Sunday, April 04, 2010

US Coy Why Jamaican
Haters' Visas Revoked

The State Department's revocation of visas for five Jamaican hate singers this week continued to generate media attention on the island over the weekend, and the top item that caught my eye was this claim about U.S. silence regarding the canceled visas in the Jamaica Observer:

Are concerns about homophobia behind the recent travel bans? We do not know and the United States will not say. After all, they owe us no explanation. The granting of a visa is a privilege, not a right. Of course, the current detention of Buju is seen by many in Jamaica to be part of a grand homosexual conspiracy. [...]

The State Department is apparently more than content to let rumors fly about why the performers won't be allowed into America, and I have no problem with Jamaican musicians, political leaders and media outlets speculating on the possible gay angle because it keeps Jamaica's gay-related problems in the public eye, but I also want the U.S. to clearly spell out its reasoning.

Whose interests are served by the State Department unwillingness to provide transparency to the revocations? Whatever the reasons, gay- or criminally-related, the U.S. shouldn't be coy.

And is that grand ol' homo conspiracy something I can become part of? I'd like to join it and help make additional trouble for the Jamaican singers who incite violence against gays.

The Jamaica Observer provides more info about the wide range of travel troubles for many acts:

What is more is that the Europeans are becoming increasingly reluctant to grant visas to Jamaican acts due to what are reported to be homophobic concerns and the Barbadian government (through the intervention of Prime Minister David Thompson) recently cancelled a show featuring Mavado and Kartel in Bridgetown, pointing to an accelerating trend to restrict Jamaican artistes from performing in Caribbean territories. [...]

That trend is part of the universal message to Jamaican performers to curb their hatred and murder music, if they want to travel to other markets and turn a profit. Speaking of making money off hating gay people, the Jamaica Gleaner reports the acts who won't be coming here, are crying all the way to the poorhouse:

Local dancehall stars Beenie Man, Bounty Killer, Mavado and Aidonia, as well as selector Ricky Trooper, are set to lose millions of dollars in earnings based on United States decision to revoke their visas.

Last Wednesday, news came that the US had decided to revoke the visas of the five but, so far, there has been no word from the embassy in St Andrew as to why.

And even as Jamaicans speculate about the reason for the about-turn from the US Embassy, the fact is the decision brings devastating financial consequences for the four deejays and one sound-system operator. [...]

To drive the crocodile tears point home, the Jamaica Observer ran this editorial cartoon, featuring Prime Minister Bruce Golding answering the door and finding three of the singers pleading for help:

Let's hope none of the visa troubles adversely impact upon the April 7 Walk for Tolerance, being organized by the Jamaican AIDS Support and JFLAG orgs.

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