“A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.” – Marcus Garvey
That’s exactly what Jamaica has become, a tree without roots. Not only is the beautiful island without roots, it is without a trunk or branches, just a bunch of stems and leaves blowing in the wind. The fertile island has nothing planted in solid ground, nothing firm, nothing solid; it is like a house that is built on sand. A country with no idea where it is coming from, no idea where it is going, it just goes where the trade wind goes; trade winds that are controlled by the United States, the United Kingdom, Spain and China. The island loaded with talent is ravaged with crime, violence and poverty. A far cry for the “One God. One Aim. One Destiny” taught to us by Marcus Garvey.
Jamaica started losing its roots when it turned its back on the fertile land, farming and farmers. Forgetting the days when we would farm the land and take our products to the markets to sell and barter. The days when “grow what you eat and eat what you grow” was more than a slogan, it was a way of life. The days when every child in primary school would read the Evan Jones’ poem “Song of the Banana man”. The poem spoke of a white tourist who met a farmer at a market in Portland and the tourist started looking and talking down to the farmer. The farmer put the tourist in his place by letting him know how proud he was for farming his land and providing for himself and his family. Those days are gone. Today, Jamaica which is made up of 99% Blacks are nothing but modern day slaves working in the kitchen and cleaning hotel rooms at the white owned tourist resorts on the island.
Jamaica turned its back on the farmer man in the Evan Jones’ poem in order to appease the white tourist in the poem. So instead of a land of farming we have become a land of tourism. Yes, cleaning up after Europeans and North Americans is how the average Jamaican eats his/her bread. We no longer eat what we grow, we eat what we import. Go into a mega-mart in Jamaica and it is exactly like a Wal-Mart in the United States, just a lot more expensive.
Jamaica has turned her back on her great leaders like Marcus Garvey and forgotten all that he taught us. Jamaica has allowed the world to tell her who her greatest leaders are, instead of the other way around. In a recent post, a lady commented that she has traveled the world from France to Australia and every time she tells someone she is from Jamaica, their response is “Bob Marley, One love”. That’s great but are Jamaicans when in these situations, taking the time to say, “do you know that One Love phrase is actually from Marcus Garvey?” There is nothing wrong in letting the world know about other great Jamaicans. The late Whitney Houston’s greatest song ever is “I will always love” but a white American will be quick to tell you that it was written by Dolly Parton. Why? Because they are proud of their Dolly and rightfully so. Marcus Garvey is just too Black for most Jamaicans.
Why isn’t Jamaica equally proud of Marcus Garvey? After all, this is the great Marcus Garvey that told us to emancipate ourselves from mental slavery, because while others can free our bodies, only us can free our minds. Could it be that subconsciously, Jamaica don’t like being represented by a man like Marcus Garvey because of some of the things he said, that would surely make the average potential tourist uncomfortable? Or is Marcus Garvey just too Black for Jamaicans?
Vybz Kartel had a song where he said he felt “nice like Jamaica in the seventies”. The reason why Jamaica was nice in the seventies is because farming ran the country at that time. Tourism has destroyed Jamaica. Now Jamaica has the most bleaching per capita because Jamaicans want to look like the tourists. They have grown to be ashamed and afraid of their melanin. Now young, strong men don’t want to farm the land because they are playing hide and seek with the sun; and they can’t use a machete and fork while holding an umbrella over their heads. So they turn to scamming and when that dried up they turned to the guns, where not even women and children are being spared.
Now as the blood is flowing on Jamaican streets like a toxic spill, a great number of Jamaicans are shouting “free world boss”, a cry for the release of a convicted murderer.
Crime drives poverty and while we are in no way trying to make excuses for the island, it is a fact, that poverty is the number one reason for most of Jamaica’s crimes.
Jamaica needs to go back to the days when farming was the primary source of the economy and tourism was secondary. We have to learn to be self sufficient and self reliant. If we cannot or if we refuse to do that, then we all know what Marcus Garvey said would happen:
“…if you are not prepared to do it then you will DIE. You race of cowards, you race of imbeciles, you race of good for-nothings, if you cannot do what other men have done, what other nations have done, what other races have done, THEN YOU WILL DIE.” – Marcus Garvey