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ANOTHER LOOK AT VIOLENCE By Rae Samuel

posted 8 Dec 2016, 10:27 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 8 Dec 2016, 10:31 ]
So here we go again: school violence in State run schools is greater than in denominational schools. Aren't there more State run, in fact State run-down schools, from La Fillette to Reform to Cap-de-Ville?

These are the latest editions; latest to make the news. Some schools are quietly decaying in terms of school plant, educational services, staffing and curriculum delivery. Let me hasten to point out that the worst case of school violence on record occurred at the International School in Westmoorings about a decade ago. A disgruntled student drove an X5 up to the gate, shot a guard and went into the building. It ended tragically because he himself was shot dead by police. No one talks about the status of that school, its religious suasion/s, state support/funding.

What about the case of the Principal who flushed a student's head in a toilet in a prestigious private primary school years ago? Can one imagine greater psychological violence not to mention the risk of drowning? Can anyone get more depraved than that? The school is still open and as far as is known the matter never made it to court. And the Presbyterian teacher who messed up the curve and wanted to go shoot parents of children with non-traditional gender orientation. Yep, messed up the curve! Denominational staff are not supposed to behave like that Ms. Vigilante.

Let us look at how we define violence? There is the personal which results in injury, death displacement of the individual and /or the destruction of property. What of the institutionalised violence of the State when parents and children have to plead for a school to be refurbished, repaired or even built for years? What about the psychological damage and denial of a United Nations sanctioned right?

How do we define eviction of farmers from land and destruction of crops? What do we call denial of pension rights to workers years after retirement? Arbitrary denial of a sports person’s right to earn a living because of comments that did not find favour? What about when law enforcement destroys property wantonly in search of ‘evidence’? When commuters have to leave at 6.00 a.m. to be on time for an 8 a.m. appointment just a few kilometres away?

What about denial of health care directly through neglect and poor service at tax supported institution or indirectly through the two tier policy of private/public health systems. Most working people and also those who imagine that they are 'middle class' can barely, if at all, afford to pay. Is that not economic violence which, in this case, can lead to death?

It is pervasive. The' 'judicial system' sometimes called the 'justice system'...let us be clear here: those are two different discussions. The judicial system refers to the process/es of arrest, detention, trial and sentencing. The justice system assumes that there is parity and transparency in its operation. Evidence of that is surely lacking in Trinidad and Tobago where someone is incarcerated for years awaiting trial. Is that not a supreme form of violence? Taking away one's liberty, means of earning a livelihood and the bonds of kinship, community and family pending arraignment? Isn't detaining someone indefinitely against that person's will kidnapping? Is that not torture?

So it cannot be honestly said that the incident shown on Facebook of a man openly hitting another with an iron bar while his associate holds the victim, is shocking: reprehensible, callous, criminal but not shocking. Maybe the assailants reasoned that people are shot and killed so often and no arrests are made…well…

The school is a microcosm of society. Attitudes displayed there are reflections of behaviours in the wider society. Absent some visible f
o
rm of regulation and restraint outside the walls of the school there will be less inside. Arrogance, power displays and bullying are the or
Image result for frantz fanon cognitive dissonance
der of the day. Ask a high ranking official of a leading political organisation who formally announces the consequence of a tied bye-election, usurping the role of the Elections and Boundaries Commission. Even Donald Trump is not so arrogant. What about a political leader who steupsed at those who voted with their feet on bye-election day, then goes off to do a "Dance Papi Dance'' in Venezuela, bringing back an agreement as murky as an off shore oil spill. 

Frantz Fanon was a leading theoretician of the anti-colonial movements and national liberation movements in the '50's/60's'. He was a revolutionary psychiatrist who dealt with the break of social order when people are faced with intolerable pressures which they imagine are eternal. How they despair and turn inward. 
His analysis is worth serious study at this time of crisis in T&T
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