Thursday, February 4, 2010
gut-deep sense of remorse. What a loss to Jamaica, the Caribbean and the world!
For let us admit it at the outset, this was no mere man. Words are not now going to be adequate to capture the essential Rex, a man said to choreograph ideas in the manner he creates symphony of movement.
That he died in the United States capital, the District of Columbia, is, perhaps, not by accident, under the same sky, breathing the same air as President Barack Obama, a man in the image that Rex articulated of the Black race and whose elevation to the most powerful office in the world made of Washington the undisputed capital of the globe. For Rex was a citizen of the world.
How will men speak the name Ralston 'Rex' Nettleford? How will we who are left to mourn his departure define his legacy?
We have always marvelled at the extraordinary mental dexterity of Rex Nettleford, that he could pack a hundred lifetimes into one brief 76 years on planet Earth. Here truly was a man who did not belong to himself, but gave of his every molecule to the betterment of his human family, especially Jamaicans.
Rex Nettleford hardly knew how to say no, if there was a clear opportunity to enlighten and educate, engage and endear, moreso with ordinary Jamaicans. Although he used many avenues of expression, academia, culture and the art through dance and movement, the written and the spoken word, Mr Nettleford was above all a teacher. In the classroom of the University of the West Indies, he was second to none, refusing to relinquish that role even when he became Vice Chancellor in 1997.
Jamaicans will remember him for his articulation of their craving to be 'smady', or 'smaddification' -- to be accepted as somebody with worth and character and not mere hewers of wood and carriers of water in the grand scheme of things.
If even on a lighter note, it was he who cautioned a generation of Jamaicans trying recklessly to break out of old moulds and climb the social ladder, that "a bhutu in a Benz is still a bhutu".
At times like this, a country needs to honour its great sons. We believe it will be a challenge to find additional fitting tribute to Rex Nettleford who has been so honoured and decorated locally, regionally and internationally.
In the international arena, he has received at least 14 honorary degrees from universities, including the University of Toronto and the University of Oxford. The 'Professor' has served in various leadership capacities on numerous regional and international bodies including his beloved Caribbean Community (Caricom), the West Indian Commission, UNESCO, the International Labour Organisation and the Organisation of American States. He is also the recipient of the Zora Neale Hurston-Paul Robeson Award for Outstanding Scholarly Achievement from the National Council for Black Studies, USA.
In 2008, he received the region's highest honour, the Order of the Caribbean Community, and in Jamaica, the nation's third highest honour, the Order of Merit (OM) in 1975.
Our humble suggestion to the Government is that a broad committee representing the major interests he served be quickly assembled to consider the most fitting tribute that a grateful people can pay.
In any event, we already know, that the greatest monument to Mr Ralston 'Rex' Nettleford is indeed, the Jamaican nation.
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Gay Men and Lesbians: How do they come together for the cause of equality? The ladies welcome actor and comedian Jason Stuart to the couch to share the boys' side of things and the girls end up rolling with laughter.
This week’s question: How do you stay away from the "bad girls"?
This instructional video was created to destigmatize and demonstrate the proper use of a female condom (FC1 & II) between men. Created for a program in Burkina Faso, this video is presented in English here.
This video is also available in Moree (a primary language in Burkina Faso), Dioula and French. For more information, please visit http://www.thecondomproject.org
Click here to check it out.
This is certainly an option to diversify your safe sex practices and/or for men who just don't love male condoms - the top can feel less restricted and the condom can be inserted some time before sex. People can and should be more liberal with the lube inside the female condom because it’s less prone to slipping off or slipping into the anus.
Special note - there is a new female condom on the market, the FC2. This latest generation of the female condom is nearly identical to the original female condom, but includes some significant improvements. The FC2 is seamless, softer, quieter, thinner, and stronger that the first generation. It is also made out of a synthetic latex called nitrile that is safe for folks who have latex allergies.
The video above provides instruction on the FC1, but the insertion practices for the FC2 would be the same. Neither version of the female condom has been tested for anal sex - but there are many health institutions that provide guidance for this behavior. It's really up to you if you want to try it and finding what way is most comfortable for you.
More info on the FC2 -
Approved by the Food and Drug Administration in early 2009 and now available for purchase in the U.S., the FC2 is the latest generation of the only woman-initiated HIV, STI, and pregnancy prevention tool currently on the market. New and improved, the FC2 is seamless, softer, and quieter than the original female condom. The FC2 is composed of a synthetic latex known as nitrile that is equally protective at reducing a person’s risk of HIV and STI infection as the FC1, and is safe for use by people with latex allergies.
Thanks to IRMA for this one.
WHILE oral sex is fast becoming a highlight of many couples' intimate lives, some are unaware that it can expose them to as much sexually transmitted infections (STIs), as with unprotected sexual intercourse.
Oral sex is the act of sexual intimacy from mouth to penis (fellatio), mouth to vagina (cunnilingus) or mouth to anus.
Gynaecologist Dr Charles Rockhead, said any sexual infection that one can get from sexual intercourse, can be transmitted through oral sex.
"The rule of thumb is that if you won't have unprotected sex with someone, don't have oral sex with them, because the same viral or bacterial infection that can be transmitted through intercourse, can be transmitted through oral sex," he said.
Rockhead added that the situation is the same for both men and women.
STIs are caused by viruses or bacteria that like warm, soft, moist places such as your mouth and genital area (penis, vulva, vagina, anus, area between penis and anus, and area between vulva and anus).
"Remember that most of the viruses are also in the saliva, so you have a transfer from genitals to mouth and from mouth back to the genital area," the doctor noted.
While all STIs can be transferred through the mouth, some of the more common ones you can get are chlamydia, syphilis, gonorrhoea and herpes. In fact, people can even develop genital warts in the mouth as a result of transfer of STI. HIV can be passed through cuts in the mouth or small abrasions.
According to Rockhead, the only way to prevent the transfer of infection is to abstain from both oral and anal sex, as well as intercourse or for both partners to be tested before getting sexually involved.
If, however, you choose to have oral sex, ensure that you use a barrier method to prevent direct contact between one partner's mouth and the other's genitals, such as condoms or dental dams.
Dental dams are small squares of latex that were made originally for use in dental procedures. They are now commonly used as barriers when performing oral sex on women, to keep in vaginal fluids that could transmit an STI. Some people use plastic wrap instead of a dental dam.
I recently returned from an International Human Rights conference where I was bombarded with questions about Jamaica's human rights situation which I proudly defended. However, one question stumped me. Participants wanted to know the source of Jamaicans' fear and contempt of gays. Sadly, I could not provide an intelligent reply.
Those participants just couldn't reconcile Jamaica's warm, welcoming, "one love, live and let live" reputation with the virulent homophobia as expressed in the February 1 Observer article in which President of the Islamic Council of Jamaica Mustafa Muhammed advocated death for homosexuals.
As a secular state we are obliged to recognise, among other things, rights to freedom of expression and privacy as long as those rights do not represent a serious danger to public health, morality, or public safety, yet we appreciate the threat of unchecked fundamentalism of the type advocated by this Muslim leader.
So why are Jamaicans so concerned by what consenting adults do in the privacy of their bedrooms? What do we fear will happen? Like Ian Boyne, I really want to hear an intelligent response to this question, devoid of emotional religious rhetoric.
What the country needs to appreciate is that the continued denial of the rights of gays to privacy and self-expression in this secular state may cause these individuals to demand their rights by violent means. In other contexts this would be called self-defence. The prime minister's statement that he will not intrude on the privacy of people's bedrooms hardly goes far enough, and the rhetoric of the Muslim leader is certain to heighten the sense of hopelessness of this very marginalised group who will continue to lose faith in the legal system with disastrous results for the society's Muslim leaders. While I respect and would staunchly defend the cleric's right to freedom of expression, I urge responsible expression so as not to destabilise our already fragile socio-economic status as this would challenge the public order requirements for the exercise of his right.
The behaviour of some of the artists was hinted at as not helping the situation they refuse to comply with the local laws on hate given their own history of bigotry and intolerance over the years. The German index has been developed which has a dossier of lyrics and artists who perform described problematic hate songs, if ones song appears on such list then they are not allowed to perform in Germany and possibly other European states. The CDS and materials are banned permanently. They also are having it increasingly difficult to get visas and permits to perform in European states.
“The culture of Europe is very different’” said Dr. Markee
TOK was mentioned as a group “having problems” now because of an old song named “Chi Chi Man” so any inference or words deemed hate then you may be in problems. Many of their shows are to be cancelled but the promoters and management team are aggressively negotiating. Artists can be arrested for performing so called hate lyrics on stage. The justification is that Jamaican culture is a name calling culture and that it usually doesn’t go any further so artists should be allowed to perform.
The so called gay agenda is on according to Winford Williams and that the artists are being deliberately provoked so as to make mistakes then suffer the consequences.
Dr. Markee however highlighted the fact that music though generic to the country of origin there is only one market online via YouTube or other digital media and artists must be mindful and diplomatic. She complained however that artists having erred in songs done a long time ago are suffering the consequences now.
Leadership in dancehall was required according to Winford Williams he said that the when the gay community came after the hip hop artist a body named hip hop action network acted as intermediary to the artists allowing the lobby group to talk to them and vice versa.
Let’s watch this one folks
Peace & Tolerance
Audio portion (apologies for poor quality in some sections)
Jamaica lost one of its most revered cultural figures last night when Professor Rex Nettleford, vice-chancellor emeritus of the University of the West Indies (UWI) and founder of the National Dance Theatre Company (NDTC), died, just hours before he would have celebrated his 77th birthday.
Nettleford passed away at George Washington Hospital in Washington, DC, one week after suffering a heart attack at a hotel in the United States capital.
Last night, Prime Minister Bruce Golding said he was deeply saddened at the news of Nettleford's death.
"Jamaica and the entire world have lost an intellectual and creative genius, a man whose contribution to shaping and projecting the cultural landscape of the entire Caribbean region is unquestionable," Golding said.
"Rex Nettleford was an international icon, a quintessential Caribbean man, the professor, writer, dancer, manager, orator, critic and mentor. He has left a void in our world that will be a challenge to fill."
Nettleford was admitted to hospital, unconscious, on January 27.
Olivia Grange, minister of youth, sports and culture, said in a release that Nettleford, who had been in the intensive care unit at the hospital since last Wednesday with catastrophic brain injury following a cardiac arrest, died at 8 p.m., four hours before his birthday.
"The nation, the wider Caribbean and beyond mourn the loss of this great Caribbean icon," Grange said.
A national loss
Portia Simpson Miller, president of the People's National Party and opposition leader, expressed con-dolences to Nettleford's family, friends and colleagues.
"I am very deeply saddened by the news of Professor Nettleford's passing. This is a national loss and one that I feel personally. Words are inadequate to capture the extent of the grief I feel," Simpson Miller said.
Simpson Miller hailed Nettleford as a son of rural Jamaica whose life's trajectory testifies to the success that is possible through grit, determination, resilience and 'smadification' - local parlance for self-actualisation - within the Jamaican cultural environment, of which he wrote so eloquently.
Jamaica's ambassador to the United States, Anthony Johnson, told The Gleaner last night that doctors said Nettleford never regained consciousness.
He had gone to Washington, DC, to attend a fund-raising gala for the UWI.
Many tributes have come in for the Trelawny-born Nettleford, who excelled as an academic, cultural activist, historian and remained an unapologetic regionalist.
Former Jamaican prime minister, Edward Seaga, who first met Nettleford in the early 1960s, described him as the "quintessential Caribbean man".
"There was a strong willingness on his part to absorb Jamaican culture, which I believe is his greatest contribution. It's on that basis that the NDTC became such a force," Seaga told The Gleaner.
For many years, Nettleford juggled duties with the NDTC and the UWI where he was vice-chancellor from 1997 to 2004. He was the NDTC's choreographer and artistic director, and continued to lecture at the UWI's Caribbean Institute of Media and Communication (CARIMAC) and Trade Union Education Institution.
In a 2007 interview with The Gleaner, Nettleford said Seaga assisted the NDTC in its early years by taking them to kumina and revival meetings. The group incorporated those informal 'lessons' into some of their dance routines, including the popular Kumina.
"The underlying thing was using dance to explain to ourselves and the world who we are, and to celebrate the African presence in the shaping of a Jamaican/Caribbean ethos," Nettleford said in the interview three years ago.
Bridgett Spaulding (formerly Casserly) was an original member of the NDTC, who first met Nettleford when he and fellow dancer Eddy Thomas were forming the group in 1962. She credits him for the group's longevity.
"He had a passion for the company that is unparalleled, but he also had a strong desire for people to grow and develop," Spaulding said.
Nettleford experienced remarkable personal growth during the 1960s. A graduate of Cornwall College in St James, he was a Rhodes Scholar who attended Oxford University and had cut his teeth as a dancer in the Ivy Baxter Dance Group.
He and Thomas formed the NDTC in September 1962, one month after Jamaica gained Independence from Britain. It comprised dancers from various groups, and emerged around the same time that ska music and the Rastafarian culture were beginning to have an influence on Jamaican youth.
During that decade, Nettleford championed the work of folklorist Louise Bennett-Coverley and wrote the provocative book, Mirror Mirror, which dealt with racial and social issues in Jamaica.
Politically, Nettleford said he was drawn to the ideals of Norman Manley, Jamaica's first premier, who was also a fierce proponent of Caribbean unity.
In the 1970s, Nettleford was a cultural adviser to Manley's son Michael, Jamaica's socialist prime minister from 1972 to 1980. At the time of his death, Nettleford was acting in a similar capacity to Prime Minister Bruce Golding.
Nettleford received many awards for his contribution to academia and the arts. He was a recipient of the Order of Merit, Jamaica's third-highest honour.
He is the latest Caribbean cultural figure to die in recent months.
Playwright Trevor Rhone, Trinidadian writer Wayne Brown and bandleader Sonny Bradshaw passed away late last year.
Monday, February 1, 2010
Monday, February 01, 2010
PRESIDENT of the Islamic Council of Jamaica, Mustafa Muhammad, says he agrees with the Sharia law which prescribes death for people who openly flaunt homosexual behaviour.
Muhammad did not mince words as he lashed out against what he described as an unclean, unnatural lifestyle.
“It is illegal and in the Sharia law the punishment is death. If you follow Christianity it is a crime in the sight of God. He destroyed a whole city because of this thing. It is an ungodly practice and I apologise to no one for this,” Muhammad said.
Under Jamaican law, persons who practice buggery — the sexual penetration of the anus — can be sent to prison for up to 10 years.
Despite claims by local and international gay lobbyists that homosexuals are attacked and killed in Jamaica, police statistics show that most gays who are killed are victims of crimes of passion.
Muhammad made sure to state that he was against the killing of gays in Jamaica.
“This can only be done in a country that is being run by Islam,” he said.
Muhammad was also critical of the gay lobbyists who are clamouring for Jamaicans to adopt a more relaxed attitude towards homosexuality.
“What is happening is that we are leaning towards the laws of man,” he said. “If a Muslim woman chooses to cover up herself it is seen as oppressive, but it is wicked to criticise homosexuals? I am not free to express myself as a Muslim but a homosexual is allowed free expression and protection from the law.”
The Sharia Law is interpreted differently in some Muslim jurisdictions and in some countries women are subjected to what western cultures describe as oppressive treatment.
Some Muslim cultures deny women education and enforce female circumcision, but Muhammad explained that this was not in keeping with the true teachings of the Prophet Mohammed and the Sharia Law, but should be attributed to cultural practices.
“Of course women must be allowed education. The Koran says every Muslim must seek knowledge. If there is a Muslim who denies a woman education, then it is not acceptable,” he told the Observer. “Female circumcision has been around for thousands of years and a lot of people come into Islam with this culture. It is very important that we separate the teaching of Islam from the culture of the people.”
Well endowed in this instant could be penis sizes from 81/2 inches to 12 inches or as we say in the local parlance “donkey wood” the donkey is seen as the central image for penis size and when one is seen in public with a erection it is the source of much humour, animated discourse and roars of laughter as I have witnessed especially in urban areas as rural Jamaicans are used to the site.
In the MSM context from my observation we also seem to have bought into the ideas of strength and power in size and almost worship the penis so to speak in everyday conversations of past sexual escapades. The bigger the equipment the more praise a man heaps unto himself or in the case of reported encounters we glorify “the breast” size as we call it here in Jamaica. Is this glorification and almost obsessive crave for the big thing is what drives our sexual desires and the associated excitement? Or is it the many fantasies that we have that sometimes we never have the real thing so we conjour up these images of a rough encounter with a big you know what to self stimulate for compensation?
My own experiences have also confirmed some of the stories coming from heterosexual women that the size is OK but then comes the performance or lack thereof, premature ejaculation seems to be the most common thread of sexual problems in men these days and they are resorted to all kinds of aphrodisiacs to compensate. From illegally purchased pops of Viagra or Cialis to Chiney brush which is still available, to self administering “Spanish Fly to get that “High” feeling or ecstasy pills which are now available on the Jamaican circuit. Other problems include a lack of understanding romance and the associated skills for pleasure other than penetrative sex and the regular use of oral/genital stimulation to compensate for low libido which can become boring at times in my view.
With these issues of impediments to sexual performance the answer to the question the maybe a NO as those factors blocks the effects of the end result which ought to be pleasure as one defines it. Another expectation in the Jamaican context of the well endowed male is that he must match his perceived strength with power by thrusting deep and hard into the particular orifice of his choice that is vagina or anus to reinsure his passive partner that he is all man. I guess the size issue is overrated then and we are fooling ourselves. Foreplay and other outer-course or non penetrative typed sexual activity are considered irrelevant or boring for most whether gay, straight or bisexual. We may have to let each individual sexual experience sort out those issues as the animalistic need drives us to the reasoning that the more ruff we can get sexually then the better the pleasurable outcomes despite the realities in the end.
Some men have since learnt and practice regular masturbation to help to increase size as well as the activity causes the tissues in the penis to increase hence more blood flow to sustain the erection and the size when aroused. Jamaican men in previous times shone public discussion about “backing ones fist” or masturbation but that is changing with the realization that it can have an impact on penis size as well as individuality, personal choice and practices which the general population is slowly grasping. Issues like homosexuality and other sexual practices raised on various local media are slowly opening the eyes of the public to think about sexuality in a new light but it is a long and slow change.
My answer now to the question therefore is NO for now, based on the above reasoning as simple as it may look, what say you to the question of size taking into account the other factors involved in sex and sexuality?
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Peace & tolerance
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Thanks for your Donations
thank you for your donations via Paypal in helping to keep this blog going and related costs. Please continue to support me and my allies in this venure that has now become a full time activity. When I first started blogging in late 2007 it was just as a pass time to highlight GLBTQ issues in Jamaica under then JFLAG's blogspot page but now clearly there is a need for more forumatic activity which I want to continue to play my part.
Activities & Plans: ongoing and future
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Individuals who are mentioned or whose photographs appear on this site are not necessarily Homosexual, HIV positive or have AIDS.
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Faces and names witheld for the victims' protection.
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Recent Homophobic Incidents
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Steps to Take When Contronted or Arrested by Police
b) Only give name and address and no other information until a lawyer is present to assist
c) Try to be polite even if the scenario is tensed) Don’t do anything to aggravate the situation
e) Every complaint lodged at a police station should be filed and a receipt produced, this is not a legal requirement but an administrative one for the police to track reports
f) Never sign to a statement other than the one produced by you in the presence of the officer(s)
g) Try to capture a recording of the exchange or incident or call someone so they can hear what occurs, place on speed dial important numbers or text someone as soon as possible
h) File a civil suit if you feel your rights have been violatedi) When making a statement to the police have all or most of the facts and details together for e.g. "a car" vs. "the car" represents two different descriptions
j) Avoid having the police writing the statement on your behalf except incases of injuries, make sure what you want to say is recorded carefully, ask for a copy if it means that you have to return for it