It is said, that ‘A King, has no honour in his own Country’. Sadly, this seems to be the historic case here in Jamaica, when it comes to treating with its own Heroes, be they International, National, or Folk Heroes.
On Thursday, 17th August, (A few days ago), the world celebrated the 136th anniversary of the birth, of International Human Rights Campaigner, Pan-Africanist, Visionary, and National Hero, Marcus Mosiah Garvey. But if you were in Jamaica and expecting some kind of fanfare to herald Garvey’s birthday, then you would have been, seriously disappointed, as there was no official commemoration to mark the occasion.
Not that there was no commemoration, as there were a number of such events, but these were, for the most part, low-keyed events, organized by existing Garveite Societies and or other related organizations.
Clearly, the message of Garvey, that rallied and united Africans at home and abroad, was of no little import or significance, to the Political directorate, so it was treated with scant regard and mostly Official disrespect.
Not that this is new, as this Government still harbours within its ranks, some, whose self-hatred, is in direct contradiction to the doctrine of self-love and the universal brotherhood of Africans; and others who despite being descendants of the plantation, seek to identify as White, or worse, ‘Brown, as they are desperate to distance themselves from their blackness.
That Marcus Garvey was unapologetically black, unabashedly Afro-centric, and, unashamedly pan-Africanist – All the things that the pretentious bourgeois Jamaican identifies with, explain their disdain and the studious ignorance they adopt in matters relating to Garvey and or Blacness.
It seems that all Garvey wanted, for his fellow Africans back home in Africa and Scattered across the diaspora, was that they shared or opened themselves up to accept the Knowledge which empowered and liberated him from groveling, at the feet, pillars, and or shrines, established to glorify cultural and historical thieves, who had cloaked themselves in Black History, as if it were their own, whilst subjugating Blacks to a life that was less than.
In his magnanimity, and to his eternal credit as a humanist, Marcus Garvey, did not preach revenge, retribution, or even sought reparations. His platform was ‘Africa For Africans, At Home and Abroad’. So repatriation was his working mantra and fuelled his Black-Star-Line Shipping company, established under the aegis of the UNIA (Universal Negro Improvement Association), The Black Star Line, was about supporting the repatriation, of Africans, to Africa.
That Marcus Garvey became the Most feared Blackman in the United States and Globally, was no accident, as his message resonated with the dispossessed blacks across the United States and the World. No wonder that to silence him, the US Government Trumped up charges of Mail-Fraud, to secure a criminal conviction to both silence and intimidate him. That the conviction still stands, today speaks to the ineffectual Foreign Policies of those who would claim to be custodians and or Guardians of the Legacy, of Jamaica’s First National Hero Marcus-Mosiah Garvey – the little Black boy from St. Ann, whose global advocacy, reordered the world.