A public prosecutor from the eastern province of Hato Rey in the Dominican Republic, has begun a public campaign to have young people remove all rings and pendants from their ears, belly buttons and noses and all bracelets from their wrists.
“Young persons who use earrings and rings in their ears, navels, noses and other parts of the body, don't know that it links them to vices such as drugs, tobacco-use and the practice of homosexuality," explained Manuel Emilio Santana Montero (right) to El Nuevo Diario in an article published yesterday.
The prosecutor says that his office has already collected more than 2,000 rings, pendants and bracelets from young people who have submitted them "voluntarily" during his visits to educational centers and schools. He claims that the practice of wearing them among the younger population is due to influence from North American culture where "young people are always associated with the use and sale of drugs."
Local Evangelical pastors are said to have welcomed the campaign enthusiastically.
“I want this initiative to be practiced by other prosecutors in other provinces and towns of the country, since it is contributing to the elimination of prototypes imposed by other foreign cultures, specially the United States" said pastor Anselmo Silvestre.
The paper says that Santana Montero is often seen putting the 'operation' into action and says that he has instructed his employees to do the same during interventions involving the National Police.
"This Tuesday," the reporter writes, "this writer observed how the prosecutor, Manuel Emilio Santana Montero, asked a young person to hand over a pair of earrings in the middle of the police precinct, acceding after listening to a mini-lecture from the judicial officer."
The initiative is said to be welcome by the community which is also said to be worried by the decline in moral values among young people.
The prosecutor's office also has a second campaign to also take away fire arms from those carring them without a liscence.
A little research brought up another article from La Republica dated May 9, 2007 ("Students protest prohibition of make-up, miniskirts, earrings") in which - what do you know! - Mr. Santana Montero, with the collaboration of the directors of the César Nicolás Penson Politechnic all-girls school, sought to enforce a ban on make-up, mini-skirts and earrings by turning away any student seen arriving in school wearing them.
The policy, Santana Montero said then, “seeks to make education more decent and to put youth on the path to righteousness, the rescue of moral and spiritual values."
Sounds eerily like his current efforts.
On that occasion, though, it seems that the prosecutor and his police officers were actually run off the school grounds by a number of angry students who shouted "These are modern times! We don't want dictators! It's time for the miniskirt and if we are blocked from entering, we will throw stones at you!"
For two hours during the morning, students burned tires, erected barriers, threw stones and mangoes at the authorities until some of the girls that had been blocked from entering the school were allowed back in and the police officers agreed to leave. The school principal suspended twelve of the protesters in the aftermath.
As with the current anti-earring operation, the 2005 anti-miniskirt efforts were said to be backed by the church, neighborhood associations, parents associations, political parties and community groups worried about the loss of moral values in the province.
Must be the same despots who have kept Santana Montero in charge as a prosecutor two years after he was run off a girls high-school with his tails between his legs.
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