Buju: Voice of Jamaica?

The lighter side of the Buju Banton saga

Clovis, Jamaica Observer

*Please note that God as portrayed by Clovis in the cartoon above does not appear to be black. #justsaying

Well, Tropical Storm Nicole tittupped across the length and breadth of Jamaica like a woman scorned, ripping the country’s attention away from it’s favourite Rasta to matters of life and death. But not before a couple of hilarious Buju-inspired exchanges on Twitter that ranged from the sublimely funny to the ridiculous. The latter first. I got into a lengthy exchange with Queen Sheba1302 who was sending out anguished tweets from Germany asking why there was a worldwide ‘media blackout’ on Buju. Perhaps the rest of the world had more urgent matters to attend to i suggested? To which i got this response:

  1. FREE BUJU Banton queensheba1302
    No, only jamaican newspaper report about Buju, there is a worldwide mediablackout, and i dont know why….
  2. FREE BUJU Banton queensheba1302
    yes, there is a media blackout worldwide, why?? Do u know why only local newspaper report about Buju Banton?
    12:30 PM Sep 27th via web in reply to JamaicaGleaner.

Well, it’s a pressing matter here in Jamaica where Buju comes from i said, so naturally he would receive coverage here, the rest of the world however… No, no, insisted Queen Sheba, he’s an international celebrity, why they even devoted so much time to the likes of Dudus, and Buju is much bigger, much bigger.

But 73 people died in the process of extraditing Dudus, that’s why he was awarded so much international coverage, I tried to suggest, but the Queen wouldn’t be persuaded. The Jamaican media doesn’t cover Bollywood i said, but i can assure you it’s not because of a ‘media blackout’, its just lack of interest, after which i gave up because it was clear that nothing would appease Queen Sheba. I urged her to organize a worldwide Twitter campaign on Buju’s behalf and left it at that.

Of course the other fallout from the Buju saga is a certain amount of nervous paranoia expressed in jokes about the situation (A key piece of evidence produced against the singer was a conversation he had had with the passenger seated next to him on a flight from Madrid to Miami in which he bragged about his coke deals). Peter Dean Rickards, headed to the Trinidad & Tobago Film Festival, vouchsafed on Twitter that he was keeping his lips zipped on his flight to Trinidad and Tobago; another tweep @Grindacologist found himself trapped on a bus next to a garrulous Israeli. The following flock of tweets he issued that morning had us convulsed with laughter:

  1. Grindacologist Grindacologist
    Bredda a chat aff mi ears bout all di inventions that israelis did… Thu Sep 30 07:53:14 2010
  2. Grindacologist Grindacologist
    …wtf do I care…u see me bragging bout how blacks invented the hot comb & s curls kit… Thu Sep 30 07:54:31 2010
  3. Grindacologist Grindacologist
    …brown man invented mathematics enuh… Thu Sep 30 07:56:21 2010
  4. Grindacologist Grindacologist
    Wonda if dah bredda yah a Feds? Why him ah ask mi bout Jolly Roger’s Cookbook… Thu Sep 30 08:17:03 2010
  5. Grindacologist Grindacologist
    Dem a try get mi out like Buju… Thu Sep 30 08:17:30 2010
  6. Grindacologist Grindacologist
    Nooo…him a talk bout El Al airlines now…gad help me… Thu Sep 30 08:18:28 2010
  7. Grindacologist Grindacologist
    Mek mi jus gwaan smile and nad mi head… Thu Sep 30 08:24:05 2010
  8. Grindacologist Grindacologist
    RT @djflashTRINITY: @Grindacologist an him a jew it a setup grinda, dont tell him anything <— bredda a mossad enuh…him a try draw mi out Thu Sep 30 08:23:07 2010

Meanwhile the US courts seem determined to keep the Voice of Jamaica captive even though the jury was split down the middle (like Barbican Road) and couldn’t deliver a verdict. A new trial is slated for December. Sigh. It doesn’t look good for Jamaica’s beloved Rasta. He seems to have bad kismat. Hope he lives to rule his destiny once again.

Inclement Times: Tropical Storm Nicole

Tropical Storm Nicole ravages Jamaica

Well, the trials and tribulations of Buju Banton have abruptly been ejected from the Jamaican imagination by a raging storm which brazenly breezed its way across the island when no one was looking. While we were all on Buju watch Tropical Storm Nicole crept up on us in the guise of a tropical depression, dumping gallons of rain accompanied by some of the scariest thunder and lightning i’ve ever heard. As @MsTrendsettas exclaimed: Bruce’s lying has spread! The met office is now lying to us. This is a hurricane, dem cant trick me!

Up to 14 lives are believed to have been lost, which should give you some idea of the magnitude of the disaster. Hurricane Gilbert, back in 1988, the worst hurricane to hit us in recent times, only claimed 18 victims in total. So many roads and bridges have collapsed all over the country leaving large numbers of people stranded, it makes the vicissitudes of India’s much maligned Commonwealth Village look like a joke. These roads were clearly never built to last though millions of dollars were allegedly spent constructing them.

Damaged Harbour View Bridge, Jamaica

My heart goes out to the family in Liguanea whose house was washed into the gully while they slept. A gully which swiftly bore them away; only one body has been found. Rescue crews didn’t dare search for them because of the electricity poles that had also fallen into the gully with live wires gushing lethal voltage into the raging water. Two adults and five children, missing, presumed dead.

Meanwhile newscasters on radio and TV alike abused the term ‘inclement’ as if there was no other phrase available to describe the weather. Every single school and place of business whose closure was announced blamed the ‘inclement weather’ for doing so. The pompous phrase was bandied about 30 or 40 times leading @HarleeQuinn to tweet: Newscasters; here are some synonyms for “inclement”: foul, harsh, intemperate, rigorous, rough, severe, stormy, tempestuous, violent.

Not to mention the simple ‘bad’ or the stark ‘hostile’, either of which would have been adequate. But no, the weather is ‘inclement’. Such a pompous relic of Victorian English, i bet its rarely used in contemporary Britain, but like a fly in amber remains trapped for eternity in its supposedly anticolonial former colonies.

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