Rastafarians in the service
The Telegraph recently reported that the United Kingdom’s Royal Navy has adjusted its rules to allow Rastafarians to keep their long hair and beards. This is a significant step for the Rastafarian community, the article stated, but there are still challenges in breaking myths surrounding drug use and ethnicity. The article went on to explain that Rastafarianism doesn’t necessarily mandate smoking marijuana, nor is the faith limited to those from Africa or the Caribbean. The faith derives from Christianity, according to leaders in the Defence Rastafarian Network, which was set up in 2017 to represent Rastafarians in the UK’s defence services. Rastafarianism developed as a religion and movement in Jamaica in the 1930s. The DRN also hopes that Rastafarians in the Royal Navy will be allowed to wear turbans. Growing hair is a sign of solidarity and strength in the religion. The DRN’s efforts are not unlike the advocacy in the Virgin Islands that led to the 2003 revocation of a 23-year-old law that had ordered immigration officials to refuse entry to Rastafarians and “hippies,” often identified by their dreadlocks.
A Beaconite used to think there was nothing worse than a source who talks her ear off about a completely innocuous, non-controversial story, then refuses to be quoted on any of it. But there is: a source who refuses to be quoted for a non-controversial story and then proceeds to condescend to the Beaconite by explaining that the source could “get in trouble” if quoted without permission. The Beacon doesn’t quote any interviewee without their permission, and she doesn’t need someone who clearly understands next to nothing about journalism to explain why. Journalists are neither unethical nor incompetent. And if you’re that concerned about your views, why did you say anything to begin with? Why did you think the Beaconite was calling you, if not for a quote? Because she was lonely? Because she doesn’t have a dozen other things she could be doing instead? A simple “no comment” is a perfectly acceptable response. If you talk to her for 10 minutes and then tell her you don’t want to be quoted, she will comply, though be irritated that you wasted her time. If you go one step further by condescending to her and/or threatening her, she will throw her phone across the office. The Beaconite has lived and reported in the territory for more than two years and this is not her first rodeo. She would never tell you how to do your job. Don’t tell her how to do hers.
Recently returning to the Virgin Islands after almost two weeks at home, a Beaconite feels energised for the year to come. A strong cold smothered Southern California for the entirety of his stay, lending his holiday an especially festive feel. Nights were frosty and days were cool but lighted by a crisp, clear sunlight. It also rained a lot, which in the mountains fell as snow, blanketing the Beaconite’s childhood ski resort in more snow that he’d seen since adolescence. During two trips to the mountain, he took some of his best runs of the decade. But most of his time was spent at home with friends and family. It’s increasingly rare for the entirety of the Beaconite’s friend group to gather in the same place at the same time, so they capitalised with group dinners and Jacuzzi sessions stretching late into the night. With his parents, the Beaconite drank tea, watched television, and took leisurely strolls around the neighbourhood. He flew back to the VI on New Year’s Eve, and though he was somewhat sad to see the Los Angeles lights fading beneath him, it gave him great satisfaction to end 2019, and begin 2020, so contented.