This is  the second in a series of blogs I will write on the question of whether it was worth it for Jamaica to have gained its Independence from Britain, its former colonial occupier .

The first short blog was merely a question that dealt briefly with the hunger and hardship issue which is so much a part of daily life in Jamaica, I was almost moved to tears on reading the comments of  an elderly lady in the Jamaican Gleaner, on the occasion of the approach of the last hurricane.She told the on site reporter that she was only able to purchase a candle and  lighter, she was unable to purchase a single item of food , or even a gallon of drinking water , the most basic of necessities that are required to sustain life during and after a natural disaster.

This particular lady touched my heart as I remembered the aftermath of hurricane Gilbert and the desperation that ensued, when drinking water was a scarce commodity, most of us ended up in Cherry gardens , lining up in that community, at a life saving artery of water that seemed to have come out of nowhere.It is an accepted reality  that the very poor will always be here with us , or at least we are resigned to those realities,Jesus is reported in the Bible to have accepted those realities when he famously told his disciples quote”the poor will always be here with us ,”end quote,but does it mean that people should go to bed without food, or as is in the case of this lady, facing an impending natural disaster ,should she  face it without any survival tools in place?.

You may ask , Mike what the hell does all this have to do with Jamaica’s Independence?, well, I think it is important for us to talk about these things within the context of where we were  50 years ago , as against  where we are today , almost a half a century after we were forced to let go of the proverbial apron strings. I feel it is important for us to stop for a while and measure the progress we have made, if any , identify what we did right, what we did wrong, and chart a course forward commensurate with the changing realities of this new century.

The result of a recent study published in the Jamaica daily Gleaner indicated that a majority of Jamaicans are of the view they were better off under the Colonial dictates of Britain.That position has to be looked at within the context of where each individual is in their life ,and the context in which the person answered the question, say for example on the pressing issue of crime and violence, it would be premature to jump on anyone who argue they were better off under colonial rule, from that  perspective.

In the Old Testament the children of Israel reportedly rebelled against Moses and his brother Aaron ,in the desert when they had no water, even though they had witnessed the miracles God performed in order to release them from the Pharaoh’s clutches, they were instead guided by their immediate  needs , which was tantamount to , yes we saw all of that but we are humans and we have no water,The children of Israel rebelled over water , food, and everything they could complain about , and like Jamaicans of today ,they argued they were better off under the Pharaoh’s oppressive rule, choosing to forget hundreds of years  of abuse in order  to satisfy the urgent needs of now.

Well for those of us who insist the Bible is an outdated book of fables, I am not a PhD, neither am I an archeologist,not a historian, not even a theologian so I can present no scientific data to back up my Biblical quotes, however if you are one who scoff at  Jesus freaks like me, there may still be a value in the story of the children of Israel ‘trek from Egypt, to the land of Palestine , a journey which should have taken them 11 days took them 40 year, because they kept their eyes on the past rather than embrace the prospect of the future, they eventually lost their way .Subsequently not one who had set out from Egypt set foot in the land of Palestine.

One does not have to sacrifice his or her  intellect or scientific education, in order to appreciate  the simple parallels that are inherent in the two stories . Until next time.

mike beckles:

have your say: