Thursday, August 20, 2015

That Beijing gift for Garvey

Observer column for MON 17 August 2015 by Jean Lowrie-Chin
Gold and Two Silvers! Victors Shelly-Ann, Kerron and Sherone
 As we look towards Beijing for the upcoming World Championships, I remember August 17, 2008 when my husband Hubie and I were there for the Olympics.  I remember saying on our way to the Bird’s Nest, “We have to get a Gold for Marcus Garvey’s birthday,”  a bit ambitious as we had already scored two Golds and there were rumours that young Shelley-Ann Fraser was not at her fittest. This was her big day – her first Olympic 100-metres final, along with team mates Sherone Simpson and Kerron Stewart.
We were on our feet even before the starter’s gun, and as they stormed to the finish with our ‘Pocket Rocket’ in the lead, we shouted, “One-Two-Three!” But a Russian looked at the board and shouted back, “No Jamaica!  It is ONE-TWO-TWO!”  Later, as we stood teary-eyed for Jamaica’s National Anthem, two Jamaican flags made their way up the poles, as it had not been even imagined that they would need three. (The London Olympics took the lesson for the Bolt-Blake-Weir One-Two-Three).

And so, I returned to our hotel to blog on this historic event, and to write a birthday tribute to our Hero. I went to the Marcus Garvey website, and there in the masthead was a medal on a ribbon, and the words, “Look for me in the whirlwind”! In awe I wrote, “I want to believe that our Gold and Silver medals are special birthday gifts to this great Jamaican.”  

Garvey says, “Keep Cool”

 On the same website is this poem by Garvey, timely advice for politicians on both sides who seem to be losing their cool:
Let no trouble worry you;
Keep cool, keep cool!
Don't get hot like some folk do,
Keep cool, keep cool!
What's the use of prancing high
While the world goes smiling by.
You can win if you would try,
Keep cool, keep cool.

And so, let us remember this great philosopher of the twentieth century who influenced so many other legends including Dr Martin Luther King Jr.  It was the wise Ken Jones who left us last month, who distilled some of Garvey’s finest quotes in the book, “Marcus Garvey said .. Up You Mighty Race! You Can Accomplish What You Will,” and recorded his call to leaders to give their people “a sense of dignity and destiny”.

Let us hope that today will be a day of reflection on these words for our leaders, some of whom have saddened us with their disrespect. The accounting will be harsh for those who call themselves representatives of a people who are in a state of fear and despair, and long for protection and prospects.

1 comment: