The recent cultic operations in a St James church which culminated in the ritual sacrifice of two of the parishioners has caused a stir in Jamaica. This is understandable. In my 31 years on this Earth and in this country, I have never seen or heard of anything like this being confirmed. I say being confirmed because we have all, I am sure, been privy to tales of such occult practices taking place locally by shadowy cabals.

The killings have raised many questions in the media, among them the need to regulate churches and the fact that these people who were clearly broken inside did not receive proper psychiatric and psychological care.  It must not be lost on us that the leader of this cult was a registered psychiatrist, and while I agree with these issues and questions raised, I believe that we have missed the bigger point that for reasons of fear or plain blindness we are not seeing the woods for the trees and it is my fear that when we do it will be too late.

What do I mean by this? Simply put, this represents a people, a nation which is beyond the point of apathy and has reached the stage of brokenness. People, in a serious fashion have asked for years ‘when will the riots come’ as prices rise, and still the people do not riot even as bread costs over $400 (or one hour’s wage if you are a day labourer). The people ask in a serious way ‘when will they kick the bums out of Gordon House and vote in a third party to show them what’s what.

People of this country are many things — deeply religious is one of them —  and while they all have not been to seminary or even read the whole Bible, almost to a T due to our backward education system and feckless governments, we the citizens know what to expect in a church, from a pastor and conversely what should be avoided. I am positive that all members of that cult knew that it was not ‘Christian’. This is not a stretch, but partially confirmed by members who themselves stated that when they visited before becoming members, they were put off by the pastor, his messaging and how he carried himself, etc.

The fact that some 1,200 people (what the church boasts as members) had this feeling and carried on to the bitter and literal bloody end shows that the people of this nation are beyond the point of apathy and are broken, a cowed animal ready to be slaughtered. The brokenness should terrify us, and the cult is just the tip of the iceberg of what we should be fearful of.

A people who are broken look for a strongman and we need only look to history to see how that ends. Italy had the Duce as the kingdom sought to find its way; Germany had the Fuhrer as they sought to banish the myth that was the ‘stab in the back’ along with the treaty of Versailles; Spain had Franco; Portugal had Salazar; and the list goes on. A people who are broken think that the ends justify the means, and that ends in madness and slaughter. A people who are broken, much like an animal which is broken (and not in the sense of breaking horses, but mentally shattered) is liable to do crazy things such as attack a child, or launch a massive anti-vax protest.

We need to, as a nation, stop, take a step back and reassess the lands. The people are without hope and see themselves with no future, either economically or socially. The people see no hope in the political arena as they are offered two parties which continue to abuse them and are offered a civil society which remains silent, turns a blind eye or actively participates in the destruction of the nation all while making periodical condemnations about vague issues.

That people were willing to follow this man, coupled with the fact that people are willing to follow the UIC should terrify us, and not because we are some highbrow elitists looking down on the masses. This should terrify us because apathetic people think, even if its mainly in gloomy terms, broken people don’t think, they seek out that which will heal, or —  and this is where the devil meets the detail — appear to heal, and follow it to its conclusion.

The country’s people, who have long been described as dry tinder waiting for a match to ignite the savannah, have moved beyond that, and how, with this cult sacrifice acting as proof. The people are not mere dry grass, they are dry grass doused in a heavy dose of gasoline and other flammable liquids. What this cult sacrifice, taxi vs JUTC, and the anti-vax campaigns all have in common and show us is that the people are no longer near the edge but almost over it. All it will need is a small gust of wind, possibly bread reaching $500, or maybe even the killing of a student by the police, and the people will take to the streets. Conversely the gust may be as innocuous as saying something as impolitic as Fenton’s ‘dead babies’ phrase, but know that all we are waiting on now is the gust of wind.

This can’t be turned back, the people are so discontented that the system will collapse, either due to its own frailty or because the people tear it apart brick by proverbial brick. What we can do, work towards and hope for, is that the destruction of the old system does not usher in a new worse system, the unbridled rule of criminals in a failed state channelled into a productive rage.

Destruction doesn’t have to be bad, it is a part of nature and along with its opposite building is needed if the world is to spin in harmony and what is needed are groups which organise the people along class, occupational, and residential lines so that not only can demands be made but so that they can be ready to take power when everything falls apart.

Organisation must be along the lines of the fact that redistribution is needed, that the workers must be in charge of their destinies at the workplace, that the state must control the commanding heights of the economy, and that the rich in this country must play their part and be beholden to the needs of the masses. This is what is needed. Call it socialism (it’s hardly even that as Vietnam, Cuba and so on will attest), I call it survival, and after reading about the broken people who willingly went along with this cult, even after knowing in their hearts that it was beyond wrong, I am only interested in survival for both myself and my nation. I want to avoid the bushfire.

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