Thursday, February 17, 2011

Jamaica, Grow UP!

Photo from bestourism
"We want justice!"
"Fiyah fi Babylon!"

Jamaicans have this uncanny ability to express solidarity with the most questionable characters when it suits them, especially when said character, whom they would otherwise loathe, happens to be pitted against a person/group they find more unpalatable. They will hug up said character and love them gone to bed, just to spite the opponent, who bears the brunt of their greater 'despisement' (as my granny would call it).

They also have this maternal tendency to express everlasting solidarity with  'sons and daughters of the rock'. When convicted of a crime abroad, a 'yardie' can do no wrong. Even if said yardie did in fact do wrong, it had to be under some sort of dubious circumstance. The Jamaican psyche will create a malicious, ill-intended 'them' and swear on their dead granny's grave that this 'them' is fighting against yardies everywhere, including the uninvolved-except-in-my-mind 'me'. And this group of yardies everywhere, including the previously-uninvolved-now-fully-embroiled-in-the-struggle-for-freedom 'me', becomes transformed into the ever-righteous collective, commonly known as 'us'.

A bit much to take in? Read it again slowly. I promise you, it makes sense. And no, this has nothing to do with Buju Banton's trial, though I will admit that the reactions I have seen sort of prompted this train of thought.

So now we have an 'us' versus 'them' scenario, which easily and accurately describes the attitude civilians have towards police and other law enforcement officials/groups, politicians, government, 'the system', etc.

It's always 'us' - a disempowered, undderrepresented, uneducated, impoverished and unemployed majority - fighting against 'them' - a system, or a representative of a system of oppression, disenfranchisement, enslavement or unfair domination.

'Them' always have money, power and privilege on their side. And 'us'? 'Us' sit around waiting on 'them' to help us, bemoaning our condition and lamenting our pitiful situation; 'us' bear placards and scream for justice on national TV every night; 'us' bawl and grovel when we lose our sons and daughters to violence and crime ... but this same 'us' will curse the police and hug up the don who will come back later to demand sexual favours from our underaged daughter. 'Us' will curse the government and the injustice of the system, but still take the curry and rice to vote for the same incompetent party at election time. This is life for 'us'. And we can't see it getting any better.

Neither can I.

Not until 'us' realise that we don't have to choose the lesser of two evils - that we don't have to choose evil at all! Not until 'us' stop making excuses for our refusal to be empowered; not until 'us' learn to stop seeing ourselves as victims and reactors to any crap this government dishes out to us. Not until 'us' wake up, stand up, speak up ...

Egypt did it. And it worked! Tahrir Square will forever tell that story.

I've heard a lot of Jamaicans asking when our time for real, serious political change will come. I have a question of my own: When will 'us' stop blaming 'them', being afraid of 'them', and confront 'them' to let 'them' know, once and for all, that we demand better because we deserve better?

Next year (2012),  Jamaica will celebrate 50 years of being an independent nation, but unless we take Bob Marley's words to heart and emancipate ourselves from mental slavery, our jubilee will represent nothing more than a fleeting, insignificant figure on time's continuum ...

After 49 years, you'd hope we'd learnt the important lessons and, like the Apostle Paul admonished, put away childish things. It's time for 'us' to act our age. It's time for Jamaica to GROW UP!


Anonymous said...

I agree, but for wholly differently reasons. Regarding these, it's been what, 30 years since emancipation and a country with such a major influence on the world should be [ideally] further along on the road of post-colonisation because of our ability to succeed elsewhere, right? I mean, Jamaicans boast resourcefulness, don't they? Then again, it has taken most of the Europeans countries a great many years to get to the simple complexity they've achieved. Jamaica is being merely simple right now. This is all speculation mami - I don't follow JA politics/economy enough to know anything. Well-written.

Morpheus Rablings said...

There will be improvement when the Jamaican people, as a society, stop the tribalism, brutality, posturing and bias in their country.
The time for outrage has long past.

Faada Chatimout said...

Funny you decided to strikethrough the Buju comment. The media released a few videos last night, which purported to present the views of the "ordinary" Jamaican on Buju's conviction.

Your post here sums up well how I felt when I considered the views of the respondents.

Ruthibelle said...

thanks for the comments guys.