There has been a lot of discussion coming out of the 2010 Security Forces assault on mercenaries holed up in Tivoli Gardens in support of confessed Don, Gun Runner and trans-national criminal Christopher (Dudus) Coke.
This buzz has received new life after the Public defender and anti -police antagonist Earl Witter released his report which did nothing to advance the debate.
Jamaicans are generally inclined to buy into anything foreign, our people celebrate any and everyone over other Jamaicans. This is true even when their countrymen make tremendous personal sacrifice on their behalf, they much rather exalt others over their own.
One such beneficiary of that largess is New Yorker Magazine award winning journalist Mattathias Schwartz .http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/12/12/111212fa_fact_schwartz?currentPage=7
I provided a link for your information to Schwartz’s award winning Article titled: massacre in Jamaica
On Thursday, thousands of Tivoli women marched in downtown Kingston on Coke’s behalf. They wore white and carried signs, written in marker on scraps of cardboard: “Taking Di Boss Is Like Taking Jesus”; “After God, Dudus Comes Next!”; “Jesus Die for Us. We Will Die for Dudus!”
(1) By the weekend, Tivoli had filled with armed men. But, even as Coke prepared for war, he was negotiating his surrender with the police through a prominent member of Jamaica’s clergy, Bishop Herro Blair. Blair said that Coke was terrified of dying, like his father, in a Jamaican prison cell. But the Bishop’s hopes for a truce faltered on Sunday morning, when Coke’s forces attacked police patrols and four police stations, setting fire to at least one. The police commissioner cut off negotiations, and at six o’clock Golding declared a state of emergency in Kingston, giving the security forces expanded powers of search, arrest, and detention. In a briefing that night with Jamaica’s top security officials, the police commissioner, according to someone who spoke to him soon afterward, warned that as many as two hundred people might die.
(2)Blair, who had served in the Jamaican National Guard, was skeptical of claims that a massacre had taken place. He said that when he met with Coke in Java before the attack, to try to negotiate a resolution, he saw roughly a hundred gunmen with him. “There is a script that is written, whenever police are involved,” he told me. “People will all say the same thing.” Witter, a former journalist, whose office investigates constitutional violations and cases of injustice, took the allegations seriously.
Schwartz alluded to living and being around Tivoli Gardens for a little while before he wrote his 8 page Article. My first impulse was that I would not read what he wrote. My inclination is that I don’t need a New York interloping elitists to tell me what I have lived and breathed, I refer to Jamaica, but I read the article nontheless.
Let me state categorically that I was not in Tivoli Gardens when the security forces went in to annex it to Jamaica, neither was Mattathias Schwartz. Moving to Langley Virginia and spending some time at the Central Intelligence Agency certainly does not make me a CIA agent and it damn sure does not make me an authority on spying.
Even though I provided a link to Schwartz’s Article, I have also pulled two paragraphs which I believe are a direct contradiction of the headline of his article and the sensationalism surrounding the very article itself, these two paragraphs are in blue ink.
In the first instance Schwartz said quote: “By the week-end Tivoli was filled with armed men”.
In the second instance he alluded to speaking to Bishop Herro Blair a prominent Jamaican clergy-man who is the political ombudsman, and a known JLP affiliate, who attested to the fact that he saw roughly a hundred gunmen when he went into Tivoli to meet with Coke toward working out a resolution.
So there were practically scores of armed mercenaries ready to topple the state, conversation over , let’s go home, lets make sure it never happens again right?
We Jamaicans did not need an interloper to tell us these things, we saw the attacks which killed police officers and members of our military, we saw the police stations burning, we saw the barricades, we saw the outpouring of love and adulation for the don. we saw the deserted streets. Where in America or any other country in the civilized world would that be tolerated ?
The city of Boston was shut down tighter than a jail after the marathon bombers committed their acts, the rule of law prevailed. Schwarts talks about police killings by the numbers as it relates to killings of the NYPD, is this guy for real ? Does he seriously compare Jamaica with New York City? Furthermore where is Schwartz over all the years when young minority men are being gunned down by the NYPD? did he write an article condemning those cops in the Abner Louima case,? What about Ammadio Dialo? What about the scores of nameless faceless others? Is Schwartz too much of a coward to criticize the powerful NYPD, or, are the lives of young African-American and Latino males not important to him?
Even as he tells the truth about Bishop Blair’s account of witnessing roughly a hundred armed men, Schwartz attempted to cast doubt on the Bishops account by trying to link him to the security forces. Bishop Blair has been a long time supporter of the JLP, he had no axe to grind, he told the truth.
In the end, the ultimate source of schwartz’s story are the very same people whom he admitted, confessed they will be killed if they spoke to certain truths. He reported about the large cache of weapons which was recovered, yet he counters by saying initially that only a few guns were recovered, and yes he speaks with certainty that there really was not much of a fire-fight even though he was nowhere around.
Mattathias Schwartz is just another sensationalist media type who feed off the unfortunate plight of others for his own benefit, this case is no different. To those who speak out of the sides of their mouths as if they know something , let me say this.
Innocent people get killed in a war-zone, Tivoli was a war-zone, it is regrettable when any innocent person loses his/her life, sometimes it is unavoidable. I understand full well the situation many residents faced that fateful day, do I leave and may never be permitted to return, branded an informer, or do I tough it out? After all they are survivors, the police was never able to do their jobs there, they were always ruled by one don or another, why would this time be any different.
However ,some of us who have been on the front lines have long known that mercenaries in that community use urban military tactics to fight and retrieve weapons dropped by fallen comrades . This tactic is made possible by laying down a sustained sheet of automatic fire while they retrieve the weapons, leaving the police to explain the dead bodies. Then they bring out the women to mourn. This is now an effective tool of Jamaica’s criminal underworld.
They understood the importance of winning the propaganda war. Coke’s letter purportedly to the community, was one more attempt at that charm offensive.
The gullible Mattathias Schwartz is nothing more than one more pawn to that end.