The revolution has begun
By Din Duggan
The first shots in Jamaica's revolution have been fired. The war drums have been steadily sounding for some time. They grew louder after last year's Arab Spring movement in which young revolutionaries - using social media to do more than play FarmVille and 'poke' friends - toppled powerful and deeply entrenched governments.
The drumbeat has now reached fever pitch. Jamaicans have had enough. Our revolution has begun.
If one is preparing for battle, it helps to consult a true master of war - no, not 'The Warlord', Bounty Killer, but an ancient Chinese general. For centuries, Sun Tzu, the venerable war strategist and philosopher, has had a profound impact on both Chinese and Western combat strategies through his quintessential treatise on combat, The Art of War.
I have included some relevant lines in italics.
"If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle."
While a revolution is necessary, we must know our enemies and ourselves. Conditions in Jamaica differ fundamentally from those in much of the Arab world. We are a democracy. We can, theoretically, take our grievances to the ballot box. And, though Opposition Leader Andrew Holness and Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller can both be quite brutal to listen to, neither of the two is a tyrant.
OUR OWN ENEMY
The true enemies we face bare no arms against us. In fact, they are us. Our revolution must take place in our own homes, schools, churches and businesses against our outmoded way of thinking. The young generals of our burgeoning revolution have long recognised this. They have launched armies armed not with guns, bombs, and bayonets, but with culture, books, and crayons.
"The general who advances without coveting fame and retreats without fearing disgrace, whose only thought is to protect his country and do good service for his sovereign, is the jewel of the kingdom."
If I wrote that Dutty Bookman (born Gavin Hutchinson) founded Manifesto Jamaica, he would, perhaps, sue me for libel. He goes to great lengths to deflect credit for forming the organisation whose stated mission is to "educate, expose and empower youth through art and culture".
While Bookman's chance encounter with the founder of Manifesto Community Projects in Toronto sparked the idea to create a similar organisation in Jamaica, it took several young co-founders and a battalion of youth volunteers to launch Manifesto Jamaica.
Each November, Manifesto puts on the JA Festival of ART'ical Empowerment. The art, music and culture festival is the culmination of the group's yearlong social development activities. A growing success, it's born of true teamwork and a revolutionary spirit.
"Management of many is the same as management of few. It is a matter of organisation."
Former senator, Deika Morrison, earned her role as a leader of the do-good revolution when, in 2010, she led a Rotary Club campaign that saw Jamaica smash the Guinness record for most books donated in seven days - more than 650,000.
Future cooperative efforts
After the success of the book drive - involving more than 150 organisations and thousands of individuals - Deika formed Do Good Jamaica to serve as a platform for future cooperative efforts.
Do Good's current project, Crayons Count, seeks to attack the "shortage of learning materials in early childhood institutions". Crayons Count aims to place a learning kit in each of Jamaica's 2,700 early childhood institutions - with each kit containing 240 crayons, 10 books, two balls, two sets of blocks, four pairs of scissors, four puppets, four tubs of play dough and four packs of paper.
The initiative also aims to show, says Deika, that "these things really do matter". Gains in literacy, numeracy, and socio-cultural development, made by adequately equipping the youngest of our children, can prevent future learning deficiencies and drastically improve performance at the primary and secondary levels. As Deika noted, "early childhood education is the best investment" we can make. Crayons really do count.
"In war, numbers alone confer no advantage."
Armies of one are making a difference, too. Rondeen McLean's Literary Genius Reading Partners Program seeks to empower young minds through reading. Marvin Hall's Halls of Learning has introduced young boys and girls to the exciting world of robotics. There are countless others. They all need your help. The revolution has begun.
Visit www.facebook.com/dinduggan to find out how you can contribute.
Din Duggan is an attorney working as a consultant with a global legal search firm. Email him at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org, or view his past columns at facebook.com/dinduggan and twitter.com/YoungDuggan.