Celebrating Emancipation Day – Are We Truly Emancipated
We were tempted to publish the words to Bob Marley’s Redemption Song as our editorial today, after all this classic fits well with the purpose of the celebrations – the liberation of our ancestors from plantation slavery ages ago. about 184 years old.
Those of us familiar with the history of the transatlantic slave trade fully understand Marley’s words when he sang “Old pirates, yes they robbed me, sold me to merchant ships, minutes after they pulled me out of the abyss. But my hand has been made strong by the hand of the Almighty…”
As Marley sings, “We are advancing triumphantly in this generation,” we must ask ourselves, have we as a people, over the years, advanced triumphantly?
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Do we still sing songs of freedom? Are we still engaged in protest marches and giving speeches as if we are still on the plantation, or are we truly advancing triumphantly, forging our own paths and letting the rest of the world know that even though we are ready to be friends with everyone, we will certainly not be anyone’s satellite? Damn the size of our economy!
Marley sings: “Free yourself from mental bondage, no one but ourselves can free our minds. Oh, how many times have we heard these words, not only through song but through our intellectuals, teachers, freedom fighters and others.
But do we agree?
The question is easy to answer. Some of us still cannot comprehend the enormity of August 1, 1838, the significance of that day in our history when, in our beautiful Fair Helen 13, 285 slaves of African descent were granted freedom, a small population at from which grew most of Saint Lucia’s population today.
Although the commemoration of this day has never been what it should have been in Saint Lucia lately, the most important thing is that too many of us still seem to be mental slaves. Too many of us are enslaving ourselves instead of freeing ourselves from the things that afflict us – and there are many things that afflict us, like jealousy, hatred, unreasonable expectations and the list goes on. How many times have we failed to hold ourselves accountable with uplifting efforts that could have moved us and the country into areas of positive progress?
The concept of mental slavery sung by Marley is also about the limits we impose on ourselves. Too many of us tell ourselves we can’t achieve, sometimes to such an extent that when an opportunity comes our way, we run away from it because we’re chained to the concept that we can’t achieve certain goals – we fail before we even try
Yet we sing with Marley “Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, no one but ourselves can free our minds” without realizing how true these words are and how important it is for us to do for ourselves what only we can do for ourselves.
Many times we have heard the saying, “the mind is a mighty force, a terrible thing to waste”, but many of us waste it every day. Now is the time to use our minds wisely. It is time to emancipate ourselves from mental slavery. It’s time to break the chains of mental imprisonment. It’s time to break the chains of self-enslavement – the strongest of all possible chains.