Letter to Christian Leaders
March 29, 2007
Dear Christian Leader
The Trinidad and Tobago Anti Violence Project (T&T AVP) invites you to take a leadership stand this coming Easter season against violence, musical performers who incite it, and those profit from this 'murder music.'
Four visiting singers, Buju Banton, Elephant Man, Sizzla Kalonji and Vybz Kartel, are all scheduled to perform in Tobago and Trinidad over the coming Easter weekend. These are Jamaican dancehall performers who have all recorded grossly violent lyrics (see attachment), which they continue to perform, that incite mutilation and murder of fellow humans. They have been the subject of worldwide demonstrations and cancellations including, in the case of Buju Banton, action by the government of the United Kingdom to bar him from performing in that
country. These protests and government action have focused on the fact that these performers' music incites audiences to violence against homosexuals and other marginalised groups.
These four violence-inciting singers are scheduled to perform at two State-owned venues, the Hasely Crawford National Stadium and Pigeon Point beach, and a private nightclub, The Sting, in La Romain during the Easter weekend when Christians commemorate the violent crucifixion
of Jesus Christ and his resurrection over death – the holiest days in the Christian calendar.
We invite you to join us in taking a firm moral stand against music and musical performers that promote violence against others and in condemning promoters and venues who profit from those who incite such violence and hate. Because religious leaders have been in the forefront of efforts to address runaway violence in Trinidad and Tobago and the sense of lawlessness and insecurity this creates, we look forward to you standing with us in this holy season by speaking out boldly against those who preach illegal and un-Christian violence against any group. While such hate speech is not the practice of all dancehall singers, there is a clear pattern among those who perform such lyrics of deeply troubling attitudes and lyrics that also cheapen women's lives and place their sexual security at risk.
These performers offend Christ's teaching by singing death and violence against individuals as if they were not God's children. T&T AVP believes that on matters of manifest principle, such as standing against wanton and illegal violence, we should be united regardless of other differences. We hope that, in celebration of Christ's sacrifice and resurrection, you will add your leadership to ours in issuing a powerful call for an Easter weekend in Trinidad & Tobago free of performances that preach violence against others and of profiteering from such performances.
Yours in faith,
David D. K. Soomarie
Stop Murder Music!