Thursday, June 21, 2012

youth revolution starts here!

Youth violence has moved to a different level here in Grenada as news from last week still confuses and angers many of us; news involving youth gangs, cutlasses, and innocent people wounded. Cutlasses used in reaction to conflict are common in Grenada however innocent people getting chopped because they are from the same community as the youths involved in the violence is not common. News from the ground says amongst those caught in the middle of the violence were a 13 year old girl and a 70 year old woman. There were no deaths however there were injured and hospitalized victims.

Theo’s initial reaction to the news ‘I glad I don’t have a boy child!” And my reaction to his reaction was if Theo had a son he most likely would not fall prey to the violence all around him because first and foremost he would have Theo as his father, a gentle, present, affirming, accepting, peaceful and emotionally conscious man and role-modal. Theo’s son would have certain privileges bestowed on him from birth such as an economically secure family; Canadian citizenship giving him the privilege of travel, of free health care, of educational opportunities and resources that many of his Village friends do not have; parents that share similar parenting styles which does not include emotional, physical, or psychological abuse; more attention at school due to his lighter skin colour and/or because of the limitless access of books and other learning materials he would be exposed to; and finally if he was born with a physical, behavioural, emotional or learning disability he would have access to opportunities to help him deal with this. Chances are Theo’s imaginary son would make healthy and positive choices as a result of being born into a safe, healthy, and positive environment.

What is my point? Context. When violence occurs many of us don’t have time for context. We want to label, judge, stereotype, blame, create easy answers to very complicated issues. This is understandable in the wake of death, injury, and trauma. Fear and anger are common reactions to violence which further perpetuates a cycle of blame and judgement. How do we, as a global society, as individuals, communities, families, and organizations move to a deeper analyses of conflict, violence, and youth; an analysis that will break this cycle of blame and judgement and help us find non-violent solutions and strategies to address the root causes of violence filling up many of our youths lives and communities?


  1. The one thing I think you leave out in talking about what Theo has to offer as a father is the strength to make healthy choices. While the son could make choices, he would do so on the back of Theo's own. While many of the people in the village do not have all the advantages of your family (ie. Canadian citizenship), many have access to some of those advantages, and they choose whether or not to bring those into their lives permanently. As a simple example, your friends are witness to a relationship that does not involve violence. That experience plants the seed that gives them a chance to realise the domestic violence is a choice - one Theo has chosen not to make.

    While context is a huge factor, so is courage - the courage, as Theo has to choose a different, healthy life, and to keeping making that choice day after day.

  2. thank you so much fiona!!!! appreciate your words of wisdom. so so true courage is such an essential ingrediant. my next blog i would like to highlight the success stories of the youths that do make it out of the violence and poverty despite the context and create a new context. i think it is important for us to highlight these stories and to explore where that courage came from to make alternative healthier choices. i beleive we are all born inherently good/courageious/worthy however so many factors in our lives that bury these innate qualities. and so what are the stories that reclaim this and thus enable people to make those choices. i do beleive people born in a context where there are more priveleges and more choices and opportunities have an advantage and perhaps a responsibility... on sunday myself and two of the village youth leaders will be on popular local radio program talking about youth successes in the village and how positive creative and safe spaces have helped them to find their courage, their self confidence to begin exploring and making healthier choices!! thanks again. one love maureen