Posts from — May 2008
The last time I heard the phrase from Wacky kill Phillup, I wasn’t in Jamaica or even around Jamaicans–I was in Panama. Many Jamaicans and other Caribbeanites went to Panama to work in the building of the canal in the early part of the last century. The descendants of those workers have kept alive many of the traditions and customs that were brought to the canal zone. Fueled by revenues from the canal, Panama looks prosperous and progressive. There is a building boom: skyscrapers dot the downtown skyline. Donald Trump is building a tower there. Americans, especially retirees, are flocking to the place in droves as the country has rolled out the red carpet to attract them. Driving around Panama city, I saw one sign that would ease any retiree’s worries about living outside the US: a hospital with the words “a subsidiary of John Hopkins University Hospital.” Overall, I had a wonderful time connecting with relatives and meeting members of this less publicized segment of the Diaspora. Interestingly, many of these descendants had never been to Jamaica but sounded as if they had just landed from Kingston or Mobay. Jamaica would do well to copy some of Panama’s marketing strategies.
May 22, 2008 5 Comments
The county I live in is offering a course on how to set up a system for diverting rainwater from your roof into a container or barrel. We are in year two of a serious drought and water restrictions have left many lawns and businesses in trouble, despite occasional rain. I have not rushed to adopt this “new” system of catching water. You see it is not entirely new me. When I was growing up in the parish of St. Ann in Jamaica, we had drums that stored rainwater. Later, as our lives improved, we built a large concrete tank in the backyard complete with gutters that drained into it. We even had a manual pump that we used to pump water from the large tank into a smaller tank located on the roof and this provided the house with running water. Nowadays, there is a public water supply and many people have filled in their water tanks. Perhaps you can understand why I am in no rush to go back in time and “catch rainwater.”
May 21, 2008 No Comments
We are all familiar with the saying “the power of one.” Upon hearing these words, we naturally, immediately think of examples of one person making a huge difference as did Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. And then there was the unknown rebel student who captured the world’s imagination when he singlehandedly stopped the advance of the Chinese Army tanks in Tienanmen square in 1989.
Less thought about is the power of one to do tremendous damage. The world has had its Hitlers and other despots who wreak such havoc. Even today there are examples of those whose hands wield the power for evil. In such cases, we need the power of many to stop the madness — but often the many seem powerless and we must hope for the power of one.
May 12, 2008 No Comments
In 1958, Richard Loving, a white man and Mildred, his black wife were arrested in Virginia and convicted of violating the state’s laws against interracial marriage. They had been married in the District of Columbia and subsequently moved to Virgina to live. They were sentenced to one year in prison but the sentence was suspended for 25 years on condition they leave the state and not return for at least 25 years.
They went back to the District of Columbia where, in 1963, they filed a motion in the state trial court appealing their convictions on the ground that the statutes which they had violated were repugnant to the Fourteenth Amendment.
Their case was denied by the state trial judge. Their case was then appealed to the US Supreme Court where on June 12, 1967 their convictions were reversed.
And so June 12 is Loving Day. The lovings are both deceased now. Mildred passed on this week but there is a growing movement to publicize this little known but appropriately named holiday and the story behind it.
May 5, 2008 No Comments