The best example
Gordon Robinson, Contributor
Without considering the message to our children, we're about to seamlessly merge the annual celebration of Jesus' resurrection with another traditional Jamaican celebration - the crude copying of imported culture.
For, soon, we'll be singing another tired verse of our cover version of Trinidad carnival wherein our people will revel in as much public nudity as they can get away with, wallow in as much public depravity as they can arrange and drown in as thick a public alcoholic stupor as they can manufacture. And call it fun.
As usual, we import 'culture' without cultural foundation. We've neither experienced nor understood the history that gave rise to the Trinidad carnival spirit. So, in our crass way, we've dancehalled carnival until it has become the lewd, tragicomic embarrassment that's Jamaica Carnival. The irony is that we 'celebrate' this temporary conversion of our parents into pretend 'leggo-beasts' and village rams at a time we have, close at hand, a superior option.
Sterling examples of how to defeat a corrupt political system from without abound and include Mohandas K. Ghandi (The Mahatma), whose non-violent protests drove a colonial power from his country; Martin Luther King Jnr, who similarly influenced the abolition of apartheid in America; and Nelson Mandela, who emulated King in South Africa during imprisonment by a corrupt government. But the original exemplar who inspired these 20th century giants, Hindu and Christian alike, was the first century Galilean carpenter-turned-philosopher known as Jesus Christ.
This was a unique man. Despite the apparent backwardness of his time and the overwhelming oppression of his people (Jews) by the era's all-conquering colonial power (Rome), he converted the oxymoron 'If you can't beat 'em, join 'em' (but they're all beatable) into the correct maxim 'if you join 'em, you won't beat 'em'. Jesus was a poor, undereducated carpenter, yet aware of certain eternal truths. Being unacquainted with formal education freed his mind to think outside the box, until he became so attuned to his soul and connected with his heavenly Father that he perfected communication with God while on Earth.
Jesus remembered (not 'learned') from whence he came (God not Galilee), knew where he was going (back to God not some transient mortal 'success'), and understood that his time on earth had a specific purpose. Once this is truly understood, no time will be lost treasuring life for life's sake and being so fearful of its loss that extreme or violent means are used to preserve it.
In fulfilling his specific purpose, Jesus wasn't afraid to die because he knew that death is infinitely more peaceful and fulfilling than life. How else can we explain the stoic manner with which he faced corrupt trials and false accusers in kangaroo courts? How did he manage to remain silent in the face of public ridicule? Few of us can do the same. In fact, it's a law on Jamaica's streets that we must respond to accusation, no matter how wild and ridiculous, or be deemed guilty.
It's as if Jesus wanted to goad his accusers into more barbaric behaviour. Why? Without question, the severity of Jesus' torture and the scope of his public humiliation were self-induced. He refused to show any semblance of fear or remorse. He taunted them with his silence. Did he want to be tortured and humiliated?
Yes, indeed (with apologies to Tommy Cowan). Jesus wanted to die. But what he wanted most was the chance that his death could save the world. To accomplish this, he needed a public death. In BC (Before CNN), Jesus' death received worldwide coverage. The more brutal, savage and final the death, the more enlightening the resurrection. And so, the Word spread far and wide because Jesus proved it by dying then living again. Jesus died to establish the integrity of the Word.
So don't join a corrupt political system to change it. If you join, it'll change you. Furthermore, there's no purpose in succumbing to apathy or drowning your sorrows in a debauched Jamaica carnival. You needn't fear disgrace, victimisation or death. We're all going to die. The only uncertainty is how will we live?
Robert Nesta Marley, a modern-day prophet who would've cringed if alive today to see carnival's pervading influence on Jamaican culture, once said "If my life is for me alone I don't want it". Selah!
Peace and Love.
Gordon Robinson is an attorney-at-law. Feedback may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org