Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Behavior of Nation Builders (Part 2)

Why Do some Jamaicans Hate Jamaica?

Recently I was having a conversation with a person I have not seen for many years, this person was a Jamaican born and bred but like many other Jamaicans this person migrated to a foreign country.  Before long the conversation turned to Jamaica at which point the individual went into a rant about not being Jamaican any more, how much she hates the place, that Jamaica had never done anything for her and now she was an American and would never go back to "that" (spit) place. It seemed that Jamaica had done her some great injustice. Normally people who say these things to me would be placed in the “Never see, Come see” category that is people who were so poor and lived a very hard life but was able to migrate, these people would have some reason to come to such conclusion. Give a starving man some dry crackers and he would think it was the best meal in the world but this particular person was not like that, far from it, Jamaica had invested a lot in her and the upper middle class life she was living in Jamaica was much better than the life she is living as an American.

I do not understand how a person, who was born in Jamaica, socialized in Jamaica, went to school in Jamaica and even worked in Jamaica can turn around and declare that they are no longer Jamaican. How can a person cast of their Jamaicaness and why would anyone want to? Maybe it is this difference in attitude towards ones birth country between people from first world and third world which determines success or failure in the Nation Building process.

These “Use-To-Be-Jamaicans” confuse me, they almost always side with external powers against Jamaica and most thinks that it is to Jamaica’s advantage to downplay her sovereignty and allow external entities of the First World to do what they wish with her. Some have even expressed to me that, if there was ever a war between Jamaica and America they would gladly take up arms against Jamaica, simply because they see America as a force for good and everyone else including their own birth country as evil and not worth defending.

The Anti-Jamaica Jamaican

The anti-Jamaica Jamaican is like an evil homeless duppy that is unable to completely cross over to the other side, they are trapped in the Jamaica dimension destined to spend eternity haunting wherever other Jamaicans gather to discuss and debate issues concerning their homeland. These "Use To Be Jamaicans" levitates from one messaging board to the other spreading their brand of negativity towards Jamaica. To this type of person, Jamaica and Jamaicans are never ever right, even when they are the victims. The anti-Jamaica Jamaican’s motto is “The good Jamaican must suffer for the bad Jamaican” regardless of how good a person you are or how law abiding you may be, so long as one Jamaican breaks the law, it is OK for the innocent Jamaican to suffer the consequences. The anti-Jamaica Jamaican is a firm believer in the Phrase “Nothing Good can come from Jamaica” they live by it. There is no objective criticism, no problem/solution by the Anti-Jamaica Jamaican just constant bashing.

Their way of thinking does in fact represent Jamaica’s failures, they think the way they do, because Jamaica has failed to instill in them a natural love and respect for who they are and what they are. Of all the born Americans and British that I know, none of them seems to be affected by this psychological defect regardless of their geographical location or the hardship of their upbringing, they are still Americans and British to the core and I have far more respect for them than these “Use-To-Be-Neva-See-Come-See-Anti-Jamaica-Jamaicans”.

Jamaica is a country where the majority of the inhabitants have been engineered to not have any faith or love for the country of their birth and in their own abilities to build a successful nation state or even define what constitutes a successful nation state in relation to Jamaica’s Unique Reality.

In Jamaica the act of migrating, to leave ones homeland is not viewed as an act of last resort, it is not only the first resort but the second, third, right through to the last, for many of us it is seen as the beginning and the end. Nation building is the responsibility of each and every Jamaican and no amount of distancing yourself from this country will diminish that inherent responsibility.  The aim of Nation-building is to foster social harmony, Social cohesion and economic growth, Nation Building is a hands-on process so just sending money or barrels to Jamaica is not Nation Building.

Traveling is good for us, I recommend it all, exposure to other countries, peoples and culture with an open mind, learning along the way is the best thing one could ever do and it can have positive effect on Nation Building in Jamaica, so long as we do not lose sight of who we are and our unique reality. Whenever I see positive, innovative things happen in other countries I think about how I could bring home that concept to Jamaica, to adopt these ideas to a Jamaican way of life.

A blog about my Move Back to Jamaica after 20+ years of living in the US. Most of the articles focus on the period from 2005-2009 when the transition was new, and at it's most challenging.
For More Information:

Most Jamaicans cursed the day the slave ship turned right instead of left.  We behave as if we were left stranded on some barren rock, left to suffer for all eternity. However it is not the rock that is barren but the minds of the people living on it. Why is it that for some Jamaicans to become motivated and take life seriously, they must first leave the country of their birth? These are not the behavior of Nation Builders.

If we do not have a natural love and respect for what makes us uniquely Jamaican then all is lost because it is that love that is required for us to define what constitutes a successful nation state in relation to our unique reality. It seems Jamaicans who migrate to other countries are more than willing to take to the streets in those countries to fight for their rights, equality and justice but would never lift a finger to fight for those same rights in Jamaica. The act of nation building ended when we achieved independence from Great Britain, then pre independence Jamaicans took to the streets to fight for their rights, their freedom, bringing about workers rights and universal adult suffrage, independence however was not the end of the process, it was the beginning.

No development can take place in Jamaica without the participation of all Jamaicans regardless of geographic location. I have nothing against traveling and I have nothing against moving to live in another country so long as one maintains a certain level of respect for ones birth country.  What I do despise is the person who leaves only to turn around and attack my Jamaica with utter contempt after never contributing a day to its development, never giving back, never even tried. It is as if we were born with the notion that one can never achieve anything if one is living in Jamaica. The person we are now is has a result of Jamaica’s investment in us but we were engineered to devalue that investment. 

Some of us have achieved in spite of hardship in Jamaica but for the most part most of us was given a successful start in life that enabled us to move on and build on that start. Jamaicans leave Jamaica better prepared to take on the challenges of their adopted countries. We leave Jamaica after taking advantage of its free or subsidized education and health care, most have been to some of the best high schools on the island, some have achieved university degrees, professional careers at times at the expense of the Jamaican tax payer and yet they turn around and curse this very country that made it possible, instead of thanking her.  No, this is not the behavior of Nation Builders.

I must thank Jamaica, because growing up in Jamaica I remember:
  • At the start of every school year we use to get free material to make school uniform, I remember lining up  with the rest of the school to collect my free khaki material, God Bless Jamaica, I will be forever grateful.
  • Every now and then the school would give out free products, sometimes it was flour, or cornmeal or milk powder or sugar, sometimes all three, this was given free by the taxpayer to help assist parents. God Bless Jamaica, I will be forever grateful.
  • I remember when the Government introduce free school lunch, it was stated that children cannot learn on empty stomachs and needed a balance diet, this lasted from Primary school to high school and consist of free soy box milk, free veggie patty or veggie meatloaf with soy crust. God Bless Jamaica, I will be forever grateful.
  • I suffer from a inherited condition that requires constant care, this I got free of cost from the University Of the West Indies Hospital, Medical Research Council, not only was the treatment and medication free but they would send a bus to pick us up from home or school and return us after they were done. God Bless Jamaica, I will be forever grateful.
  • All of my education in Jamaica was for the most part free, from Primary school to high school. God Bless Jamaica, I will be forever grateful.
For a small third world island we did not do so bad, we are able to provide free healthcare and education which enabled most of us to be the productive masters we are today, so join me in saying Thank you Jamaica, I will be forever grateful.

Americans have a saying that they use to describe success in their own country, it is total rubbish but they believe in it and have the power to make others who are not American believe it also, “Only in America can a poor man become rich” my blood boils when I hear people living and working in Jamaica spout this rubbish as if rags to riches is only possible in the United States. We have rag to riches stories all over Jamaica but we were engineered to devalue this as well and as such we are unable to use our own people as role models.  
Jamaicans were never malnourished, never suffer from systemic persecution or had to flee this island on makeshift floatation devices, yet some Jamaicans talk about Jamaica as if that was the case. I go even further to say that Jamaica is in the problem she is in because of the mindset of the citizens both home and abroad. We do not seem to have the ability to stand and fix problems or right what is wrong, we have no desire to build instead we flee or try to flee while filling our hearts with nothing but contempt for a country we have done nothing to develop and see as an unfortunate birth place. These are not the behavior of Nation Builders.

If you do not want any part of the Nation Building process then fine, no one can force you, you are free to go wherever you want, turn your back, never look back, never speak of us, never speak to us, become something and someone else but please do so without the contempt and the venom for my beloved country. You do not need to hate Jamaica or dwell on her misfortunes in order to feel good about your decision to turn your back on your birthright.

I am a Jamaican and I am proud to be a Jamaican, it is who I am, the very essence of my being is Jamaican and I will die a Jamaican. It is not my Jamaican passport that makes me a Jamaican and as such acquiring another country's passport cannot take my "Jamaicanness" away from me. No matter where I am in the world or what other passports I may have acquired, I will still be a Jamaican.

If Jamaica is a failed state then it is because the people of Jamaica those living in and out of Jamaica are failures, no one else can fix Jamaica but Jamaicans, no one else can define Jamaica’s future and her place on this planet but Jamaicans. Building a better Jamaica is the responsibility of each and every Jamaican regardless of your geographic location, it is a challenge we all must rise to and all of us must answer the call. That is the behavior of Nation Builders.

Read Part 1--> Behavior of Nation Builders Part 1

No Lickle Twang - Louise Bennett

Me glad fi see yuh come back, bwoy,
But lawd, yuh let me dung
Me shame a yuh so till all a
Me proudness drop a grung.
Yuh mean yuh go dah Merica
An spen six whole mont deh,
An come back not a piece better
Dan how yuh did go weh?
Bwoy, yuh no shame? Is so yuh come?
After yuh tan so lang!
Not even lickle language, bwoy?
Not even lickle twang?
An yuh sister what work ongle
One week wid Merican
She talk so nice now dat we have
De jooce fi understan?
Bwoy, yuh couldn improve yuhself!
An yuh get so much pay?
Yuh spen six mont a foreign, an
Come back ugly same way?
Not even a drapes trousiz, or
A pass de riddim coat?
Bwoy, not even a gole teet or
A gole chain roun yuh troat?
Suppose me laas me pass go introjooce
Yuh to a stranger
As me lamented son what lately
Come from Merica!
Dem hooda laugh after me, bwoy!
Me couldn tell dem so!
Dem hooda seh me lie, yuh wasa
Spen time back a Mocho!
No back-answer me, bwoy - yuh talk
Too bad! Shet up yuh mout!
Ah doan know how yuh an yuh puppa
Gwine to meck it out.
Ef yuh waan please him, meck him tink
Yuh bring back someting new.
Yuh always call him 'Pa' - dis evenin
When him comes seh 'Poo’.


  1. Wonderful post! I share many of your sentiments. I so abhor talking to the "Used to be Jamaican" lot and I find it disheartening, that even though you live in farin, Jamaica and Jamaicans in Jamaica are regarded as rubbish. To counter that,I have Jamaican friends whose children embrace the culture although they are born abroad. You can't tell them that they aren't Jamaican.

  2. Thanks for your comment, It is true there is no need to trash where you are coming from.

  3. Thanks for the link to my video. I actually wrote for a few years about my experience... "Moving Back to Jamaica" --

  4. You are welcome Francis, I have enjoyed your blog over the years.