Every day we can hear our citizens behaving in a very vile manner by using curse words in their speech. We can hear this on our way to work, in our workplaces, in our own homes, in the police stations, in the schools, and even in some places of worship. What has really happened to our society? Where are we heading?
Even many of our Ministers of Government use foul language. I was fortunate to hear a lot of them on the road with their friends or even at places like ‘Sleep In Hotel’ or Princess Hotel and elsewhere. These are the Ministers who ought to set an example to our citizens.
When I was a little boy growing up I would hear clean conversation in our community. A citizen could have been charged by a police officer and taken to court for using curse words or indecent language. Today we have quite the opposite; our police officers and soldiers are cursing more than the citizens. Thus we have the blind leading the blind in a whirlpool of madness. Since we are now living in a land of the lawless where our educators and law-makers are curse birds, we should stop and think about what will happen to the next generation. It is my opinion that laws about indecent language should be implemented.
On my visits to several schools in our country I would hear students and pupils cursing while they are playing in the school compound. In my days at school such a situation would have been remedied by the ‘wild cane,’ yet many foolish academics are calling for corporal punishment to be removed from our schools. In some schools teachers are unable to deal with students because they are abused verbally both by students and their parents. It’s time we introduced religious education in our school system from nursery to university. When people use curse words in their speech they may feel big or great, but they have shown their lower personality in action. Real teaching begins in the home; parents are the first teachers of their children, but because of illiteracy and ignorance parents in every community are using curse words to their children. Husbands curse wives, wives curse husbands, children curse parents. Here is a real moral breakdown that needs to be addressed. We have is too many ‘live-home’ lifestyles with no moral, religious and family values.
This new habit of indecent language and curse words is not only in our society, it’s all around us in the Caribbean and the Western hemisphere. In most films today the film stars will curse; also in Indian films there is a lot of sexual immorality and violence. In lots of songs by Jamaican, Trinidad, Barbadian, American and some Guyanese singers, curse words are used. These can be heard in minibuses every day as well as on TV and radio. Many music videos promote vile sexual acts, violence, and lots of immorality that are destroying the moral fabric of our society. Those who help to promote drinking are also encouraging the public and family into drinking alcohol which will motivate people to curse and behave in a vulgar manner.
President Granger in his New Year’s Speech emphasized that we must ‘’abstain from vulgarity’’ but how can we do that? By implementing severe laws against those who use indecent language.
While many literary activists are promoting Guyanese literature, which is a good gesture, some of it is loaded with curse words and vulgarity that can destroy our young students who wish to study the subject. I took the time to read a number of books that won the Guyana Prize for Literature. To my amazement, some of these books have some of the most obscene passages, curse words, sexual overtones, etc, yet they are given US$5000 as prize money; that’s the most compromised prize in the world which is won by a society of friends.
How can a teacher of literature teach a child a book of literature that contains curse words? How can that child read such vulgar material? Will that child acquire any knowledge from such books? Yet many are advocating that these Guyana Prize-winning books be placed on the CXC English B syllabus. It seems as if our academics have a very shallow mentality in relation to education. What we need for literature is classics from Shakespeare, Virgil, Dante, Homer, Tagore, Shelley, Pope, Keats, Byron, Eliot, etc.
Everything that surrounds us depicts sexual things; to sell even a lighter to light a stove, there has to be a nude woman on the top of it. Drinks and rum are promoted with nudity, and most songs by dancehall singers have cuss words like Alkaline, Kartel, Movado, to name just a few.
It’s about time our political leaders, including our religious leaders, woke up to the truth. Mahatma Gandhi wrote: “Literary education without character is a waste of time. God is truth and truth is God.” What we need is the truth from the Word of God to invade the lives of our citizens so they are given good words to speak to their fellow men. In this new year we must change ourselves to change the world. We must be that change of attitude and character.
Rev Gideon Cecil