In August Jamaica celebrates its 55th year of independence from England. Our independence celebration has always been a time of great pride. Even those Jamaicans who have travelled to distant countries and have adopted those countries as home cannot help but remember Jamaica at this time with gleaming pride.
Over the past 55 years our tiny island has endured devastating hurricanes, endless droughts and crippling floods. We have survived natural epidemics and others that only the good Lord knows if they were natural or genetically engineered. The Chick V and the Chick Z mosquito viruses are a few examples. Jamaicans have been left baffled and dazed years after we overcame and recovered from these diseases and their peculiar symptoms. Looking back, we still don’t have a clue what some of these diseases were or how to pronounce some of them.
The Jamaican Spirit has Triumphed
The invincible Jamaican spirit has not only survived but triumphed. Jamaica, a tiny almost inconspicuous dot on the world’s map, has had the audacity to challenge the great athletes of the world. We have completely dominated Track and Field consistently year after year leaving the so called world’s favourite in the dust . We have been presumptious enough to try to dominate boseld, a winter sport. That one, I am still trying to figure out, because Jamaicans begin to freeze to death if the temperature falls below 69 degrees Fahrenheit.
Additionally, Jamaicans have taken the dreadlock, a hairstyle, that was traditionally taboo and negatively stereotyped in Western countries and mainstreamed it into a contemporary fashion statement that has swept the entire world while still preserving its cultural and religious heritage. That is, a symbol of African pride.
Jamaica has wooed the world with its music. In so much that people who cannot speak English can speak the language of Bob Marley’s timeless music. They come from all corners of the world chanting the melodies of the king of Reggae.
Finally, in our 55 years as an independent nation we have shown the world the strength of a people united by love, one love. Happy Birthday Jamaica or as our Rastafarians would say, Bless-up on your Earthstrong! I am waiting with great anticipation for the future contributions to the world.