Okay, so we just had a major state holiday with celebrations to commemorate Jamaica’s independence from British rule and 47 years of nationhood. But wait, the celebrations aren’t finished. On Thursday we all get another holiday; this time we’re commemorating the day, forever etched in history, when Jamaican slaves would be set free. Well, yeaaahhhh, it’s nice to have holidays, but who, besides the politicians, are celebrating?
I visit The Jamaica Observer this morning and the headlines informs me that there were over 13 murders during the weekend, that’s right, 13 murders between Friday and Sunday. So my question is, what are we really celebrating?
Well, physical slavery and British rule aside, are we truly emancipated? Tough one, isn’t it? Can a culture that is so steeped in a ghetto mentality, where crime is accepted, (yes, we gripe about it, cuss the government, lock our doors and hide under the bed, but it seems here to stay), corruption is the way of life, and everyone looks out for “numero uno,” be truly free.
Remember folks, crime begins as a thought. So what’s there to celebrate if we harbor resentment and vengefulness towards our fellow man, a mentality that we are more important than the next person, and far superior to our environment. How can we be emancipated if we see ourselves as lacking and having to beg and borrow from others (it is not just the ghetto residents who engage in this).
We are a nation of dependence on others. Friends depend on each other to help them out, and nothing is wrong with that. But, when you have a culture where children beg in the streets, school children beg their peers for food, folks depend upon the support of their families living overseas, and the government sells us out to the IMF, then there’s something very wrong.
I love these words attributed to Marcus Mosiah Garvey and immortalized by Bob Marley in his “Redemption Song,” “Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery;
None but ourselves can free our mind.” Actually the entire song shows a gradual shift from overcoming physical slavery to the need to overcome the mental one. Marley’s song transcends era, prevailing politics, and race, and stands timeless for all eternity.
So, during this joyous week-long celebration, who celebrates? Well, it’s the politicians who set a great example for a fiercely Christian nation by going to church, a few people pass the time away not caring one way or the other, while the rest of us go out and commit murder.
Come on, folks, “emancipate yourselves from mental slavery.”