Psychological violence during the election season.
The threat of physical violence is once again rearing its ugly head in this pre-election season and as it continues history will repeat itself and after the election we will shed crocodile tears for those suffering the painful consequences.
Violence is the exercise of force or power to cause injury, damage or abuse. Physical assault is unfortunately not the worst or only form. Human beings are equally violated by psychological aggression as well as the social or economic deprivation that usually precedes physical violence. The multi-dimensional aspect of violence means that it can affect people at various levels. Psychological violence often leads to physical violence and does have a negative impact on our behavior, our interaction with others and our capacity to function effectively.
At election time this psychological war-fare is mainly channeled through partisan political operatives and party propaganda machinery. At one level it focuses on character assassination, name calling, blatant lies, misuse of patrimony and lack of informed national debate.
The increasing practice of maliciously or falsely denigrating other Dominicans especially accomplished ones for political gain is a clear act of psychological violence against our younger generation. It encourages disregard for the achievements of predecessors of similar background and origin while adoring the abusers. The consequence increased hatred for self among our youth.
We practice psychological violence when in a parliamentary democracy the STATE fails to provide the necessary financial resources and individuals of impeccable integrity and impartiality to the electoral commission to ensure that our electoral process is fair both in substance and procedure. This form of psychological violence dwarfs any other form of violence or so called threats to life in the country at this time! In this season of emancipation it is a sickening violation of the very essence of our humanity, OUR FREEDOM! It is a "freedom" for which our ancestors such as "Jaco" sacrificed and died that is now being threatened by new masters and taken for granted us. .
It is also psychological abuse against an unsuspecting public when certain acts of public mischief (e.g. the IPO saga) are ignored by the police yet others are pursued at the speed of light once "Massa" gives the directive. In the meantime the GON Emmanuel fire bombing is confined to eternal darkness.
These examples of abuse are further compounded by denying the Dominican electorate sustained and reasoned debate on policies, plans, or programs. Neither are we entitled to appraise elected representatives' performance or the potential of their teams to deliver. Instead too many of our politicians and party political operatives are content to trade exclusively in the psychological violence, color-coding, flag-waving, and "sewo" for the privilege and enormous responsibility of managing our country's future for the next five years.
We know only too well these modern architects of this psychological violence and mental enslavement? Why is this so acceptable to the large majority of Dominicans? Is it because we are victims of a struggle that many of us do not understand and in most cases are not even aware of?
We must in this emancipation season take note of the pre-election perpetrators of this type of violence and punish them at the ballot box and after for this irreversible damage to the psyche of the nation.
Election violence that encourages divisiveness but not dialogue, that promotes party-politics but not partnership that accedes to antagonism but not accountability cannot uplift the individual. Neither will it produce love for others, love for community or love for our 'beloved' Ma Dominique. It will definitely not produce National Unity. What it produces is a more barren and hostile physical, social and intellectual landscape on this so called 'Isle of Splendor'.
I dare to suggest that those who claim to be serious about the future well being of the country and our people base their prescription for success on the ancient Afrikan principle of MAAT. It provides a holistic approach to achieving integrity, compassion, balance and reciprocity here, and in the hereafter. They should also adopt the prevention rather than cure approach as the best means to secure our optimum psychological and physical health. This will better prepare us to work together for the wealth and health of the nation.
Finally our present rulers and future leaders must know that "each fruit will bring forth after its own kind". It will be both fruitless and hypocritical to brazenly call for Reconciliation and Unity after the election when the country is mired in the violence that they and their operatives sowed before and during the campaign.
May the spirits of the ancestors be pleased.
Dr Irving "Eipigh" Pascal