We see on the news each day | Human lives are blown away | Mothers and fathers crying | Bearing their dead and dying | ‘How many more?’, ah hear dem say | Death is de highest price | Death is de total sacrifice | Brothers rather commit suicide | Than continue with apartheid | Ah does beg meh Faddah each day…tell me, Faddah tell me how many more must die!
And so began the calypso by The Mighty Duke in 1985. Wow! 36 years ago, in song, Calypso Duke a renowned bard of the indigenous art form of Trinidad and Tobago asked, ‘How many more must die!’ in consternation at the death toll in South Africa during the oppressive system of Apartheid.
Well, friends, fast forward to Trinidad and Tobago 2021 and the question is still relevant. This time, though, the question is not in reaction to the latest development in an unfair and inhuman political or economic system. It is not a resurgence of the BLM cry. It is not even in response to the latest COVID-19 statistic. No! My friends, this is the cry that has now become relevant in Trinidad and Tobago, again, because another young woman has been killed.
On 04 February 2021, we learnt of the heinous murder of young Andrea Bharat who had gone missing. Her decomposing body was found after about a week’s search.
I shrug and comment that maybe it was time again for the country to find itself back in that same gut-wrenching place: two months ago on 06 December, the three national dailies featured headlines bemoaning the uncontrollable massacre of our women-folk. The Sunday Guardian’s front page cried: ‘Women, girls in Danger’; the Sunday Express chimed in ‘Monsters Among Us’ and the Trinidad & Tobago Newsday echoed ‘Evil Among Us’.
I want to echo the Newsday – there IS evil among us. Last year, 47 females ranging in age from 2 to 69 were murdered in domestic disputes, etc. The irony is that this happened in a year when we were busy promoting the importance of the prevailing protocols to abate the spread of COVID-19 and the potential death toll.
Edmund Burke is quoted as saying: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” The photo at the top of this article features a public hanging. Well, much evil is triumphing for we are all pretty much just watching on while women and girls are executed before us all.
Perhaps, it is the punishment that accounts for the different approaches to the ‘death-threats’. If, as a country, we do not control the spread of COVID-19, what is the cost to us as a nation? Economic and other sanctions, global bad press, pressure from the local business community because opportunities to make a dollar are being threatened. If one female is killed, what consequence is there? Who will know? How long might they pay attention? Friends, I tell you, our own mouths will condemn us and our own lips will testify against us.
So, I want to join The Mighty Duke in asking the question, ‘How many more must die?’ How many more before we realise this has got to stop?
I add my voice to the public outcry.
I am female; I have two daughters. What do we do? Stay inside and hide? I’m sorry…COVID-19 has done enough of keeping me inside. I won’t have another reason to stay inside.
So, I ask, ‘How many more must die before the women here can feel free?