I cannot go further without paying tribute to the outstanding performances of the Jamaican team in Berlin. It was both heartwarming and a tear-jerker. (tears of pride of course).
Jamaican tourism minister Ed Bartlett wasted much time in announcing the intent to capitalize on the athlete’s success. Of course I wish him well. But, I doubt that the name of Jamaica has spread any wider by the recent successes. Whichever corner of the world didn’t know about Jamaica, certainly did so after the Beijing Olympics. And I doubt if anyone who previously planned to take a vacation will change plans simply because of Bolt’s prowess.
This is not to say that there aren’t any tangible opportunities. This is the opportunity to properly finance and properly manage the GC Foster concept.
Coaches worldwide will be flocking Ja to ‘tief and run’ our young athletes. But we need the college so that local coaches and young athletes can develop, and that other countries worldwide not just Caribbean-wide, can send their athletes and coaches to train, develop and run Jamaican stylee. There’s money in that.
Already, overseas athletes are being trained to success in Jamaica.
But this is a JLP government and GC Foster was a PNP concept ‘so wi done kno how it a go’. But even the PNP failed to see the upsides of our athletic prowess and wasted GC Foster.
As usual, we prefer to lay our future in either the hands of the IMF, or the regurgitation of failed ideas by the private and public sectors, while the real talent of the country dissipates, or is forced to turn inwards and kill themselves.
As usual, we have the tendency to go for the ‘big lick’, the one shot or effort that will gain us success. But this is not the lesson of Bolt, or Powell, or Foster-Hylton, Veronica Campbell-Brown, Merlene Ottey, Don Quarrie, George Headley, Lawrence Rowe, Herb McKenley, Arthur Wint or any of the umpteen sports men and women who have excelled under the Jamaican flag.
Overnight success doesn’t really come overnight in the athletic world. Real success takes time, patience and effort… qualities our present leaders are in short supply of.
Many of our youngsters who could probably excel on behalf of our country, needlessly lose their lives or their energies while the bigger heads keep scratching their bald skulls for answers. Its not rocket science.
Attempting to gain success from the manufacturing, retail and tourism sectors remains fruitless except for enriching the pockets of a few.
We need to provide the tools to the people, the masses. This is not socialist talk. It’s common sense. The top-down approach has never worked.
The areas which our people have innate talents are in agriculture, sports, arts and entertainment. Not in mindlessly working at some fast-food place as a server, reaping the ‘technology’ transferred from an extra large hotplate, nor in areas where our workers are turned into monotonous drones doing the same thing hour after hour, with no sense of accomplishment or upward mobility and with subsistence earnings.
We crush or ignore the talents of the masses and are surprised when some of that talent is directed into criminal enterprises. If a man has a brain and a skill not properly used, he will find some illegal way of practicing it.
In my last blog I looked at the perversion of justice in the US. I alluded to the incongruity of the self-professed largest free democracy having the largest prison population of any country, including so-called repressive regimes like communist China and Russia.
The United States has over 2 million prisoners while China has 1.55m, and Russia 763,000.
It isn’t difficult to understand why this is so when one examines the nature and the psyche of the American people. They are not a very forgiving people. We see that in the case of Michael Vick, but I want to look at a story that many may not have read, that of the freeing from Scottish jail, of Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi, called by the western media, the Lockerbie bomber.
A quick backstory is necessary. In 1988, Pan Am flight 103 blew up over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 270 passengers, most of whom were Americans. The man eventually tried and imprisoned was Meghari
There are many who doubt his guilt (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/8211596.stm) but that is not the point or argument of this essay. But an important point is that the west at the time was trying to link the bombing to the governments of either Iran or Libya. Meghari was a member of the Libyan intelligence services and it is to Libya that he was sent home.
Meghari was released on compassionate grounds by the UK government because he is terminally ill with cancer and not expected to live beyond three months. However, Americans only believe in compassionate grounds under circumstances that suit them. Eg if an American is being held in another country, or is rich or famous.
The American government, led by Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton of the state department call the release a mistake. This is mere political theater for the mobs in the balconies.
Families condemn the release. At least it is personal for them. Said one, “My understanding is that the man [Megrahi] really is within three months of dying, which is one of the issues we wanted cleared up. At the same time, we have always maintained he should remain in prison in Scotland and die there if it comes to that.” O-kaaay. By the way, Meghari’s health status has been verified by English doctors.
This is quite consistent with American feelings. How many times have we seen convicts freed by indisputable evidence, while the police, the prosecutors and the families still insist on jailing him?
This is the type of mentality that has ‘America the free’ leading the world in incarceration.
By the way, the American man somewhat responsible for the continued house arrest of Myanmar’s ‘democracy’ leader, Suu Kyi (last week’s blog), and who was given 7 years by a Myanmar court, was freed and deported to the US, after serving only a few weeks. Americans, including Barack Obama, are not condemning that release.
But there is another factor. Americans feel that they are special, superior to other people and what rules govern other people, don’t necessarily apply to them.
During the Vietnam War, there was a famous incident called the Mai Lai massacre, where 500 men, women and children were massacred by American soldiers. This was not the only such case, just the most famous one.
The officer who led the men, Lt William Calley, was found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment for 22 counts of murder. President Richard ‘I’m certainly a crook’ Nixon commuted Calley’s sentence to three months house arrest. No hullabaloo in America over that decision.
Michael Vick, the NFL quarterback who was found guilty and sentenced in regards to running a dog-fighting ring, is another example of how hypocritical and selective Americans can be over ‘justice’.
Vick served his 2 year sentence for killing dogs, and has been able to return to the NFL. This of course has brought out the rabidity (pun intended) of dog lovers, who argue that he shouldn’t be returned to a job that can make him rich. Hmmm. I supposed if he got a job at McDonalds, even that might not be low enough.
Part of the pro and con arguments revolve around the question of morality, including, whether it is more moral to kill for food or fun, or to kill a dog as against a pig. This moral issue led to some questions, which when posed to dog-lovers, disrupted their moral comfort zone.
If an American-Korean ate dog meat from Korea, would he be morally wrong? What if he killed a dog in America and ate it? Or if he killed a dog in states where dogfighting is legal, and ate some of the meat in another state, would he be morally wrong in one state but not another?
If an American man ate dog meat served by his Korean wife, who would be morally wrong?
Are the dogs in Korean without personality? Are they different from American dogs because they are bred as food?
How about the cows in India? If we go to BK in India and ate a beefburger, would we be morally wrong? If a Hindu ate a beefburger in Spokane, would he be morally wrong?
If we ate pork in Jerusalem, how many people have we offended?
Is it wrong for the Japanese to kill whales for meat but right to allow indigenous peoples to hunt and kill whales for meat and clothing? What about killing baby seals for clothing?
And horses? Aren’t they our friends too? Can we eat them?
And oh, is it morally permissible to kill a deer with a sniper-scoped M-16 from 300 yards? Why not set a land mine?
We don’t have birds as friends, so can we kill a few, with pump shotguns and hand grenades?
Do you see where I am going here?
Which is tastier… a pork burger or Lassie?