IT seems the language of hate has taken a grip in our nation.
There is, leading our front page today, the story of our Prime Minister receiving death threats, phoned in to his office. That is far from the only hate on show right now. We shall come to that in a moment.
But first let us look at the fire that took place yesterday, in which more than 20 homes were destroyed, leaving around 50 people homeless, and many without any of their possessions.
Most disconcerting of all are the reports that as firefighters arrived to tackle the blaze, there were people nearby chanting “let it burn”.
Let it burn. Firefighters were trying to save lives, and people are calling for them to let it burn.
Now the dwellings appear to have been shanty dwellings, and perhaps should not have been there at all – though one man who has lost all his belongings told The Tribune yesterday how he had been living there for 36 years.
Rosny Fertil is married with children who are nearly finished with their schooling, and has been in The Bahamas since 1979.
Now he says he has lost documents, his bed, clothes. He says his children can’t go to school now.
How did he come to be able to stay in one place like that for 36 years? That is a broader question.
But the issue of immigration has been stoked to stir the anger of people. The people shouting “let it burn” do not know the legal status of the people living there. If Mr Fertil has been here since 1979 and his children are finishing school, then those children have most likely been born here.
Yet we allow hate to encourage the destruction of these people’s lives.
As for the Prime Minister, he is quite right to vow to carry on as normal despite receiving two death threats on Friday.
The exact nature of why someone is threatening him was not revealed, but it follows a protest on Wednesday last week in which a video showed someone calling Mr Davis’ name and then saying “assassinated”.
The two incidents may of course be entirely unconnected, but they are both part of a rising use of violent language in our politics.
From that same event, video circulated of Coalition of Independents leader Lincoln Bain calling for “vigilante action” over shanty towns and calling on people to take matters into their own hands and tear shanty towns down. In other words, calling for people to break the law. What right has Mr Bain to make assumptions over who has the right to live somewhere? That is in the hands of government.
These kinds of words can only lead to violence, and that is wrong.
This is a nation of law and order. Taking action into people’s own hands is a breach of the law.
As Police Commissioner Clayton Fernander said on Friday: “We, as Bahamians, it shouldn’t happen.”
As our Insight writer Malcolm Strachan writes today: “No one who threatens harm against our nation’s leaders can claim to be a patriot.”
But perhaps the most potent words belong to Chief Superintendent Chrislyn Skippings on the scene of yesterday’s fire.
She said: “We’re focusing on saving their lives. They are also human beings. Despite what might be going on in Haiti at this time, as a country we have an obligation to ensure that their basic welfare needs are met.”
Human beings. Sometimes in all this heated rhetoric, we could do well to remember that.