Great ideals know no nationality
THE EDITOR, Sir:
We are beginning a new year still beset by the costly bogey of maligned and misunderstood dual citizenship; and as many remain uninstructed in the progressive aspects of this subject, it should be timely to recount the views of National Hero Marcus Garvey, expressed when he found himself set upon by enemies in America.
Mr Garvey told an audience of his:
"My enemies in America have done much to hold me up to public contempt and ridicule, but have failed. They believe that the only resort is to stir up national pre-judice against me, in that I was not born within the borders of the United States of America.
"I am not in the least concerned about such propaganda because I have travelled the length and breadth of America and I have discovered that among the 15 million of my race, only those who have exploited and lived off the ignorance of the masses are concerned with where I was born. The masses of the people are looking for leadership; they desire sincere, honest guidance in racial affairs. As proof of this, I may mention that the largest number of members in the Universal Negro Improvement Association, of which I am president general, are to be found in America, and are native-born Americans. I know these people so well, and I love them so well, that I would not for one minute think that they would fall for such an insidious propaganda.
"All intelligent people know that one's nationality has nothing to do with great ideas and great principles. If because I am a Jamaican, the Negro should not accept the principle of race rights and liberty, or the ideal of a free and independent race, then you may well say that because Jesus was a Nazarene, the outside world should not accept his doctrine of Christianity because he was an 'alien'."
Mr Garvey later applied for US citizenship not because of unfaithfulness to Jamaica, but, like millions of others, to facilitate his work and his desire for growth and development.
I am, etc.,