Learning from historical tragedies...
THE EDITOR, Sir:
We live in a world of intolerance and discrimination of various forms. On March 20, 1960, under the apartheid regime of the South African government, 69 black demonstrators in the town of Sharpeville were shot and killed in cold blood as they demonstrated against the unfair and discriminatory policies of the white government. This massacre outraged the international community and became known as the Sharpeville Massacre.
This horrendous and inhumane event resulted in the United Nations (UN) setting aside March 21 as the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Each year since 1966, the world pauses on March 21 to commemorate the events of 1960 as well as to remind people of the negative consequences of racism.
The theme for the 2015 International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is 'Learning from Historical Tragedies to Combat Racial Discrimination Today'. As a people, if we don't now learn from the atrocities of our past history, we are likely to repeat those same ills. The UN plays a pivotal role in organising events to commemorate the significance of this important day to world history. This day is set aside to explore the root causes of racism and racial discrimination, as well as to stress the essential need to learn the lessons history has provided in order to combat racism and racial discrimination today.
Despite the efforts of the UN, much more needs to be done to end all forms of prejudice and intolerance. Jamaica joins with the international community in solidarity in recognising the importance of this day, as we work together to stamp out all forms of racial discrimination.
In the words of Marcus Garvey, "A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots. The time has come for us to recommit ourselves, especially on this the 49th anniversary of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, to eradicate all forms of bigotry and build a global community where justice and equality become the hallmark of our civilisation.