Candles being lit at the event to honour the families killed in the Morant Bay Rebellion. (Photo: Bryan Cummings)
KINGSTON, Jamaica – An organisation that is seeking to preserve the teachings of one of Jamaica’s national heroes is calling on lawmakers to start a conversation as to whether it is time to identify a set of modern-day heroes that the younger generation can find relatable.
Members of the Paul Bogle Foundation said a discussion around the issue is warranted as it could help to engage and re-ignite the interest of the country’s youth on a topic that is vital to their very existence.
“It is definitely time. Such a move is definitely important to be able to recognise with a period. Now it is good to have the older heroes and heroine that paved the way, but we must have heroes and heroines in this time that the younger generation can identify with and understand that this is someone that I would want to emulate, I would want to be like this person,” said Horace Matthews, one of the directors of the foundation.
Claude Sinclair, another member of the group, did not think modern-day heroes were necessary but thought a debate could be healthy.
“I believe that in moving forward, people must first learn who the heroes were so they better appreciate the contributions they all made to the society,” said Sinclair. “You cannot understand the branches of the tree without first learning about the root.
“A journey of a thousand miles has to begin with the first step,” Sinclair continued.
The group members made the point on Monday during a candlelight vigil on West Street in downtown Kingston, to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Morant Bay Rebellion. Some 1,000 families were killed in the rebellion, so to mark honour them, the foundation lit 1,000 candles at the venue. A special award was also presented to the Mayor of Kingston, Angela Brown Burke.
The event was organised by local company Forever Young Promotions and the Paul Bogle Foundation.
Matthews during his address said the discussion should go beyond mere talk and appealed to the powers that be to listen closely to the voice of the young people who are the future of tomorrow. He said he felt their views should not be ignored. However, he said he was not pleased that youths were not more vocal.
He felt that one of the reasons could be that many youths were not aware of their past.
“This is where the educational and the cultural ministries come into sharp focus if the educational system cannot put the direction to the youth. Children live what they learn, if the educational system is not there to teach youth how to function then they will continue to be lost,” said the 65-year-old director.
He went further to say that today’s adults should take some of the blame for the current predicament.
“We must take some blame for the direction that the youth continue to take because we did not nurture them well,” said Matthews.
Paul Bogle led the Morant Bay Rebellion on October 11, 1865 with more than 200 black people. He became one of Jamaica’s National heroes in 1969.
Published By: The Observer
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