Leave the National Heroes List As Is
In a recent article, “A New National Hero”, the writer sought to build an argument that of all the people put forward as possible candidates, Miss Lou would be most deserving of the title. I agree that if any, Miss Lou, hands down should be made a national hero, but re the writers take on Bob Marley…
He noted that heroes are not spotless… Bob would be a perfect example. His influence is, beyond question, one of the strongest in the world. His ganja smoking and multiple partner habits are synonymous with the Rasta culture, and our society. I gather that the thought process here is that by not highlighting Bob as a national hero, we will be able to downplay his “unacceptable” habits, and therefore protect our kids from thinking that it is something to emulate.
That is comparable to the scare tactics once employed by mothers, who used to tell their menstruating daughters how much they are cursed, and would get pregnant if they so much as looked at a man too hard, desired him in a certain manner or held the hand of a boy, much less kiss.
This idea of hiding the facts to mold and control the thought process of our children and society is wrong, and has the potential to backfire. But then again, how much do we really pay attention to these standards we try to establish? Bob is not hero now, but ganja smoking, womanizing and having ‘plenty pickney’ with different women are entrenched behaviors in our society. It is a cultural thing, not a Bob thing. It existed before Bob was born. He adopted a behavior he learnt from his elders. The “opulent” of society and the religious community may have looked down on such behaviors, and spoke against it, but keeps happening any way.
Will not promoting Bob as a national hero stop this behavior?
Will promoting him cause it to be viewed as the norm, and then to escalate even more in our society?
Would it be too farfetched to use those aspects of Bob’s life we deem unacceptable, to educate our children about the acceptable standards?
Double Standard Laws
In the name of righteousness, society tends to develop some double standard and ridiculous policies to “protect” or “better” the lives of our citizens. The use of the age of consent as a birth control method is one such example. In 1962, it was legal for a 14-year-old girl to say yes to sex. Admittedly, that was before we had control of our own governance, but it remained in place for 26 more years. In 1988, the Parliament raised it to 16. That is ridiculous on both counts.
The legal age for marriage in Jamaica is 18, but a 16 year old can also get married with parental consent. Common-law relationships are far more prevalent in our society, so a sixteen-year-old girl, even while in school, has the right to go off on her own, get married or shack up (whatever the case may be), and start having kids once the parents consent. Good parenting is a huge problem in Jamaica. It means therefore that many parents do not mind their sixteen year old having sex, getting pregnant and living with a man. Bob has nothing to do with that. The law of the land and cultural habits do.
I had no idea that at age fourteen it was my legal rights to have sex if I chose to do so. I always thought age 18 was the legal age for all that. The values taught within the family, school and church made it seem like age 18 was when kids could really take control of their lives, but even then, we were told it was best to complete our education and get a career before starting a family. That did not resonate with every teen, and many started having kids even before they got to the age of consent.
Back to Bob as a National Hero
There is a reason the CIA and local political leaders went after Bob, and that had to do with his ability to get people to think and reject the political brainwashing of the “Babylonian System.” His reach was, and continues to be global. Had people continued to develop a thought process that was independent of political persuasion, the JLP and PNP would have never been able to find foot soldiers to carry out the strong-arm tactics, shedding of blood and building of ghettos that they engaged in for political gain.
As the older people and history often relate, Jamaica was a very strong moral nation. The unity was strong, until dirty politics came along.
In my book, we ought to leave the heroes list as it is, and create a second strong category for notable icons like Bob and Miss Lou.
Edward Seaga and Michael Manley
I have seen these two politicians come up for mention as national heroes. This is only possible if we have no morals or sense of justice and equality. Unravel their ills and compare it to that of Bob, and one will find that their reign as Prime Ministers are the only real reasons they are even suggested. For all the good they did, they caused the shedding of blood and infliction of poverty on the people of this nation, which should have long earned them a reward of shame and imprisonment. The 1970s was a terrible period for this nation, and these two were the ones at the helm. In a bid for power, these politicians engaged in crimes against their fellow countrymen by mentally enslaving and dividing Jamaicans, who once fought on a united front for their freedom.
It is best to leave JLP and PNP diehard supporters to flesh out the ills of each leader. It is good to tune in to the Patrick Atkinson versus Bruce Golding war of words that is now taking place as they take on the moral authority of the US to sanction any other country for acts against humanity.
Human Rights and Justice is Only Real if People are Realistic
Many fool themselves into thinking that channeling the wrongs committed, and the bloodshed caused by one man under a carpet marked with a particular title makes him any better than another man whose criminal acts we are quick to expose. Not making Bob a hero will not make him righteous or his “unacceptable’ acts any less visible.
In the same manner, promoting these politicians as heroes will not make the wrongs they did and make them disappear. This nation lives with the results every day, even though one has passed and the other retired.
Good Deeds Do Not Cover Sin
It is folly for us to think that our leaders can merely do “good deeds” and have their evil expunged and forgotten even while the children of this nation, generations later, continue to reel from the effects of their actions. Are their lives and reputations any more precious or valuable than the many who died or the youths and fathers who formed their illegal army?
Is it right to label those youths as gunmen, rats, the scum of society, ghetto youths, dons and gangsters, but promote those who hired them as heroes?
Who is Fighting the War on Crime?
It is our very own sons, daughters, husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, friends and cousins who the state has to employ to try and control the runaway, out-of-control “rats” who are now over running this nation. Our loved ones are the ones out there on the frontline trading bullets with these youths who sprung up to continue the acts of the illegal political armies. The argument that they are now doing their wrongs for their own gains does not annul the reason for their genesis in the first place. How many politicians children are in the army or the police force?
Bruce Golding’s actions are fresh in the minds of Jamaicans. Many want to see him charged for the 74 citizens who died during the Tivoli incursion. What is the number for which Manley and Seaga would be responsible during the 70s and beyond? Shouldn’t they join Golding on the chopping blocks? Shouldn’t we have a commission of enquiry into the roles various politicians played in the death and mayhem that has rocked this nation over the years?
Imagine presenting these people to the world as heroes, then having their backgrounds exposed.
Keep the names of politicians off any list of suggested possibilities for the crowning as a national hero. Leave the list of heroes as is. When the right time comes, an undisputed hero will rise, and it may not be during our lifetime.
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