Arising to the dawn today, I remember it’s August 6, Jamaica’s Independence Day!
To be honest, I prefer to celebrate Interdependence Day! Independence from the colonial legacy of Independence and Individualism influenced by a Eurocentric thinking, “I think therefore I am” (Descartes). Let’s divorce this thinking and remarry the African philosophy of Ubuntu that says, “I AM BECAUSE YOU ARE.” We depend on connection, community and caring.
The Jamaican athletes at the Tokyo Olympics have gifted us with this philosophy of connection, community and caring, not by their individual successes, but by their team efforts. While dominant media houses focus on individual performances, glorify individual successes, and transform them into individual gods, our athletes remind us: “It’s not just about my win. It’s a team effort. We come here, not to represent ourselves, but our country.”
On this Interdependence Day, let us also remember the gift of the creative imagination from our athletes, musicians, artists, religious persons, social and political activists, and scientists. The colonial legacy hammered into our brains, “Don’t question the status quo.” “Don’t think outside of the box.” “Don’t use your imagination.” Many of our athletes, musicians, social and political activists, religious persons, artists and scientists rebelled and accepted the baton in the relay of life from Marcus Garvey who wrote: We are going to emancipate ourselves from mental slavery because whilst others might free the body, none but ourselves can free the mind. The mind is your only ruler, sovereign. The man who is not able to develop and use his mind is bound to be the slave of the other man who uses his mind.” Garvey challenges us to use our freedom to think big and imaginatively.
Finally, ponder these words:
All freedom journeys require an open mind – a mind that is not conditioned by past knowledge and experience, but open to possibility. Questions open the doors of our imagination, enabling us to consider alternatives to the status quo. Unless one is capable of imagining another possible reality, one cannot free oneself from bondage”Estelle Frankel