Christmas Gifts for People Who Love Jamaica #6: The Voice Of The Jamaican Ghetto.

posted on December 9th, 2013 by in Jamaican Politics

Vybz Kartel - Voice of the Jamaican Ghetto

The murder trial of Vybz Kartel enters its fourth week today.

That reminded us to recommend his book as SEEN Christmas gift number 6. “The Voice Of The Jamaican Ghetto” came out in 2012 and is a must read for any Kartel fan out there.

Available e.g. from Mixpak.

The New Yorker: »A Massacre in Jamaica«.

posted on December 25th, 2011 by in Article, Jamaican Politics

© GABE for FIRST Magazine

About one and a half years ago, the Jamaican police and army assaulted the neighborhood of Tivoli Gardens, in West Kingston, hunting for the area don and alleged drug-lord Christopher »Dudus« Coke.

Now, The New Yorker looks back at the »Massacre in Jamaica«: Journalist Mattathias Schwartz lived in and around Tivoli for about three months, reporting his story on »Operation Garden Parish«, a story he builds around the fate of Radcliffe »Mickey« Freeman who was one of the seventy-three civilians killed during the operation.

Schwartz talked to residents, government officials, and sources close to the police searching for

[...] any evidence they might have showing that Freeman was anything other than a noncombatant who was intentionally shot and killed by the security forces. No one was able to provide such evidence.


The question of Freeman’s innocence or guilt on May 24, 2010, wasn’t decided by a court, a journalist, or, most likely, anyone who knew him. It was decided by members of the security forces in Tivoli Gardens. None of them have spoken out about that day, and no court has compelled them to. It is therefore impossible to know what standards they applied to the question of who would live and who would die.

Read the whole article »A Massacre in Jamaica« here.

Jamaicans for Justice: »Victims’ Voices«.

posted on January 3rd, 2011 by in Jamaican Politics, Video

Jamaicans for Justice – Victims Voices

The citizen’s rights group Jamaicans for Justice recently launched a three-part documentary about police killings in Jamaica.

The documentary chronicles the struggles of three women who have fought painstakingly to get justice for their sons who were killed under suspicious circumstances by members of the security forces.
– via Reggae & Jamaican Film News

Watch all three parts after the jump:

Read the rest of "Jamaicans for Justice: »Victims’ Voices«." →

Christmas gifts for reggae fans – Top 5 books

posted on November 30th, 2010 by in Jamaican Music, Jamaican Politics, Jamaican Style

Top 5 Reggae Books

2010 has been a good year for those interested in reading about Jamaican (popular) culture: Two of the most influential international reggae/dancehall labels – Greensleeves Records and Island Records – released their stories in book form.

In case you are looking for Christmas gifts for reggae fans who like to read, we recommend these two books as well as three other more or less recent publications. Here’s our current top 5 books about Jamaican culture and politics:

01 Al Fingers – Greensleeves Records: The First 100 Covers.

The book is a document of the first 100 Greensleeves album covers. It also contains interviews with Greensleeves’ founders, Chris Sedgwick and Chris Cracknell, and its chief designer, Tony McDermott, who has worked for Greensleeves almost since the day the label launched in 1977. (via Al Fingers)

02 Suzette Newman & Chris Salewicz – Keep on Running. The Story of Island Records.

An impressive new hardcover from Rizzoli which aims to be the definitive tome when it comes to Chris Blackwell’s Island Records. The label was founded in Jamaica and launched Bob Marley and the Wailers into international superstardom, and released many other classic reggae albums before picking up a slew of impressive international acts including Traffic, Nick Drake, Cat Stevens, U2, Eric B & Rakim, Amy Winehouse, and many more. (via Typo Graphical)

03 Beth Lesser – The Rise of Jamaican Dancehall Culture.

Beth Lesser’s definitive new study of the 1980s Jamaican Dancehall scene features hundreds of exclusive photographs and accompanying text that captures a vibrant, globally influential and yet rarely documented culture that has been mixing music, fashion and lifestyle with aplomb since its inception. (via Soul Jazz)

04 Edward Seaga – My Life and Leadership.

Edward Phillip George Seaga is one of the most outstanding Jamaican politicians – with a reputation for creativity, controversy and courage. His autobiography offers a unique insight into the emergence of modern Jamaica, a journey characterized by idealism and intrigue, conflict and triumph. (via Macmillan)

05 Ben Watts – Lickshot: A Photo Scrapbook.

In a way Lickshot is a continuation of Big Up, but I think it’s perhaps a bit more sophisticated. Big Up was more urban street culture and Lickshot still is a bit, but it’s a step on and includes a lot more celebrities and musicians, while still keeping the energy of what I did in Big Up. It’s another volume of one of my scrapbooks, basically. (via Professional Photographer)

Sherman Escoffery – »A wake up call for Jamaica«

posted on November 28th, 2010 by in Article, Jamaican Politics

© Peter Dean Rickards
© Peter Dean Rickards

While a move has kept me offline for the last couple of days, Sherman Escoffery contributed a must-read column for the Jamaica Observer which sums of the state of the Jamaican nation – a state of emergency. (via Ross Sheil)

Sherman concludes that the lack of shame or embarrassment about what the Jamaican nation has descended into, is the main reason for political and societal stagnation.

He also mentions that the reduction of the Jamaican vocabulary to set phrases from the dancehall world re-inforces the situation as no appropiate debate could happen without appropriate language:

Sometimes I think that because we have abandoned the English language and reduced patois to a few words such as “maad”, “sellaff”, “shell dung”, “luu”, “blenda”, it may have reduced our ability to reason in a logical way, hence a possible reason for the increased violence and depravity that we seem to have become accustomed to.

Read the whole article.