Cartoonist Clovis, right or wrong? The tragic death on Thursday, April 20, 2017, of Germaine Mason, British athlete, born of Jamaican parents in Jamaica, has set off a firestorm of controversy amidst all the mourning, due to a Cartoon that appeared in the Jamaica Observer, Saturday, April 22, 2017, in which Cartoonist Clovis Brown, showed an apparently angry policeman standing over what is apparently a body lying on the ground with a British flag draped over it, saying: “….Why yu never wear yu helmet?!!!”
From most of the comments I have encountered on Social Media, many seem to be saying that the cartoon was in ‘poor taste’,’poor judgment’ on the part of the Cartoonist; ‘tasteless’, ‘crass and insensitive’ to say the least. On and on it goes berating and lambasting the Cartoonist, even as they try to enter the minds of the bereaved to make a case about how this would disturb and add burdens to their sorrow.
One Jamaican, residing in Britain, has even called for a boycott of the upcoming Diaspora Conference if the government does not offer an apology through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to ‘all Jamaicans in the Diaspora’!. It is mind-boggling, and a bit troubling that every day of our lives is mostly spent trying to find things to divide us and to tear this Rock, they all claim to love, apart.
Germaine Mason, is but one of the recent deaths on our roadways, but as celebrity goes, his has stirred more attention, sympathy and has now devolved into controversy of sorts. Upon seeing the picture of him beside Bolt, then checking the information, I found out that he was a friend of the Bolt Crew, a business associate and all-round good guy, who traded the Black, Green and Gold for the Union Jack of Britain. At the Beijing Olympics, he represented them and snatched a Silver medal for his efforts, and for the glory of England. I did not bother to check to see if the Silver had turned into a Gold mine of sorts for him as a result of trading allegiance, because that is of minor import to this article.
Still trying, more than anything else, to see what the the fuss is all about; and to see if I ought to join the mob calling for Cartoonist Clovis to be hauled off to the gallows, but I am having a great deal of trouble. As a man of considerable good taste, and a strong appreciation of right and wrong, I am grappling with this one in bewilderment, failing to see much of what they find wrong with the depiction in the Cartoon.
Without trying to enter the heart and mind of the Cartoonist, as many of them have done, in arriving at their conclusion, I saw a Cartoon of a British Citizen, who died in a bike accident not wearing a helmet. The fact that the policeman appears scolding in mannerism to the apparent body of Germaine covered over completely by a British flag, is not in any way disparaging, but from some of the comments many seem to be taking the British flag as a ‘diss’…. However, they need to consider that no one head can wear two hats at the same time as many Jamaicans try fervently to do, being a citizen of another country, then claim that they are more patriotic and the like than even those of us who chose to live on the Island under trying circumstances, under our own flag. In their efforts, they appear to be claiming for Germaine more than he claimed for himself while he was alive. For many Jamaicans, this is a playground to frolic in, but it doesn’t suit their lifestyle otherwise, and I am not going to blame them. Governments have work to do that they have not done, and are hardly doing…..
Nonetheless, the excoriation of Cartoonist Clovis for the Cartoon, and the attempts to boycott Jamaica, on any level, are a bit of an overkill. We do not owe the members of the Diaspora any apologies simply because they can cut off their families, friends and us from remittances. Germaine chose to be a British citizen, and to represent them at the highest levels of his abilities. At the time, I did not fault him for that, so now I cannot be faulted for regarding him, dead or alive, as a Briton. That also does not stop one from feeling sorry for his family and friends who suffer the loss most of all, because many of us are mere bystanders in his life, and even in his death. Saw my singer, Christopher Martin, who is part of that Bolt Crew, weeping; and that hurts, because not only do I know Chris from his early years through a friend of mine, who was his ‘Big Sister’, but I am one of his biggest fans in the true and balanced sense of the word. Not a fanatic, but a solid fan, who believes that he is one of the best singer of his generation. So, it is a tragedy felt by many, and no Cartoon is going to detract from feeling the pain of human suffering; and if we could – the cartoonist Clovis Brown included- change things, he would be alive today, hanging with his friends, and going home shortly to be with his family. Despite the many beasts in our midst, we are a people of mostly, One Love….
Until next time, keeps doing what is noble and just. Go ahead and have a discussion right here.
I am Warren Johnson
Editor at Large, Mckoy’s News: the views expressed on this post are that of the writer and not that of Mckoy’s News.