By Silbert Barrett
We, as a people, must always display power and pride in our national symbolism, and as a nation, and people of Jamaica, we have a choice. Why the “big wood” man statue (Officially called The Redemption Song Monument), instead of the “freedom statute”, in Emancipation Park?
There is absolutely no connection between emancipation and being naked. If slaves were kept naked, it is more symbolic of degradation than empowerment, which emancipation symbolizes. We will always continue to choose evil over good, if we don’t know who we are as a people — and be proud of it.
The freedom statue on Goree Island, The House of Slaves and its Door of No Return is a museum and memorial to the Atlantic slave trade on Gorée Island, 3 kilometers off the coast of the city of Dakar, Senegal. Visitors from Africa, Europe and the Americas continue to make it an important place to remember the human toll of African slavery. Honor our ancestors, if we do not, who will?
In the totality of monuments, erected to celebrate black power and its rise above enslavement, the current “big wood” statue in Jamaica’s Emancipation Park is the most despicable.
It is for this reason, that it is an affront to common decency, when we, as a society, are struggling with sexual abuse, especially of young men and girls, some of the most vulnerable in society.
The ultimate goals of our political leaders are to deconstruct our history and culture, by inserting themselves as the only reference to civic pride and culture. They are becoming our gods — if we don’t stop them.
Every decent god-fearing Jamaican should let it be known to the government that this symbolism, as a people coming out of slavery, is tainted with promiscuity and infidelity to the cause Bogle, George, Nanny, Cudjoe, and Garvey stood for.
It is time we replace it with decency and the courage and love of the black men and women, whose triumphant victory of good over evil must be honored with clear and unambiguous morality.
Silbert Barrett is a graduate of Ryerson University in Toronto and graduate student in Engineering and Public Policy at McMaster University. As an opinion columnist and blogger he explores issues and creative ideas around public policy, sustainable infrastructure and International Economic Development to empower and educate those who are concerned with good governance in public accountability and transparency. He is a strong advocate for the rights of the Jamaican Diaspora to vote as an independent electorate to impose governance conditionality for a better Jamaica.