Among the many letters published by The Royal Gazette over the last few days, I thought this one from Aideen Ratteray-Pryse bears reprinting in full, given some of the racist vitriol being spun the way of the protestors by Dr Brown and Hott 107. For those of you who don’t know Aideen, she is a mixed race Bermudian whose father was Dr. Stanley Ratteray, one of The Progressive Group that successfully protested against the segregation of Bermuda theatres in the Theatre Boycott of 1959.
June 17, 2009
I write regarding the comments of Ms Laverne Furbert concerning the march on Parliament on Tuesday, June 16. Specifically, she said: “What I saw here today was a lynching party … and I tell people go and look at history books.”
Shame on you, Ms Furbert, for such blatant mis-characterisation of the event and for ignoring history yourself. As you know, “lynching” is an extralegal punishment carried out by a mob to kill a person for a supposed offence.
What you witnessed was a free and legal demonstration of freedom of expression. Your reaction reminds us once more that freedom of expression is a two-sided coin. It’s great when people say things you agree with and not so great when they don’t.
But that’s the way freedom of expression works. Ms Janice Battersbee and her group can state their opinion and you can disagree with it. What you shouldn’t do, Ms Furbert, is dishonour and insult the memory of people such as Isaac McGhie, Elmer Jackson and Elias Clayton, who actually died at the hands of a lynch mob.
A. RATTERAY PRYSE