

@dudusfromtivoli Awaiting Trial
Businessman. Entrepreneur. Philanthropist. Peacekeeper. Proud Jamaican goes the bio on the Twitter page of the purported Don who was extradited from Jamaica last June. As The KD Knight Show, otherwise known as the Manatt Commission of Inquiry (an expensive investigation into the circumstances that led the Jamaican Government to allegedly hire the services of Washington law firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips to influence the US Government to backpedal on its ‘request’ for Dudus’s extradition to the US to face drug running and other charges), rolls into its third or fourth week the Jamaican Twittersphere has suddenly become twice as interesting with the entry of someone tweeting as if they’re the imprisoned don, Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke, languishing in a New York prison.

The Twitter persona @dudusfromtivoli comments sardonically on the proceedings of the Inquiry. He also solicits company on Twitter:

Tweeting till lights off at 10pm – who keeping me company? #twitterafterdark scary in prison.

Below, I’ve listed his tweets in ascending order…that is, you’ll have to scroll down to the bottom and read them bottom up if you want to be chronological. And while you’re down there you may as well check out the videoclip of Anthony Miller/Entertainment Report’s priceless take on the Manatt Inquiry from TVJ in which footage from the Inquiry is played in slomo to the theme music from Perry Mason.

Both of these (and the cartoon below) are cause for celebration, political satire is alive and well in Jamaica. Enjoy!

Clovis, Jamaica Observer
Boss that’s salt in an open wound. RT @faadajoe: @dudusfromtivoli suggest a new profile pic http://twitpic.com/45u0lp
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Dudus
dudusfromtivoli Dudus
Prison life babes. RT @mummasuss: Is this person bored! RT @Moosie928: follow @dudusfromtivoli now for free digicel credit
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Dudus
dudusfromtivoli Dudus
10pm boss. RT @Moosie928: @dudusfromtivoli nigga lights out a pass ur bed time
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Dudus
dudusfromtivoli Dudus
Its called “prison” RT @MsRaine: @anniepaul LOL!!! Some people really have a lot of time on their hands…i.e. ———> @dudusfromtivoli
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Dudus
dudusfromtivoli Dudus
@bruceJLP Is this the PM or the Party Leader speaking? Put me on to NDM Bruce please.
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Dudus
dudusfromtivoli Dudus
Who said digicel? I do not recall. #misrepresentation RT @Moosie928: follow @dudusfromtivoli now for free digicel credit
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Dudus
dudusfromtivoli Dudus
Conjugal visits coming up 😉 RT @JBooMc: @dudusfromtivoli … lol I will be ur company
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Dudus
dudusfromtivoli Dudus
Former “gunman” on CVM – I see you still wear that shirt I bought you 6 years ago. I see you hater!
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Dudus
dudusfromtivoli Dudus
Always marry rich. RT @Jherane_: Am I the only one who thought Veronica should’ve gotten with Reggie?
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Dudus
dudusfromtivoli Dudus
RT @ToniToneTonz: YO @dudusfromtivoli say free credit for all new followers!! <— 3rd baby mother now taking bribes for credit “contracts”
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Dudus
dudusfromtivoli Dudus
Tweeting till lights off at 10pm – who keeping me company? #twitterafterdark scary in prison.
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Dudus
dudusfromtivoli Dudus
No pin. Cellie jealous #prisonlifehard RT @Moosie928: @dudusfromtivoli send me u pin waa link u off air
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Dudus
dudusfromtivoli Dudus
Free credit for new followers #electiontime RT @thereallyquiet1: “@anniepaul: Follow the don! @dudusfromtivoli … http://tmi.me/7jrLg
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Dudus
dudusfromtivoli Dudus
Bought it from a guard 2nd hand #prisonlifehard RT @Moosie928: freedom is a must @dudusfromtivoli a which bb u a work wid?
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Dudus
dudusfromtivoli Dudus
Both. Conjugal visit coming up 😉 RT @NinaRazzi: From real jail or twitter jail…??? Lmao! RT @Moosie928: #free @dudusfromtivoli
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Dudus
dudusfromtivoli Dudus
RT @ToniToneTonz: all hail PREZI!<;— 3rd Jamaican baby mother
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Dudus
@dudusfromtivoli
@anniepaul <—- new Indian baby mother
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Dudus
dudusfromtivoli
#endorsed RT @Mark_N_Amos: Mannat enquiry imo, is a waste of time, no time for the stupid politicians that jamaica has…..
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Dudus
dudusfromtivoli
#celebrity RT @phcjam: RT @panmediajamaica: People are heading home early just to watch the Manatt/Dudus Commission’s proceedings.
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Dudus
dudusfromtivoli Dudus
Christmas gift. RT @musicmala: Go deh Babsy! Show dem di BB Torch! Raaaaeeeeee LOL
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Dudus
dudusfromtivoli Dudus
Link up. Always looking for foot soldiers. RT @frass28: @dudusfromtivoli me waan me the boss miself yah enuh buss a link nuh…
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Dudus
dudusfromtivoli Dudus
#politricks RT @JcSkyline: Lol, Babsy a wave the Torch though…. At least I’m seeing where my money goes.. Lol #TvJNews
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Dudus
dudusfromtivoli Dudus
Smart woman RT @MeishMGM:’In this age of technology you do not need to be in office to get your work done’; Babsy as she waves her BB
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Dudus
dudusfromtivoli Dudus
Best friends stab you in the front. RT @anniepaul: @corvedacosta yes, is Babsy there as Dorothy’s best friend? A handmaiden to justice?
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Dudus
dudusfromtivoli Dudus
Pray for me. RT @JBooMc: @dudusfromtivoli …. omg u answered hope all is well with u bossy babylon system is real messed up !
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Dudus
dudusfromtivoli Dudus
Ustream link? RT @CassiusWatson: I’m sometimes confused as to where #DarienHenry #TVJ is either filing a report or Anchoring the newscast
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Dudus
dudusfromtivoli Dudus
You’re telling me? Idle hands here in lock up. RT @jt_ninja: inactivity can be just as devastating.
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Dudus
dudusfromtivoli Dudus
Hope that happens in my case. RT @LifeinJamaica: Judge on strike! over salary issues
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Dudus
dudusfromtivoli Dudus
Smart woman. RT @JBooMc: I asked my mom who runs downtown like how #Dudus is in prison my mom said the babylon lol …. only in #Jamaica
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Dudus
dudusfromtivoli Dudus
#notonmyteam RT @lauraredpath: There’s a man sitting beside me fondling his crotch #manatt-dudus commission of enquiry

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Dudus
dudusfromtivoli Dudus
Keep walking. RT @frass28: @Skittleshoni no walk towards the light @Skittleshoni dont get dragged in u mite meet dudus and lie bout it.
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Dudus
dudusfromtivoli Dudus
A form of dyslexia? She knows my name. RT @gocharms: Why does she keep calling him Christopher Coke Dudus? #mannatt
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Dudus
dudusfromtivoli Dudus
Pretty girl like you should’t be working. RT @sweetsultryshen: Yes manatt/dudus commission going til 4…there goes my day
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Dudus
dudusfromtivoli Dudus
Imagine watching it from jail. RT @ProdigalJa: Dudus, President, Prezi, Shortman, General….. sometimes seeing and … http://tmi.me/7jnYJ
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Dudus
dudusfromtivoli Dudus
The lord is my shepard. RT @kookiekare: God Kno Dudus RT @nadyapatrese: God kno?? @donRwil @KookieKare

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Dudus
dudusfromtivoli Dudus
Babylon system. RT @nel_cc_nic: So since buju’s fate is set….whatever happen to Dudus? ‘Got lost in the system’?
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Dudus
dudusfromtivoli Dudus
@bruceJLP Boss link up. I’ve got internet privileges in prison now.
2 Mar
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Dudus
dudusfromtivoli Dudus
New to this Twitter thing. Big up to my supporters!
2 Mar

Patty Bandits in Paradise…#ironymuch

Robbery at Juici Patties in Kingston, Jamaica, hostage situation defused, how it was discussed on Twitter

Juici sent patties to Haiti after the earthquake

What an irony that the very day after Playboy magazine asked me to expand on my statement “In Jamaica farce, intrigue and tragedy remain inextricably intertwined” (Don’t worry–re Playboy–ALL will be revealed in due course) another farcical scenario played itself out in downtown Kingston when armed men took over the Juici Patty outlet on West Street.

@pd_rickards was tickled. lol who would rob a patty shop? <Pattybandits he tweeted. When I was a kid they used to call me Patty Bandit..and seet deh now it come to pass. 8:48 PM Sep 4th. they would bring box of patty home and bam..3 gone..ppl seh..’Is peter dean dweet uno..him is the patty bandit. 9:03 PM Sep 4th.

Meanwhile @JustSherman joined in the commentary: Hostage situation at A Patty Shop, Sounds like something written by @PD_Rickards but sadly true, Lord deliver us.

Details are still sketchy; it was only last night that what rapidly became known as “the hostage situation” developed like a hurriedly-formed hurricane which huffed and puffed but ultimately kept from blowing the house down. I was up in Stony Hill listening to Kate Bush sing Wuthering Heights over and over when i saw the first tweet about hostages being released in downtown Kingston.

I blinked. Had i fallen asleep and woken up in a Bollywood film? Or was this a nightmare in which life was trying to invade the reality show we’ve become? In response to my query as to whether this might be a b-grade Bollywood flick @ drewonline said: that would involve a dance routine on king street ma’am so no it’s not a Bollywood movie it’s a Jamaican farce–:-(

Turn on the TV, turn on the TV, everyone yelled when i announced that my Twitter feed was indicating that people were being held hostage at Juici Patty on West Street. Of course once again real life was quick to intrude. We were in Kingston, Jamaica, not some place with real television stations that report what’s occurring AS it’s occurring around us. Both major local stations were replaying American TV series and there was no live coverage of the potentially deadly drama. As @ArnoldKer said in disbelief: #nowwatching Gossip Girl on TVJ while hostages are being held downtown. How awesome is this!

The inevitable reference to the erstwhile reign of Dudus was made: Likkle bwoy cyan manage bigman work. Now dem know how Presi work did hard and Dem waan do Don work and cyan manage it. They should have tried to co-op the System into regular governance and then use an diffuse it. The latter makes eminent sense for as the same tweeter pointed out: Tivoli was the only “ghetto” with Moneygram, Claro, Digicel, Lime and numerous small and large businesses that were profitable and safe.

Hopefully the international media won’t get hold of this, someone said. I thought events in Barbados where six people were killed in the process of a robbery in Bridgetown were likely to distract attention away from Kingston, where nobody has been killed after all. The farce continued to unfurl; after a tense standoff police orchestrated an invasion of the building only to find the armed men long gone by the time they broke in. Said @DLee876: Welcome to #Jamaica, where police surround a building and yet ALL the criminals inside escape. hahahahah #sadbutfunny.

So the gunmen freed themselves under the guise of being hostages? asked @cucumberjuice.

That was when @drewonline memorably declared: Sometimes i believe we are all hostages inna patty shop (that has a beach, a soundtrack and people who run really fast) #ironymuch

Interestingly it was only a few days ago that there was a situation at another patty shop, Sugar & Spice, in Liguanea. I don’t think it even made the local news because i never did hear the details of it tho’ my twitter feed showed photos of police cars blocking one of the Liguanea plazas and there were rumours of bullets being fired. It is said that a woman who had gone to the bank next door before deciding on a patty for lunch was robbed of J$800,000. But honestly who knows for sure? In the information age crucial information is frequently withheld in Jamaica; its like wading through a perpetual smog.

The hashtag in front of words means that the tweet in question will be filed under those terms in the global twitter feed. For example #nowwatching is usually appended to tweets announcing what movie, TV show or video the person is watching at the time. #sadbutfunny had one quite poignant tweet: hard enough being the slow kid but needing a reminder for drivers not to run you over is just #sadbutfunny http://twitpic.com/2lf035. Another example, this one from Sept 1 @rpugh Discovery Channel gunman James Jay Lee called 4 TV shows promoting war be removed. Holding hostages at gunpoint. #ironymuch

Alas it’s true, we’re all hostages in a patty shop. There’s no escaping it. Jamaica 2010. #ironymuch

The Dudus Chronicles by Hubert Neal, Jr.

The dudus chronicles shows a foreigner’s perspective on an incident that threatens to be a nine-day wonder and quickly forgotten by Jamaicans. The show chronicles such moments from the soldiers moving into Tivoli Gardens to Dudus allegedly peeing himself.

The Dudus Chronicles exhibition

The Dudus Chronicles is a body of work I’ve had the opportunity to watch  as it took root and developed in front of my eyes. The first few artworks were created at Roktowa in downtown Kingston around the corner from Tivoli Gardens in the days following the breaching of Tivoli. As i wrote at the time:

The Hunt for Dudus has inspired Belizean artist Hubert Neal Jr., who arrived in the island on May 20, just before ‘Operation Take Dudus Alive’ unfurled. Neal, an artist in residence at Roktowa on Pechon Street around the corner from Coronation Market and Tivoli Gardens found himself the recipient of an unlikely studio visit a few days ago when three groups of soldiers decided to patrol the old Red Stripe Brewery where he works along with the Haitian artists who are part of the ‘Trembling Heart’ project.

The soldiers allowed themselves to be detained by Neal’s painting in progress, titled–what else–The Hunt for Dudus. They questioned him closely about his representation of the storming of Tivoli, disapproving of the low number of soldiers depicted (see photos above and below).

When unforeseen circumstances forced Hubert to flee uptown, he continued producing the body of work at my place; finally the public gets to view the paintings at Grosvenor Galleries this weekend.

The video below shows Hubert Neal Jr strolling through downtown Kingston on a busy Saturday morning; the footage was taken with a flip video by Varun Baker.

ONGR (On the Ground News Reports) posted the information about Hubert’s show on Facebook generating an amusing string of comments. See below:
On the Ground News Reports: Confirmed: A Belizean artist, Hubert Neal Jr, has launched an art exhibition entitled “The Dudus Chronicles” showing his artistic perspective on the incursion into Tivoli Gardens leading up to the capture of Christopher Coke. It will be held at Grosvenor Gallery, Kingston on August 21 at 7pm.

C T got to go see this

Venice but a wha dis?

TriAnna cacafaut

Sean sweetheart, you took the words right out of my mouth

Christina a wonder if dudus copyright/trademark him name?

Thelma Talking about thinking outside the box!

Bicknell lol… i wanna see this

Leon Hehehe

Lori a wha this father……. hehehehe

Dominic c…is a man weh noe fi mek money dat! all d while a d foreigners dem come inna we country n mek money…dem smarter dan we!

Natasha he needs to create a Facebook invite!! I will def be going….think it’s safe? DWL!!

Javaughn yow trust me dudus is a legend

Shauna When this transpired, I said to myself historians and artists will have a field day and so said so done.

Ingrid poor Dudus all when him lock up inna prison people still a use him fi money.

Tanya I may just go check this out.

Lisa OTGNR mussy get a smalls fi put up post bout Dudus cause every week wi get a dose a Dudus medicine! Everyday a Dudus Dudus mi tiad now man!

Annie: Funny how everyone assumes this is an attempt to make money rather than an artist’s response, would you say the same if someone wrote a story about all this? It’s easier to sell paintings of flowers and pleasant scenery by the way than something really relevant only to a relatively small group of people, ie, Jamaicans…

Natalie @ Annie – I was trying to figure out what to say in response to those comments. Do I give a mini-lecture on the role of art in societies, that has nothing to do with painting pretty pictures; do I say that not everything has a dollar valu…e nor does everyone use their skills purely and onlyfor the sake of making money; or do I say, why don’t you just stop and think for a second: is it possible that there is more to say about and more ways to talk about Dudus as a phenomenon than what has been written and spoken so far? And if so, shouldn’t your attitude be one of curiosity instead of being dismissive? So, I decided not to respond.

Annie LOL Nat it’s baffling isn’t it, if not depressing, so all the DJs who’ve sung about Dudus only doing it for the money too?

Desperately Seeking Dudus…Letters from the Dead

“They seek him here,
they seek him there,
those Frenchies seek him everywhere.
Is he in heaven or is he in hell?
That damned elusive Pimpernel.”

Dudus is far from being the Scarlet Pimpernel but the Jamaican armed forces are certainly busy seeking the mild-mannered Christopher Coke in every nook and cranny of the country. Even the Mayor of Kingston’s house wasn’t spared in the security forces’ hunt for Jamaica’s Pimpernel.

It now appears the armed forces executed a well-planned and stealthy assault on Dudus’s citadel, Tivoli Gardens, on May 23rd. The scenario didn’t play out quite as feared back in March when Police expressed concern that the country’s 268 gangs might act in concert to create incidents throughout the country to distract lawmen in the event of an offensive on Tivoli.

National Security Minister Dwight Nelson went on record then saying that “Government was focusing on preparing strong anti-gang legislation that would target, infiltrate and dismantle criminal gangs.

“The legislation, Nelson said, would also identify and arrest members of criminal gangs; ensure long sentences for gang members; conduct a thorough historical and proactive investigation into the activities of gang members; and develop intelligence as to each member’s association with and participation in gangs.”

With the speed at which Dons and gang members have been turning themselves in, one fervently hopes that the said legislation is in place to put them away for a long time. Meanwhile the security forces must be congratulated for keeping deaths down to under a hundred although the various charges of wrongful detention, wounding and killings by the armed forces must also be fully investigated with those responsible for the wanton taking of life duly punished. The New York Times had an article today about extrajudicial killings by Jamaican police, something that’s a problem even when there’s no state of emergency.

Life has more or less returned to normal on the rock except for those who lost family members in the clash and for those who remain on the run. The tragedy is that the parts of the city where gangsters unleashed violence are the same areas which have long been the killing fields of Kingston.

At the Caribbean Studies’ Association’s 35th annual conference in Barbados, May 24-28, eerily titled “The Everyday Occurrence of Violence in the Cultural Life of the Caribbean,” many of us recalled the previous CSA conference in Kingston last June which included a commemorative walk for victims of violence organized by Sistren and the Peace Management Initiative. The walk started outside the Hannah Town Police Station (the first building to be burnt down by the gunmen protesting Dudus’s arrest last week) and proceeded along Hannah Street, Slipe Pen Road, past the Kingston Public Hospital culminating in a ceremony at the Monument to Children killed in Violence outside the KSAC offices on Church Street.





As the pictures above from the Letters from the Dead walk show, it was mainly women who marched, each one holding an image of a slain family member. An article in Guyana’s Stabroek News documented the process preceding the performance as recorded by Honor Ford-Smith and Alissa Trotz:

Weeks before the march took place, workshops with women from different communities explored the ways in which people remember and forget urban violence. Women discussed the different circumstances that result in the shooting and death of diverse victims and the enormous pain and waste that it has caused. For several, forgetting was an attempt to cope with the pain of loss, but it was also to avoid the desire for revenge that was triggered by remembering, raising the important question of how to link memory with reconciliation as one constructive response to violence. Participants found it difficult to share their stories publicly and in a collective setting. One woman who had lost all of her children to violence spoke of her complete isolation, of shutting herself in her house, of leaving her yard and being completely disoriented on a street that she had inhabited for years. Her story is deeply symbolic of how the violence both produces and continues to be produced by alienation from neighbourhood and community, spaces that we so often associate with nurturing and bonds of solidarity.

The performance on June 3 vividly dramatized elements of the workshops. Women, men and children gathered in the yard outside a church in Hannah Town. Dressed primarily in black, heads tied with red cloth, each person bore witness to the devastating effects of violence on families and communities. During the workshops, participants had selected images of those they had lost. As we took to the streets that afternoon, we were surrounded by faces of the dead mounted on placards, pinned to shirts, hung on a cord around the neck. On a poster held up by one elderly woman, an infant lost to gun violence stared out solemnly at those gathered in the churchyard.

As the procession began its trek through downtown Kingston, participants formed a long line, bearing 35 yards of red cloth that rippled like water, symbolizing the blood of the thousands killed in community wars over the last decades. Two young women dressed in white – cultural workers from Toronto – performed the part of ghosts or spirits, urging the marchers on to the final destination. Women led the marchers in church hymns punctuated by clapping. Some bore a coffin that had been made locally – it is tragic how many funeral parlours one can find in inner city Kingston – and that linked urban wars in Canada to those in Kingston through the use of repeating images of the black youth murdered in Toronto. Onlookers – asking questions or greeting familiar faces – were urged to join the march. Scholars who are members of the Caribbean Studies Association from around the world and who were holding their annual conference in Kingston, also joined the walk which was part of the performance programme of the conference.

The ‘walk’ culminated outside the office of the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation, at the site of the Secret Garden and Monument to the Children, dedicated in late 2008 to remember those killed under violent and tragic circumstances since 2000. The bronze sculpture depicts the face of a weeping child, with names of the dead inscribed around its perimeter; almost three sides of the monument had been filled with hundreds of names, children ranging in age from a few months to 17 years. As a young woman sang a tribute to the dead children, the red cloth was laid down on the pavement and placards and mementos laid along its length. Before a large gathering that had collected on the street, Sistren member Afolashade explained the purpose of the moving commemoration, and invited workshop participants to the microphones to share the letters they had written to their dead and to ‘post’ them in a specially designed letterbox. Audience members were also asked to read a few letters aloud. Others read fictional responses from victims of violence; in one particularly telling letter, a young man imagined his dead friend urging him not to link memory to retribution because that would only continue the cycle of violence. Music by reggae musicians including Ibo Cooper – from Third World – and others accompanied the readings. After the last letter was read, witnesses were invited to walk around the cloth. People pointed out faces they knew. A woman exclaimed in shock when she realized that a male friend of hers was among the dead. There was silence as people circled the monument to read the names of children. One woman who had been leading us in song along the march collapsed on the sidewalk in grief, surrounded by other women trying to comfort her.

The question is what sort of ritual will we need to hold now for the inhabitants of Tivoli Gardens and others who were victims of Operation Desperately Seeking Dudus?