|The color of independence|
|Friday, 27 April 2012 11:25|
Spring is here, and so, it seems, is the silly season. What other explanation is there for the recent "flag fiasco" in Jamaica, where a basic color in the nation's flag was deliberately eliminated from the decor of a swearing-in ceremony for local government representatives of Montego Bay.
The newly christened mayor Glendon Harris of the People's National Party (PNP) explained the decision, stating that the decorator had run out of green material. But for many public officials, the omission of the color, coincidently the same campaign color of the opposition Jamaica Labor Party (JLP), is too much of a coincidence.
Although the choice to leave out green from the patriotic decorations may at first seem trivial, the decision reflects the depth of the political tribalism Jamaica has descended to. It is sad that this incident occurred during the 50th year of Jamaica's independence – a milestone in maturity. This incident however, followed by the mayor's inept excuses, smacks of pettiness.
Jamaica's two-party system has been a key part of Jamaica's vibrant democracy since 1944. However, having two strong political parties does not mean the country should be divided into two political tribes. This cannot bode well for the advancement of the country.
It must be recognized that both parties and their respective leaders made substantial contributions to the nation since independence. It is irresponsible and ultimately destructive when a party gains power and then seeks to vilify or erase the progress and credit of the former administration. Political passions cannot usurp national pride.
The Jamaican flag is also a very sacred symbol of Jamaica's independence. The flag was the first sign of independence that Jamaicans saw on that fateful day of August 6, 1962, when the lights in the national stadium were relit. The emotions Jamaicans felt seeing the green, gold and black waving in the night breeze for the first time cannot be replicated.
The design of the Jamaican flag is also due to the tremendous collaboration of a patriotic, bi-partisan committee, the same group that also selected other national symbols. The vibrant tri-color design was created without the slightest reference to political parties or ideologies. The colors were meant to be a perennial national message: gold representing sunshine and natural resources, black representing the strength and creativity of the people, and green signifying the land and also hope for the future.
Why would any Jamaican leader want to eliminate the color that represents hope for the future, when this is what Jamaicans hope for most of all?
A nation's flag is the heart and soul of its people, a symbol to be revered. In contrast, it would be profoundly unpatriotic to eliminate the stars or stripes from a replica of the American flag.
Despite this fiasco, the government should nonetheless be commended for its efforts to provide protocol training for the appropriate use of Jamaica's national symbols.
However, this incident also proves that civics lessons must be reinstated without delay in Jamaican schools, as there seems to be a general lack of understanding and appreciation for the meaning of these national symbols. A nation has no idea where it is heading, if it cannot grasp the meaning of its history.
Photo Credit: Jamaicans.com
|Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 May 2012 11:02|