Liberating Tribalized Colours!

The bottom line is that, as a student at the St. Mary High school in the 80s there were times when I was scared of walking on the streets in my green uniform!

Afraid that they would not understand…. that I was merely following school rules…the uniform must be green…it said so on the form that they gave to my mother when I passed the test…green if you are on the morning shift and yellow if you are on the evening shift…

Then they merged the shifts and got rid of the yellow….they kept the green…and as country –  people….who were mainly children of farmers and tillers of the soil….we thought…”green for the grass and lush mountains and plains…green for the trees and the herbs and the abundance caused by  the rains.

The bottom-line is that, many of us soon grew scared…especially during elections…it didn’t matter which one…and we came to see the colour green for what it was…no one cared that this was the same colour green as in the flag.

country divided by political partyThe bottom-line is that the flag, our national symbol was sacred and for the time being untouchable but we in green uniforms were running scared.

The bottom-line is that …..for many of us who came of age in the 80s no one bothered telling us that the green was merely a colour. We knew through the emotive narratives, interactions with our school mates,our politician representatives,our Councillors,our civil servants that green and orange were actually powerful symbols of loyalty and control. We knew that green was not a colour. Orange was not a colour and we marvelled at the jocular way in which Mr. Manley and Mr Seaga defended the colours. We trembled at the might of the presence of the colours green or orange in any public space. We shivered in our boots and some of us wet ourselves when we ran into groups of men and women wearing green or orange….so powerful was the narrative and that was the 80s.

The bottom-line is that, many of our politicians, public servants and so called leaders…came of age in the 80s and they have self – organized and emerged into weapons of mass tribalistic thoughts and actions…fed to them not in 2007 …but long before that…..

The bottom line is that if it is that we will only take action at this point….at the manifestation point of the kidnapping of the green from the flag,then we are doomed,hopeless and poised to self destruct… as we loop back on ourselves …and stifle…. in this fetid putrid tribalistic atmosphere!

The bottom-line is that, there is no shame in going back to the past to retrieve that which we have lost, and some of us may have to return to the 80s …some to the 70s , some to the 60s…some to the 90s….to rid our selves of our tribalistic selves, and to test our own attitudes against  party politics, politicians and colours. To say to ourselves, we too are part of the problem, because we didn’t say anything, or do anything, because we were afraid when they began to re – tribalize us in 1962, calling it independence.

They’ve got a nerve…calling it independence!!

The bottom-line is that, this is not a linear situation; we cannot reduce Jamaica’s tribal crisis to one single act of the kidnapping of the green from the flag….

The bottom-line is that…Jamaica’s tribal crisis is wrapped in the very fabric that stitched the green uniforms which we proudly wore to St. Mary High school….it is tightly wounded in every seed… in every orange… which was ever cut down in tribal warfare in the 70s ..and then in the 80s…… it is coded in the genome of every green shirt every worn by Mr. Bustamante….Mr. Shearer…Mr. Sangster…Mr. Seaga…Mr. Golding…Mr. Holness.

The bottom line is that, Jamaica’s tribal crisis cannot be reduced to one single act of the capture of  the green from the Jamaican flag……it is stitched in every seam of every orange shirt… ever donned by Mr. Norman Manley…Mr. Michael Manley….Mr. P.J. Patterson…and now…Mrs. Portia Simpson miller.

The bottom line is that, the thinking which allowed and enabled anyone to snatch the green from the flag…was not spontaneously conceived last week….it has been fomenting for the last 50 years…even as we celebrated  those same 50 years in spectacularly tribalistic fashion.

The bottom line is that, the thinking that allowed the snatching of the green from the flag, came from the same place that facilitated the division of this country and its people along tribal party lines, (PNP and JLP, prisoners in our own minds).

The bottom line is that, reducing our tribal crisis to one single act of taking the green in the flag hostage is to ignore the big picture…..of how we all… collectively and collaboratively… created the space…the place… and the time of the hostage taking… of the colour green …from our national symbol!!

 The bottom-line is that….those of us who would liberate the colour green, must also be willing to liberate the colour orange, and be even more willing to liberate ourselves!

That’s the bottom line….

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