We were hardly surprised by the reaction to the STAR Newspaper’s front page of Saturday July 26-2014 bearing the headline “St Lucia’s New National Anthem-Hurt It.” But what I personally found more surprising was the way the cover photo was scanned and spread like wildfire all over Social Media over the weekend. It would seem that persons were more titillated by the photo than the actual accompanying story or other carnival stories inside. In fact, from what I could deduce, not many of the “Star bashers” online had even read the actual newspaper. Made me wonder again about our rate of illiteracy and whether Social media and smart phones were pushing our numbers even further off the charts. At any rate, that’s for another story.
By Monday, our offices were inundated with calls from local journalists, readers and those who did not read, but may have been lucky enough to see our front page online. Our callers either wanted to know of our decision to publish the particular front page or our reaction to the sudden brouhaha. One of my callers actually wanted to know whether the figure of attraction was a “he or a she?” Go figure.
During more than one interview carried out on Monday, STAR Publisher Rick Wayne chose to underscore yet again the hypocrisy of Saint Lucians and the things we chose to give much attention to. Over the years, the STAR has published numerous stories of the horrors in Saint Lucia like rape and incest. Yet, there has been deafening silence and also no outrage from Saint Lucians who continue to have their daughters, sisters, mothers, friends, raped and abused in the worse possible way. Yet, on Carnival Monday and Tuesday we chose as the anthem “Hurt It” and other songs asking women to maintain the most degrading and animalistic positions while men do as they please with them.
Remember the six-thirty last year? Not a word from the critics. Men seemed to have gotten off on the moves while some women in secret we were told, practiced the dance since according to urban tales, it was the new “husband keeper.” Some women went as far as posting videos of their kids online doing the dance as they cheered on.
“All year round we expose our children to booze and sex and at carnival time it is done in plain view of the TV cameras in the name of culture,” Wayne says.
According to Rick Wayne; “we are singing and shouting “Hurt It’ like clowns while our women are raped and the cases never come to court because they are scared, because the laws are not on their side. Women and children are raped, murdered and forgotten and prisoners remain on remand forever and we are doing nothing to correct the justice system.”
Wayne went on to point out that during the carnival season children were singing “hurt it,” “hurt it,” “But hurt what?” he asks. He also went on to point out that on carnival Monday and Tuesday we have some of the most degrading signs on the streets and on television in full view of our children.
As for the published photo the STAR publisher says “that is the face of carnival.” “We call carnival our main cultural showpiece but what we have here is a reflection of our country and everything that is wrong with it. So the persons who are talking ethics, ethics had nothing to do with it,” Wayne says. “When you go ethical and unethical these are valued judgments that are meaningless to anybody,” he says.
As for the woman photographed Wayne had this to say; “I knew she was not charged with obscenity, I knew that thousands of kids were looking on. I knew there were hundreds of cameras, I knew TV cameras were on her, I knew she was on the Internet around the world and I knew that she knew what she was doing and I knew she wore that costume having checked with it at home.”
Further; “she jumped around and didn’t seem to care. We are not in the business of inventing moralities for people. What the photograph on our front page clearly depicts is how far we have come forward or backward in what is called the main cultural showcase of Saint Lucia.”
“The photograph was totally in tune with what Carnival was about it was not fabricated and served as a great illustration of attitude both to carnival and the perceived morality of the country,” Wayne adds.
In June the STAR published a photo on our back-page of a naked woman at a carnival band launch. She was wearing nothing but body paint. We had asked back then whether this was a sign of things to come.
(See Wednesday’s STAR for more on this matter)