A friend urged me to be thankful for Bruce Golding and stop beating up on his pandering to popular opinion and his plodding, indecisive approach to solving the nation’s critical problems. She said if it wasn’t for Bruce and his “honourable” team, Jamaica would still be under the three-inch-heel pumps of the Most Honourable and the plague of sevens, and entering the second decade of ginnalship. What’s the difference I asked? One is into sevens and the other into the seventh day, said she.
The Golding-led administration has served to at least confirm one thing: Jamaica’s salvation is not to be found in the leadership of any of those parties or politicians who have become tainted by the toxic environment of corruption. They are bereft of ideas, their methods of operation are the same old stale, uninspired tactics, they are still underestimating the will of the Jamaican people and they have not seen the future. Jamaica needs leaders with vision, stated objectives and well thought-out strategies on how to achieve these. In this respect all our leaders have failed us miserably.
In the meantime, a quiet revolution is taking place in Jamaica under their very noses.
There is increasing public debate about social issues such as gun ownership, homosexuality, abortion, the death penalty, gambling, crime, corruption, poverty, illiteracy, environmental degradation and human rights abuses, lewd lyrics, teenage sex, and just a whole bungle of issues that suggest there is an undercurrent developing that could come to a boil at the top some time soon. After long silence under the former regime, disappointment is causing the blind to see and the dumb and erstwhile besotted to finally speak. The nation needs to find itself after close to fifty years of trying to come to terms with its identity. At the moment the intensity of the undertow is imperceptible, but fomenting discontent could gather mass and develop into a powerful wave, challenging the political and religious establishments.
Economic shockwaves are still reverberating around the planet. Perhaps the world thought the final conflict would be a war fought with tanks or missiles, but the world is being brought to its knees, crippled because of greed and humankind in hot and relentless pursuit of Mammon. We are seeing the death throes of an epoch when acquisition was the planet’s primary pasttime, but are even now witnessing the birth pangs of another era which may just be beneficial to the social evolution of humankind. The geopolitical forces that determine world supremacy has placed China at the top of the food chain, and Communist dictates still hold sway in China, for all those who have forgotten. The whole world is in complete disarray, not just economically, but political ideologies are also in meltdown mode, and we are witnessing it real time. Remember the apocalyptic statement “And every eye shall see Him”? The one we sneered at in Sunday school because it just didn’t make sense? Well, all this and more are now possible with some highly developed technology we can scarcely imagine, since GPS — for all those who still marvel — was old hat over two decades ago.
How the world will handle the financial meltdown remains to be seen. Will the nations unite, you in your small corner, and I in mine? Or is this a time when our basest instincts will trigger the survival mode, and then, only of the fittest? The West had witnessed — with some gloating –the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1991, and the world now stands astounded at the final convulsions of unbridled capitalism. What will prevail? And in our small corner, how soon will it be before Jamaica’s disembodied voices of disenchantment speak as one?
I am reminded of a passage in a novel that was required reading for high school French Literature, one which our tutor declared we had to learn by heart. In his great epic Germinal, Emile Zola delivers a damning indictment of mining conditions in nineteenth century France, as he chronicles the misfortunes of the oppressed miners and their families driven to breaking point by the prevailing harsh conditions and insensitive and greedy overseers. The pervasive darkness and gloom of the mines and the leaden sky is broken only in the final paragraph, when hope and renewal comes in the form of Zola’s ominous prophetic warning:
“On this youthful morning, in the fiery rays of the sun, the whole country was alive with the sound. Men were springing up, a black avenging host was slowly germinating in the furrows, thrusting upwards for the harvests of future ages. And very soon their germination would crack the earth asunder.”