A warrior's cry


A warrior's cry

Monday, October 19, 2020

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Warrior King believes Jamaican youth are more in sync with American pop culture than the contributions of their country's national heroes.

He made that observation as Jamaica celebrates National Heroes' Day today. Its highlight is the virtual staging of the National Honours and Awards ceremony where stalwarts in various sectors are recognised.

“This present generation of young people do not see the importance of our national heroes who have done so much in so many different ways. To them, heroes are some pop stars in the United States. These are the people they listen to and want to hear about. Even our music glorifies them,” the singer told the Jamaica Observer.

“How many students really know the contributions of Paul Bogle and George William Gordon? They challenged the colonial system, which prevented the majority of Jamaicans the right to have a say in the Government at that time,” he continued.

Bogle, a Baptist deacon in St Thomas, led a protest march of hundreds of plantation workers from Stony Gut district to Morant Bay Courthouse on October 11, 1865 in what became known as the Morant Bay Rebellion. They were protesting injustice and widespread poverty under the British Crown.

After seven men were shot and killed by the volunteer militia, protesters attacked and burned the courthouse and nearby buildings. A total of 25 people died. Over the next two days, peasants rose up across St Thomas.

Gordon, a mixed-race businessman and politician, was also arrested as a suspect in planning the rebellion. He was hanged a day before Bogle. Both were named national heroes by the Jamaican Government in 1969.

Warrior King also bemoaned that “the brazen disrespect of Marcus Garvey's teachings is evident with the widespread act of skin-bleaching, because they feel to be black is something degrading and shameful”.

According to the Rastafarian artiste, “Garvey words have inspired every song I sing and the lyrical content. It's obvious that his teachings are not taught in our schools. We should inspire the nation to dig deeper into the philosophies and opinions.”

Born in St Ann's Bay in 1887, Garvey was a leader of the Pan-African movement which sought to unify people of African descent.

In the United States, he founded the Negro World newspaper, Black Star Line shipping company and Universal Negro Improvement Association.

Garvey died of a stroke on June 10 1940 at the age of 52 in England. His body was brought back to Jamaica in 1964 when he was declared the country's first national hero.

Warrior King feels the work of these heroes should be a requirement for a school-leaving certificate.

“This would enable each generation to have the heroes' contributions not only at their fingertips, but their lives would [be] fashioned by these great people,” he said.

The Clarendon-born Warrior King (given name Mark Dyer) first gained prominence in 2002 with the song Virtuous Woman. His other hits include Never Go Where Pagans Go and Can't Get Me Down.

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