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History and chronology go together, Dorlan Francis

Michael
Burke

Thursday, September 28, 2017

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To get a clue as to the cause of anything, the chronology should be correct. The word 'chronology' means: The arrangement of events or dates in the order of their occurrence. Or, a document displaying an arrangement of events in order of their occurrence. Another definition is the study of historical records to establish the dates of past events.

Too many people get the chronology wrong. Too many people use chronology when it is not relevant. And too many people do not know how to argue logically. Dorlan Francis knows some political history, but he is weak in chronology, and worse in reasoning logically, a conclusion deduced after reading his blogs over the years. Last week, in response to a post he made the previous week, I mentioned that I would give him low marks were it an examination.

Group 69 was established after rowdy supporters of the Jamaica Labour Party controlled the streets of Kingston and bullied supporters of the People's National Party; not the other way around as Dorlan Francis had previously blogged. I mentioned Alexander Bustamante and the asylum incident in 1946 because it was relevant to my point. What happened in Gordon Town in 1947 with respect to Wills Isaacs and his being brought before the court would have been totally irrelevant to the discussion.

But for staying relevant by sticking to the topic I was accused of being dishonest by Dorlan Francis. I will not tolerate anyone passing judgement on my integrity, and I suggest to Dorlan Francis and anyone else of like mind not to let it happen once too often.

Still, I thank Dorlan Francis for bringing up Group 69 in his blogs two weeks ago because it supported my point that political violence did not start in the 1970s as suggested by Reverend Al Miller in his column a few Sundays ago. In the meantime, I would like to thank all those politicians and political enthusiasts from all political sides who have remarked that they find me impartial. The political hacks and their bosses do not always say the same thing.

I am not a blindly loyal supporter of any political party, although I am a Norman Manleyist. While I was once a member of a political party, I gave that up 45 years ago at the age of 19. If I give the People's National Party (PNP) an edge today it is only because Dr Peter Phillips is also Norman Manleyist. And Michael Manley, in terms of his policies, was a Norman Manleyist. Only his style differed.

My main concern with the PNP is the succession after Phillips's retirement, because the youth in the PNP from whom a successor should be chosen do not seem to know much about the philosophy and opinions of Norman Manley. That stated, I have dedicated this column to the meaning of chronology and its relationship to any form of history, even diet history.

For example, the reason for an upset stomach today cannot be because of what you or I might eat or drink tomorrow, or whatever other problems we might have tomorrow. The reason for that has to occur somewhat earlier — whether a few minutes ago — a few hours ago, or maybe a few days ago for it to be the cause. Similarly, Group 69 came about after the asylum incident (Black Saturday), so the asylum incident cannot accuse Group 69.

In some cases chronology is not relevant at all and peopledraw the wrong conclusions because of coincidences. For example, many have incorrectly argued that because February is the shortest month in the year, the creators of Black History Month were somehow not sufficiently black conscious. But Black History Month did not develop that way. The observance began as a week of events.

A quick Google search will reveal that, “Black History Month began as Negro History Week, a label applied by historian Carter G Woodson in 1926...Woodson chose that week specifically because it covered the birthdays of Frederick Douglass (February 14) and Abraham Lincoln (February 12).”

Eventually the organisers of Black History Month found that a week was too short, so it eventually became a whole month. In later years the custom was adopted here, especially since the advent of Irie FM radio. Bob Marley was born in February. Will people say the same if the celebrations later take up the entire month?

Again, when referring to chronology, one is not necessarily the cause of another just because one happened before the other. If that were so, all of us would have millions of parents, because anyone born before us could make the claim simply because they are older. It does not make any sense. So when giving one thing as the cause of another a link must definitely be made.

Is the following coincidental or is there a link? A politician started his bids for Parliament around the time when violence started in the very constituency he ran for in one parish. And then he shifted to another parish but the violence started there also.

Is it a coincidence or is there a link? One cannot say that one thing has caused the other unless one can prove a definite link, even if many have whispered the coincidence but would never dare to say or write it publicly as, without proof, it could be libellous.

Sometimes conclusions are drawn due to faulty logic. I have written many times that Jamaica's code of national symbols, which were created at political independence in 1962, speaks to a national fruit, which is the ackee, but the code does not speak to a national dish at all. Even some parliamentarians do not know this. It does not follow logically that because ackee is usually cooked with salt fish then that is the national dish.

If someone makes a soup of hummingbirds, does that become the national soup? If one uses the Jamaican flag to wrap a car seat, is that the national car seat wrap? Or if one uses a branch of lignum vitae to keep away mosquitoes, is that the national mosquito repellent? We need to learn to draw the correct conclusions and understand the importance of chronology to history.

ekrubm765 @ yahoo.com

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