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Home Features We shouldn’t be thinking too much about September celebrations

We shouldn’t be thinking too much about September celebrations

About this serious increase in COVID-19 cases in our country, our authorities can say, “we told you so; we warned you”, and we could say, “well, yes, but you opened the bars, and you gave the green light to the parties, and yes, you opened the churches so they could carry on with their high-spirited praising.” We let down our guard, and now the virus is so dispersed everywhere that it could be labeled endemic.

We have heard people who caught the disease say how hard they tried to prevent catching it, so we know how difficult it is to stay safe. This disease, it’s like trouble. You know the story about trouble. Only a fool goes out looking for it, because you’re only speeding up the inevitable. If it’s trouble you want, just wait, it’s going to find you, and when you do, you’ll wish it never found you.

We, collectively, really must have a little more discipline and a little more creativity and a little more willingness to accept change. So, we lived for the weekend games and the late evening camaraderie at the bar, and now we have to give those up, for a while. All of us could end up on a deserted island or lost bak a bush or having to hole up somewhere because the police have faulty evidence on us and the only way we can avoid going to jail is if we remain on the lam until the person with the evidence to prove our innocence agrees to come forward.

Many things could happen to force us out of circulation for a while. In the case of this pandemic, slowing down on the extracurricular allows us the opportunity to sneak out and earn enough to keep food on our table. We know all the good reasons why we have to lie low. This September, our biggest month for celebration, we have to choose what’s good for the nation. This September we should just put out our flags, listen to the patriotic songs, and kip wi batam cool. It’s just for a while.

We gots to satta for a while, because the disease is upon us again, and this time it is far worse than it was before. In less than 3 weeks we have recorded 40-plus times more cases than the 18 which we recorded in the first wave. Gradually the restrictions are tightening, and they will get tighter if we don’t make a greater effort to contain the virus, because our country cannot handle a lot of sick people at one time, not to mention the number of people who will die if we lose total control.

At this point in time, it could go either way. The numbers are down since our worst three days, 15th to 18th August, when we recorded 165 new cases. The total number of new cases, from August 20 to August 22, was 113, and the total number of new cases for August 23 to August 25, was 62. We cannot read too much into those numbers, because the system of testing is not consistent, but we are in too desperate a position now to not buoy ourselves with the possibility that things might be turning for the better.

A ray of hope is good. We must not do anything to dim the light, maku. Let’s follow all the safety measures that the experts have recommended. And let’s keep the celebration thing under control.

Marcus had to focus on the main prize

Marcus Mosiah Garvey was a very complex person, the type of person they would call imperfect. Whoever you are, it doesn’t matter your religion, your level of education, your color, your culture, your economic philosophy, you can find something to pick on Marcus about. I don’t buy everything Marcus said and did, but I recognize that in regard to some things, including the most important thing, this was a great, intelligent man, indeed a Moses.

Marcus didn’t want to integrate with whites. I think he arrived at this position because racist whites in the US didn’t want black people in their neighborhood, and he knew that racist whites would continue lynching his people if he insisted on integration. He believed that black people should make their own businesses. I read somewhere that in the early 1900s, black people owned 1% of the businesses in America, and today black people own 2% of the businesses in America.

Marcus was suspicious about people who looked payl kaypm like me. I think he arrived at that position because in the Caribbean and Belize we give points based on the color of the skin…the lighter the better. In truth, facial features and hair texture count as much or more than skin color in our part of the world. The more Caucasoid you look, di betta, the straighter your hair, di betta.

Marcus told black people who weren’t mixed with whites or browns that they were beautiful. Marcus told black people to get the kinks out of their heads and appreciate the kinks in their hair. Marcus refused to advertise products to lighten the complexion or straighten the hair in his newspaper.

They say that before you can love someone you must love yourself. It shouldn’t be so hard for people to understand that. The lighter-skinned Blacks, just like the Inca, Maya, Aztec, and Plains Indians of the Americas, are phenotypically closer to the Jesus ideal that the Europeans brought than the Ibo and Ashanti tribes of Africa that were uprooted and brought here. The white man still rules, so the white man’s rules run the show. Imagine how it was a hundred years ago when Marcus lived.

I don’t see in the literature where Marcus made any special attempts to save the Maya or the Native American Indians from the white supremacists. He had too much on his hands to uplift his tribe from a state of total degradation. We can pick at Marcus for so many things, for his aversion to socialism, an economic philosophy which, had he embraced it, would have given his white enemies the excuse they needed to destroy his organization.

Marcus knew the white racists were too powerful in America, too powerful for him to fight head on, so he approached the most racist of their elements and made common ground. He supported separation, and he angled to take the more accomplished, untainted-by-the-white-man Blacks, to settle in Africa.

Of course, we know what retreating got our Plains Indian brothers. The white ancestor man kept making them promises if they gave up space, and then more white people came and made them promises if they would retreat to another space, until all the fertile lands were owned by white people and the Plains Indians were confined to what our Guatemalan brothers call “barreal”. When you’re on barreal your generations are condemned to poverty.

Sometimes I think about how Marcus would have carried on his vision if he had been born a hundred years later, if he was a contemporary of ours, but I’ll leave that for another time. The guy is just flat out brilliant. From his home Jamaica, and everywhere he went, to Central America, to the USA, he was a force for the dignity of black people at a time when the white people really felt that they were superior.

Of course there are white men who still feel that they are blessed with more gifts than the rest of us. Such men who think that way are the complete jackasses, but they have the bomb, so they get away with their nonsense.

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