Wednesday, April 01, 2009

The Gleaner: Gays in US 'Boycott Jamaica'

Given the salacious and derogatory coverage overall by the Jamaica Gleaner, the nation's largest and most influential newspaper, when reporting on gay issues, I expected more of a sensationalistic piece today. The paper has broken standard practice, and in this singular story, written something factual and basically balanced.

I wish to point out that it is nice of a Red Stripe spokesperson to offer a general condemnation against violence of all kinds, but notice that the word "gay" is missing from the quote. It's not enough for the beer company to occasionally cancel sponsorship of a music festival featuring singers who advocate murder of homosexuals, as it did last year. Red Stripe officials must start issuing statements opposing violence and stigma against gay Jamaicans that actually say "gay" or homosexual.

Even though this is the Gleaner's first story on the Boycott Jamaica campaign, they've already received a letter opposing the boycott in today's edition. The letter follows the excerpted news article below.

From the Gleaner's news pages:

A gay-rights lobby last week launched a Boycott Jamaica campaign in the United States city of San Francisco, discouraging patronage of the island's exports - particularly Red Stripe - to put pressure on government and private-sector interests to rein in a perceived rise in attacks on sex minorities.

The move was launched in the Harvey Milk Plaza - named after a gay-rights activist whose characterisation won Sean Penn the Best Actor Oscar in February.

Michael Petrelis, campaign organiser, told The Gleaner Monday that the catalyst for the campaign was a US State Department report, published in February, citing an escalation of violent attacks against homosexuals in Jamaica.

Petrelis said neither the Government of Jamaica nor the police had exhibited a commitment to protect gays or encourage tolerance of sex minorities. ...

The boycott has targeted Red Stripe beer, mainly because of the product's international prominence, Petrelis said. The group is bidding to cut sales of Red Stripe beer in gay bars and restaurants in San Francisco within 30 days. Twelve such establishments have assented to the boycott, Petrelis said. The Gleaner could not immediately verify if Red Stripe products had indeed been pulled.

Petrelis said his group would also dissuade Americans from holidaying in Jamaica. Tourism is one of the island's foreign-exchange gold mines.

A meeting between the lobbyists and Dr Newton Gordon, honorary consul of Jamaica for San Francisco, has been scheduled for next Tuesday. ...

However, Jason McFarlane, programmes manager at the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-sexuals, and Gays (J-FLAG), said it deplored the boycott, particularly because Red Stripe had withdrawn support from entertainers - particularly of the dancehall genre - who promoted violence against gays.

"We had spoken to them not to go ahead with the boycott when they first contacted us last week, but they went ahead despite our response," McFarlane told The Gleaner.

Meanwhile, Maxine Whittingham- Osborne, head of corporate relations at Red Stripe, said the company was surprised by the gay advocates' apparent random targeting.

"Over the years, by our actions and our policies, we have demonstrated that we do not advocate any bias or prejudice against any individual or group(s)," she said yesterday. ...

And here is the letter that appeared today. Dig that crazy and confusing headline:

Silence threats from gay community

The Editor, Sir:

Gay activists are targeting Jamaica because it is an easy target - plain and simple. Many US states have a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman.

I'm amazed at how time and time again those promoting the virtues of tolerance and diversity are the least tolerant (and the least diverse) of all.

Just recently, the gay rights group in San Francisco refused to accept the passage of Proposition 8, the traditional marriage initiative. Decisions by voters in Florida, Arizona and California to join residents of 27 other states with constitutional protections for traditional marriage have prompted threats of violence against Christians and their churches.

I think that violence against anyone is wrong, no one should have to suffer. I'm really tired of the gay community trying to silence anyone who happens to have a different (moral) opinion on things. They do this every time. It's time to stand up.

The main thing that angers me about the Jamaica boycott site is how the gay and lesbian lobby thinks it can dictate the policy and laws of another sovereign nation.

Mark my words: The gay movement is doing far more harm to its cause than good with this bullying approach. It won't work.

I can't help but believe that for every one person who joins in this wrong-headed boycott, there will be two others who will make an extra effort to support Jamaica.

Jamaica is a Christian nation. Christians are not required by faith to support anyone who supports what God has deemed immoral.

A Christian will stand by higher moral convictions by not contributing in any way, shape or form, to those who wilfully defy God's decrees, especially where morality is concerned. Jamaica simply will not compromise where the word of God is concerned.

I am coming to visit Jamaica and I am going to plan a long vacation there, and encourage all others who stand against immorality to do the same.

I am, etc.,
Neville Carnegie
United States


Buffy said...

What hypocritical asshattery.

"Gay activists are targeting Jamaica because it is an easy target - plain and simple. "

No, we're protesting and boycotting Jamaica because it's citizens by and large advocate harm to us.

"The main thing that angers me about the Jamaica boycott site is how the gay and lesbian lobby thinks it can dictate the policy and laws of another sovereign nation."

We're not trying to dictate anything to Jamaica. We're merely refusing to financially support those who oppress and murder us.

"Jamaica is a Christian nation. Christians are not required by faith to support anyone who supports what God has deemed immoral."

And we're not required by anything or anyone to support, financially or otherwise, our oppressors. It's high time people stop presuming we are.

JamesR said...

"He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone," John 8:7, KJV.

Christian is as Christian does.

They are literally STONING their brothers and sisters to death there and they have the temerity to criticize US? In an oh-so-Christian a way. Something is terribly terribly wrong. Why would anyone enjoy going there if they are like that? - Their whining is really not helping what they think their cause is.

Anonymous said...

Boycotts and militant movements by our overseas brothers and sisters overseas .. have serious repercussions for those of us that live here.. Unfortunately they have only served to increase the level of violence and mistrust that already exists in Jamaica.
Because of the nature of our culture ..a more reasoend approach is required....

Take it from someone who is gay and lives here ... While the support is appreciated.. dialogue: not confrontation is the only way forward. Activists like Gareth Henry.. (who we are proud of) .. can now talk of supporting a boycott because they have fled to the safety of Canada...

I urge those who respect your fellow LGBT family in Jamaica to understand that a boycott at this time is counterproductive in Jamaica ...... The real urgent next step is a public understanding that violence against any group is unacceptable and punishable by law.. The government is slowly taking steps towards this (despite the negative press received by the Prime Minister).. and companies such as Red Stripe have been brave in refusing to financially support artists and venues that promote violent music... This is the real situation from inside Jamaica...