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And What About The Right To Die?

By now some of you readers are made aware of Tony Nicklinson’s story: former rugby player, paralysed from the neck down, had his legal plea of assisted suicide denied, died due to starving himself and pneumonia (I think he did it intentionally). His last tweet:

‘Goodbye world the time has come, I had some fun.’

I’m totally against unnecessary suffering only when it comes to the physical, id est, terminal illnesses, complete paralysis, etc. Don’t get me wrong, if you want to live then fine but what about living and not being able to add quality to your life or the life of others? What if your existence is a burden to your loved one? At this point I would like to make myself clear: I do not support suicide killings/bombings, homicide-suicide, suicide due to depression and/or bullying, I’m totally against violence on any level. I support assisted suicide for the critically ill, brain dead or anything to that effect.

If I had a condition which is all about physical pain, constant trips to the doctor, making me dependent on others, I can’t do anything for myself, and it would kill me eventually but years from now (or I die naturally), feeling hopeless, depressed and useless, I would opt for a quick and pain-free death. Call me a coward but the joy in that kind of life is pretty much non-existent and for me, that’s not the way I want to live.

In the photograph above, Tony Nicklinson with his wife, Jane, when the judge denied his assisted suicide plea. Does this man looks happy to continue living like that? He can’t even wipe his own tears. To continue living life in paralysis is a death sentence for him. He’s not getting any younger, he’s probably concerned about his wife’s happiness…I could list a million reasons.

We all know a doctor’s job, decree and only function is to preserve life so this goes against many doctors’ belief, religiously speaking killing someone even your own self is a sin (the killer’s soul be damned for all eternity). However, ‘mercy killing’, ‘assisted suicide’ or euthanasia is not a ‘bad thing’ in all cultures. The English word ‘Euthanasia’ is derived from Greek words “eu” and “thanatos,” literally, “dying well.” Euthanasia is legal in the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg and Assisted Suicide is legal in Switzerland and the US states of Montana, Washington and Oregon. Active Euthanasia is illegal in Mexico but not Passive Euthanasia (patient is terminally ill and unconscious can be refuse aid to prolong life by relatives). Colombia’s Constitutional Court ruled May 20, 2010 that “no person can be held criminally responsible for taking the life of a terminally ill patient who has given clear authorization to do so.” In Japan it’s a bit more complicated:

In the case of passive euthanasia, three conditions must be met:

  1. the patient must be suffering from an incurable disease, and in the final stages of the disease from which he/she is unlikely to make a recovery;
  2. the patient must give express consent to stopping treatment, and this consent must be obtained and preserved prior to death. If the patient is not able to give clear consent, their consent may be determined from a pre-written document such as a living will or the testimony of the family;
  3. the patient may be passively euthanized by stopping medical treatment, chemotherapy, dialysis, artificial respiration, blood transfusion, IV drip, etc.

For active euthanasia, four conditions must be met:

  1. the patient must be suffering from unbearable physical pain;
  2. death must be inevitable and drawing near;
  3. the patient must give consent. (Unlike passive euthanasia, living wills and family consent will not suffice.)
  4. the physician must have (ineffectively) exhausted all other measures of pain relief.

                                                                                                          -Legality of Euthanasia Wikipedia.com

Whew! It’s not easy to decide on how and when to kill a person even if he/she is on death row and deserves it. I appreciate the concern and thought put into taking someone’s life especially if they are at a loss in physical health. But I believe that if a person, like Tony, who has reached that point where death is a more favourable option and chooses to do it legally in his/her sound mind, should not be denied the Right to Die.

Are you MAN enough?

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 You must be dreaming, how gal fi have bad man a do house cleaning…not on my team. – Popular dancehall song by Mavado.

It is of the belief that men who engage in “female” dominated activites, are considered emasculated, effeminate, gay, p*ssy-whipped or just a push-over. Whoa! Before you jump down on me, this is still an issue this day and age, and yes, in the Western World. Dear reader, you must know at least one man, no, make that three men who believe that if they do housework and raise the children, that they will be seen as less of a man. However, there are those who do so quietly but in front of there male peers they are “manly” men, also, there are those who do not have this problem and speak proudly of doing what’s necessary to keep their household running.

So let’s analyse a few of these “female” dominated activities, in no order of importance of course:

The Laundry – especially handwashing it, because that is done outside and neighbours can see. To add more drama to it: the washing of women’s undies. God forbid but some men will have a stroke if they ever do this, then hang them out to dry and pick them up off the line outside. Mind you they have no problem removing it with their teeth during intimate moments. Also, these are the same men who believe women MUST wash their undies but do not return the favour even if she is sick or impaired in some way.

The Cooking – I don’t want to get started on this, however I believe men are much better at this. Imagine after a long day of work, this man reaches home long before you do and sits there waiting for you to come home to make dinner? Yes reader such men exist. I have a male friend (he knows himself), he lives with his mom, he’s unemployed so he’s home and will starve the whole day until his mom returns home and cook him dinner (so her fault for raising him like that, sad).The House Cleaning – Some men will dismantle and build up back their cars, clean them inside out, travel to the Amazon jungle and back on foot before they stay home and help with the cleaning. Wake up! It’s 2012 not 1512.

The Diaper Change – You know what gets me dark about this, they will say it’s the woman’s responsibilty because she gave birth to the child. I guess we were are like Jesus being immaculately conceived. Be a dad and help mom. Lawks man! Diaper change is not nice especially if you’re dealing with ‘solid waste management’ but share some of the burden.

The Combing of Your Child’s Hair – This one is a special and hard case when it comes to daughters, but I’m pressing on with it because there are Jamaican men who comb their daughters hair for school and they get all my respect. In a wider view, the best hairstylist in the world are men! So men do not require any changes in their anatomy to do such a task. On the other hand, I can’t too pressure the men for this but it’s pretty much breaking the rules and bending boundaries.

I think I’ll stop here. So, to the men out there, do you still think you are man enough to do some of these things and more? Take the poll.

Marrying Young

 

No doubt this topic is touchy. The view of a young girl marrying to some ‘big ole oily grey back man’ is seen as carnal abuse, rape, violation of human rights, child rights, and the list goes on. So let’s dig a little deeper. According to Wikipedia, there is some form of justification of such an arrangement which might help you the reader to better understand or simply get you more upset:

Child marriage and child betrothal customs occur in various times and places, whereby children are given in matrimony – before marriageable age as defined by the commentator and often before puberty. Today such customs are fairly widespread in parts of Africa, Asia, Oceania and South America: in former times it occurred also in Europe. It is frequently associated with arranged marriage. In some cases only one marriage-partner is a child, usually the female, due to importance placed upon female virginity, the inability of women to work for money and to women’s shorter reproductive life period relative to men’s.

Yes, unfortunately that ‘ole’ perve can still reproduce. Great. Well this explains why a lot of women freak out when they reach the thirty year mark and are viewed as old. Also, may I just add that it is getting harder and harder to find a sixteen year old virgin these days. Okay, before you attack me for agreeing with these customs let’s take a look at the things we celebrate: Sweet Sixteen, once upon a time it marked a young girl’s coming of age and used to advertise that the daughter was ready to be married (uh huh now you know); in latin american countries they celebrate Quinceañera (their version of sweet sixteen but at the age of fifteen); in Jewish culture a boy comes of age at thirteen (Bar Mitzvah) and girls come of age at twelve (Bat Mitzvah); in Italy and Poland they celebrate the eighteenth birthday. Although . We can agree that not even at 18 years no one is ready for marriage, worse at 12 and 13. What about children being married off as young as 5 or before they were born? I read an article featured in the June 2011 National Geographic called The Secret World of Child Brides (page 78). It featured traditional customs – some illegal but still practised in secret – in India (yup you gonna stop hating me now). Now this is where I draw the line because these poor babies have no clue when the ceremonies are being performed and they grow up hating their ‘oily grey back’ husbands and are miserable.

Thanks to a changing world these practises are being eliminated. That’s good for the children, they can enjoy their childhood, get an education and make their own choices but what happens when you wait too long? There are some women who have been successful in their careers, accomplished all they could without the burden of maintaining a family and answering to a husband, realised in their 40’s they want to get married and have children. What now? As the above excerpt said, a woman’s reproductive life is shorter than that of a man. Besides who wants to marry an old woman? I’m not crude but that is the way of the world. Magazines are filled with 15-year-old models, there are many age-defying potions and anti-ageing creams everywhere being advertised in your face every minute of every day. Of course love can be blind and you may find someone who loves you for other reasons and yes medical technologies are improving even grandmothers can have children, but is it the way it should be? Depending on one’s personal reasons they can get married at any age but marrying young is ideal for many reasons, just to list a few:

  • To build a family the younger the woman the more likely she bares healthy offspring with little or no abnormalities (the possibility of child born with Down’s Syndrome increases as mother-to-be approaches her 40’s).
  • Having children before the age of 30 reduces the risk of developing breast cancer (this sucks! no pun intended).
  • At about age 35 mother-to-be is considered high risk for miscarriage, eclampsia, stillbirth, death of both herself and baby (I did not want to mention this but let’s face it).
  • If marriage fails there is still time and energy to pursue another one (lessons well learned).
  • You get better mortgage rates.
  • You get better insurance benefits especially if you are healthy.
  • You stand a greater chance of actually spending a lot of time with your grandchildren.

I’m sure we can think of more. Don’t get me wrong, I’m totally against Child Marriages. No one should ever get married that young and being a grandmother at 22 is not cute. However, I believe marrying between the ages 24-33 ,at least, is young enough. In this age range more than likely one has a degree, a job, is better at managing finances, have goals and some sort of ambition. I have quite a number of my high school mates who have married before 30 and more have had children before this age too (yes they are educated, are employed and own their own businesses).

Scarlet Letter ‘M’: Rules of the Game

Here in Jamaica all social characters have nicknames or street names, or become such nicknames, for example, “Babylon” means Police (the general view of the police is not positive at all); “Nanny” refers to the Jamaican $500 note because an illustration of our only National Heroine, Nanny of the Maroons, is on it. Therefore the roles we play in our lives are no different. When a man and a woman are married to each other, they are called Husband and Wife, which we now refer to as “Hussy” and “Wifey”. We know the institution of marriage (or any long term relationship) has been plagued by outsiders for centuries. These outsiders are called “homewreckers”, be it man or woman, however it’s the woman that is more reknown for this role. So, if you cheat on your loved one then you are giving “bun”. During these last two decades, give or take a few years, a homewrecker in Jamaica is called “matey” (or “bunner (wo)man”: a term recently popularised by famous local talk show host).

Despite being frowned upon for many years, most women still choose to be a matey because she receives almost all wifey priveleges, but most importantly because she is not the one being hurt and deceived. In addition, there is a paradigm shift in the concept of matey in our local dancehall music. In the 90’s the matey was put down and condemned but now is revered, praised and seen as a necessity (whether to improve a marriage or for his or her own personal gain). There are some celebrities who are “mateys” and came out the winners (Angelina Jolie, Alicia Keys), while others fell flat on their faces (Fantasia). The success of the matey depends on a lot of rules or guidelines that will almost guarantee a long term relationship with a spouse. I will list some below but not in any order of importance:

  1. Be invisible to the wifey/hussy, their family and friends.
  2. Do not expect to become the wife or husband.
  3. Take what you can get and leave.
  4. Do not confront the wife/ hussy in any way.
  5. Do not fall in love (in otherwords don’t be a Marilyn Monroe).
  6. Keep calls, appointments, texts, emails within a respectable time schedule to avoid suspicion.
  7. Never say anything bad about the wifey/hussy.
  8. If you have been identified as the matey, then it’s time to move on, it will only get uglier.
  9. If you are seriously looking for a permanent stream of income by all means have a love child (case in point: Schwarzenegger).

Knowing the risks of being a matey, would you still want to be one? Why or why not? Also, please feel free to discuss the rules by adding your own rules or discussing any of the points mentioned.