Veteran Jamaican broadcaster Rohan Daley on Sunday, July 13th, 2014 saluted Hitler by uttering the phrase “Heil Hitler” in celebration of Germany securing the 2014 World Cup title. It was inconceivable to think that a broadcaster would have uttered such a phrase on national television. In so doing, Mr. Daley single handedly tainted what had otherwise been perceived as superb coverage of the games by CVM television.
The Holocaust has been regarded as the worst genocide in our world to date. The effects of one of the most sordid events on human record is still vivid in the minds of countless individuals. It was an event in our history that saw the murder of over 6 million Jews, and was overseen by a man whose ideology of racial purification led to the victimization of others. Professor of Holocaust Studies at the University of Toronto, Doris L. Bergen noted:
“Nazi Germany persecuted, incarcerated, and killed millions of Slavic people – Polish gentiles, especially members of the intelligentsia; Soviet prisoners of war; and others – and attacked Communists, homosexual men, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Afro-Germans, and other people considered unwanted in the “new European order.” (Bergen, War & Genocide: A Concise History of the Holocaust; 2009)
In a simple salute, Rohan Daley diminished his own value and saluted an ideology which, had it not been contained, would have caused the peril of a nation such as Jamaica and its diverse citizenry. His comments were insensitive at best, and ignorant to say the least. His actions lacked good judgement and eroded the expectations to which a person within his position is held. What is even more alarming is the seeming disparaging treatment of the comments by the television network. Numerous Jamaicans voiced their discontent with the broadcaster’s remark, and to date an official statement has not been issued by the network. To his credit, Mr. Daley issued an apology in a segment which followed the World Cup broadcast, however I find a mere apology insufficient. The network has a responsibility to respond to the criticism levied against it following the offensive remarks. In addition, it was a insult to the viewing audience to have Mr. Daley continue his broadcast following what may be perceived as possibly the most racially insensitive utterance made on Jamaican television in recent history.
Alarmingly the Jamaican media seemed to have ignored the incident. On Monday, July 14, 2014 only a brief letter to the editor in the Jamaica-Gleaner (the local newspaper) made reference to the unfortunate occurrence. It is necessary that as Jamaicans we demand that our media professionals exhibit proper judgement and exercise professionalism at all times. We must establish a standard of respectability that must be demonstrated throughout our society. For too long we have settled for mediocrity, and it has only led to our demise as a nation. Our politicians are another example of a group which constantly exercise poor judgement, make offensive and disparaging remarks, circumvent laws and do without any fear of electoral retribution. Building a better Jamaica is our responsibility as a people. It starts by challenging the systems that are in place which erode our civility as a people. In a world that is now interconnected we must be mindful of the past of not only our nation, but that of others. It is imperative for us to be attuned to the sensitivities which exist in our world.
CVM Television by its lack of action as displayed so far, has negated and marginalized a segment of the Jamaican population. The network is adding insult to injury by its silence on the matter. However, the blame rests with us; ordinary Jamaicans that fail to demand good and morally sound leadership by those in positions of authority.
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