Saturday, November 26, 2016


by Karen 

I grew up in Jamaica.  I am Jamaican through and through and I love my country dearly, but there was a point when I was a child when I hated living in Jamaica.  I also feared what my country had become, most of which was due to what I learned from listening to my parents and seeing for myself what I had to go through. 

In the 1970s I lived in West Kingston.  I went to the local primary school and the ruling party at the time was the PNP. Michael Manley who was then the Prime Minister in Jamaica adopted the maxim of Democratic Socialism.  It wasn't quite capitalism and it wasn't full on communism.  His friends during this time were Russia and Cuba and there was a steady stream of both in Jamaica. 

They ostensibly (mostly the Cubans) came to build schools (Jose Marti still stands as well as GC Foster College) and they sent their doctors, teachers and nurses to care for us in our schools and hospitals in Jamaica.  Most of our teachers, doctors and nurses had left Jamaica and the talk at that time was the last person leaving Jamaica, please turn off the lights. 

Most of the moneyed class in Jamaica left, and with them leaving, most of the money in Jamaica.  Companies locked their doors and things as we knew it in Jamaica were drawing to a halt. 

The media did a good job of telling the story from the views of the opposition. There were rumours that those of us who had houses (and my dad had just bought a house in Portmore) would have to share our houses.  Food shortages were now a regular thing and it was not unusual for us to have as our Sunday dinner dumplings and banana rather than the traditional rice and peas.  Rice, flour, sugar, condensed milk and many other basic food items were scarce.  As I got older I understood that it was because of our country's relationship with Cuba and that the USA (instigated by the CIA) were responsible for the food shortages. 

In 1980 when the USA backed JLP came to power, food shortages became a thing of the past and we could finally get American apples once again (not that we ever needed it). 

As I got older and became a bit more enlightened, I started to read more about that time.  I found out that Fidel Castro, along with Michael Manley was instrumental in the tearing down of apartheid in South Africa.  I learned about the freedom fighters in Angola.  I listened to the songs of Bob Marley, especially WAR which spoke about the tribulations of peoples in Africa and I became more conscious. 

I have always been on the fence when it came to Cuba.  On the one hand I believe in free and fair elections and for democratic rule.  I don't like authoritarian figures (hence my dislike of the GOP and Donald Trump).  However, one of the things that Cuba has done under Fidel Castro is to be a voice for the voiceless (controversial I know).  He spearheaded the movement that has now led to a free Southern Africa.  Cuba under Fidel Castro ensured that a young girl like me in Jamaica could have a nutritious lunch every day at school. 

It has been said that most of the people who left Jamaica in the 70s and took their money with them flew to the Cayman Islands and established businesses here.  They helped to set up the offshore industry which has made Cayman profitable.  Meanwhile, Jamaica suffered. 

It is interesting that most of the Cubans who left Cuba when Castro took power are themselves the rich elite who set up businesses in America and made it their life's work to oppose that regime.  I am sure that with the election of Trump and the death of Castro they are probably dancing in the streets. 

Yes, Castro was controversial.  Yes, he was a dictator, but at the end of the day, one cannot deny that in his mind and heart he had his fellow man's interest at heart. 

May he rest in peace. 

Thursday, November 10, 2016


by Karen

I am not an American.  I don’t live in the US.  I do however have lots of friends and family who live and work in the US.  Some legally.  Some not so much.  All of them have contributed in their own way to the US and what it has become.  They work hard.  They provide for their families, and for those of them who have the ability to vote, they have done so.

To say that I am shocked and appalled at the man that Americans think was fit to lead them has proven to not just me, but to many others, that Americans are their own worst enemy.

Every day I watch the news and during this past election cycle, I could not for the life of me figure out why it was that the news media kept harping on the non event of Hillary Clinton’s emails and not paying attention to what was happening elsewhere. Almost every day, whether she was up or down in the polls, the only thing that I heard about were her emails.  It got to the point that I thought to myself, is the media holding Mrs. Clinton to a higher standard than her opponent? The answer to that seemed to be yes.

When people are looking for an elected leader, I would have thought that they would have wanted someone with some amount of leadership capabilities, but apparently, in America, the criteria is different.  The fact that Americans went to the polls and thought to themselves that someone who has spent her life working for families and young children was not fit and/or qualified to be President said it all.  They instead chose to elect someone who lies, treats women like dirt, does not pay taxes and has no policy to speak of, except to build a wall.

I, like many others who do not reside in the US, could not fathom that Donald Trump, a man who speaks gibberish and who can’t seem to put 2 thoughts together, could actually become President.  During this past year, I have seen and heard the following from Mr. Trump:-

·         Grab them by the pussy
·         Mocking a reporter who is disabled
·         Calls for the banning of an entire religious people (Muslims)
·         Insulting the family who sent their son to die in combat for their country
·         Told a whole host of people from one country that they were rapists and murderers
·         Insulted the current President of the United States by telling him that he was not an American
·         Insulted black people who, because they are athletes, or entertainers, he did not consider them qualified to be surrogates and to have a voice
·         Has on his team a man who has been accused of corruption
·         Has himself been accused of sexual assault
·         Has actually admitted to sexually assaulting woman
·         Has criticized the media and has promised to amend the First Amendment so that newspapers and other media entities can be sued for libel

This is the man who Americans have elected to their highest office.

What gets me when I looked at the exit poll numbers were the large amounts of white women (57%) who decided that a man who will be going on trial for fraud (Trump University), and who previously had a trial fixed for rape, was fit to be President.  At what point in the voting booth did these women decide that it would be a good idea to elect this man to the nation’s highest office?

The media failed the people of America and the world.  Journalists who have been tasked with providing information to people became more interested in ratings.  Rather than realise that they had the Anti-Christ in their midst, they chose to accept the Mark of the Beast and follow along. 

Donald Trump is the President Elect of the United States. 

Barrack Hussein Obama managed to be President for 8 years.  No scandal.  No illicit affairs.  No one threatening to sue him.  Despite having a Congress and Senate that has refused to work with him he passed legislation that provided health care for millions of Americans.  That will soon be a thing of the past.  He provided tax incentives to many people who could not afford it.  That will soon come to an end.  He, working almost by himself, has tried to reform Criminal Justice so that the drugs laws which affect minorities could be lessened.  That too will now be a thing of the past.  I saw recently where the stock price of the largest prison in America has gone up with the election of Trump.  I wonder why that is.  

Already, we are seeing the signs of Trumpism with students being mocked and abused for their heritage.  We have Muslims who are running scared.  There are now protests in the streets of America against this man. 

For the first time in its history, America is on the brink of what could possibly be another civil war.  This time, I can only hope that it will make America continue to be great.  

Finally, as a woman of colour, I could not help but feel the pain of my fellow tennis lovers who are affected by the outcome of this election.  To you, I say keep the faith.  Going forward make sure you go out there and knock on doors.  Offer a ride to folks who don't have transportation to go to the polls.  Insist on making people be aware of what is at stake.  Many is the time we are being told that politics does not belong in polite conversation.  That is wrong.  Politics affect everyone's lives.   I say this because I have a story to share. 

My niece who migrated to the US about 10 years ago, worked as a door knocker for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012.  She regularly went out and about signing up people and offering to drive people to the polls.  This was before she could even vote.   This year, she became an American citizen and voted for the first time.  She was horrified that so many of her colleagues, many of whom are women of colour as well as white women did not seem to be aware of the issues.  She was disappointed that so many women felt the need to disparage the failings of Mrs. Clinton and raise up the shortcomings of Mr. Trump. 

As women we have always been the nurturers.  We have always held ourselves to a higher standard.  When Melania Trump said that she had 2 young boys in her house, she was telling no lies.  She was telling all of America that if you vote for my husband, you are voting for a child.  She told us and no one listened.  I think the women who voted for Trump are similar to those women that you see who are in abusive relationships.  We always feel as if we can change the man.  This time, your decision has put a man in power who has no business being there.  I hope you are happy. 

To my LGBTQ friends out in tennis land, my heart and my prayers go out to you.  To my African American and Latino friends, you are not alone and to Muslim friends صلاتي معكم 

صلاتي معكم