Getting the word out…

Category Archives: OPIONION


In recent weeks Jamaicans have been captivated by two online viral videos, mainly the VW Superbowl Ad and the Harlem Shake craze. The latter has topped Gangnam Style attracting what Andrew Rauner dubs a ‘Psy-level mass phenomenon’ featuring Skydivers, underwater stormtroppers, newscaster (local and international) and more. The craze started after a man named Filthy Frank made this video dancing to Harlem Shake (by Brooklyn-based producer Henry Rodrigues aka DJ Baauer) without doing the ‘Harlem Shake’. Hundreds of copycat videos have since followed.

For Baaucer, much has come of this for a pretty much unknown fellow, except if you were a nerd scouring SoundCloud. Baaucer earned  himself a place in music history by virture of being the 21st song to debut at No. 1 on the Hot 100 Chart, since its launch in 1951; and it’s the Brooklyn DJ’s first song on the chart. According to Philip Sherburne in Spin, this is luck on top of luck. One thing for certain, Baauer should thank amateur videographer and Billboard for adding YouTube streaming data to the pile of numbers that determines where a song is placed on the Hot 100. A good addition since YouTube is where persons go first to check out songs, not Spotify, iTunes, or Radio–this is debatable but I won’t delve into that here.

The VW ad, which everyone should have seen, features an American office worker from Minnesota who owns a 2013 Volkswagen Beetle (I think they are cute – yes cars can be cute; I won’ accept an alternative opinion LOL) adapting a Jamaican accent to spread smile among his gloomy coworkers on a Monday morning. All this is done to the tune of 2013 Grammy Winner, Reggae Category, Jimmy Cliff, who happens to be Jamaican . The commercial done to air during the Superbowl, with an early release on YouTube, caused controversy with characterisations and opinions ranging from uncomfortable and racist to likes and appreciation. Jamaican tourism officials, including the poirtfolio minister, affirmed their support of it in articles carried by USA Today and the Associated Press; both with a combined audience exceeding 190 million readers.

John Lynch, director of tourism at the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) in a Jamaica Observer article had this to say, “The interest this commercial has generated is incredible and speaks to the power of the Jamaica brand…We hope this sparks an interest in persons who have not yet experienced the destination to come visit; enjoy a memorable Jamaican vacation, our people and most important, Get Happy in Jamaica.”

There seems to be a fascination with Jamaica in the Western and Central European nation of German, or otherwise as another company (the electronics store Saturn) in that country showed favour to Brand Jamaica though in a highly controversial ad. The commercial intended for German TV made its way on YouTube in late January and shows two coffee shop attendants trying to brew coffee, which results in the burning of the Jamaican Flag. The experience is captured through CCTV and out of respect for the Jamaican flag leads to a demonstration. Here is the video:

The following subtitles are scripted in German; the following is the translation in English using Google Translate:

Wenn sie meine Fahne verbrennen, verbrenne ich ihre – If they burn my flag, I’ll burn their

Wir alle lieben Jamaika diese leute verbrennen die Jamaikanische Flagge- We all love these people burn the Jamaica Jamaican Flag

The words of the soundtrack are familiar because it’s that of Murderer by another famed Jamaican, Barrrington Levy. In school I was taught to burn a flag was offensive, in fact it is considered desecration. Friend and Attorney-at-Law, Stephen Greig notes: “under German criminal laws it is illegal to damage the German flag and it is also illegal to damage or revile flags of foreign countries. What we do not know is if there is an exception for dramatic works such as a play or a commercial.”

I couldn’t resist sharing the video with friends and associates, particular since at the time my Twitter timeline by the twitter-heavy-wigs, or anyone for that matter, but I saw everyone talking about who was doing Harlem Shakes videos locally et cetera. The opinions I got were varying and included references saying we couldn’t expect better particularly because the old Nazi ideology that demanded the purification of ‘the Aryan race’ and ‘the German blood’ originate in the said country, upset and ‘what if’ questions.

On the German AD

Could the baring of the Jamaican Flag in the kitchen speak to the presence of the Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee being used by the coffee shop or is it the coffee of choice? Should we think of this more deeply? Should we as a people, and through our Tourism Minister and agencies like the JTB, condemn this (after all like the Volkswagen commercial this has gained traction with over 450,000 views on YouTube) and ask for its removal? Or should we accept?

To be frank, I’m not outraged as some of my fellow country folks with the Saturn Ad, I’m okay with it. I think it helps put us (Jamaica) in the international scope and once again make us relevant and leaving Jamaica in individuals’ minds. It is clear from all intents in the video they wanted to be associated with the Jamaican brand, it immediately took me back a couple years when Sydney Bartley (former Director of Culture now Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Youth and Culture) said in a presentation, “anybody who wants to be somebody wants to be Jamaican, the only person who doesn’t want to be Jamaican is a Jamaican”. I have no idea about his views on the matter at hand, but I hope you get the picture that clearly Jamaica sells. The Germans did it with the VW Ad (that so many persons got up in arms about, including persons who don’t recognize Jamaican Creole as a language) and Saturn is at it again.

We can agree that the flag should never have been burnt or stomped on, but should we not be making a hullabaloo? @mrsseven65 in responding to Dr. Sonjah Stanley Niaah, Senior Lecturer in Cultural Studies at the University of West Indies, Mona, on Twitter said it well. @mrsseven65 puts it well there are other things to be up-in-arms about like the Tivoli Incursion, a very topical and pertinent issue, which we’re yet to get answers on.

Protocol experts and others might say pull the ad, but come on folks the Saturn ad is daring, it’s brilliant; yes I like it! Perhaps it is because I’m a rebel why I like it. Let’s snap out of the talks about asking for the ad to be pulled since it touches on so many issues, chief among them cultural sensitivities & free speech. My honest gut opinion: let’s not get tied up in this flag furore, certainly the folks at JTB can find a way to take advantage of this free publicity and marketing. Go Jamaica!

As always, I welcome your thoughts on the matter, do share with me below.



Jamaica and the British Empire today celebrates Emancipation Day, a day in which we individually recall the enslavement of our people. whether we be Jamaicans or Trinidadians, to free themselves of what we now have come to dubbed, ‘crimes against humanity’.

Many, the world around us, are quick to argue that we still remain ‘enslaved mentally’, citing claims of our dependency on foreign culture. Truth be told we’re who we are now because of where we’re coming from.

Our ancestral heritage have left was with numerous heroes and heroines, some of whom have been lauded for their efforts, in assisting us to achieve ‘freedom from Backra’. During this Emancipation and Independence week let us reflect on the strength, struggle/resistance, and above the reason these individuals along with the women, men, girls and boys who found for us to achieve what we now have.

At this time when all seem to be nothing but chaos, criminals are rampant, lawlessness seem to be the order of the day we MUST ensure that we don’t fall slaves to our fears of these elements that seem bend on crippling the society or fore-parents fought so hard to get, so we could live free of oppression and injustice.

If you ask me i will tell you, ‘yes, to move forward we need to renew ourselves in the conviction of our ancestors to combat the criminal elements that seem not to want the development of our economy and a just society.’

As i leave you in the strength of Nanny, Paul Bogle, Sam Sharpe, and our other National Heroes, i asked that you reflect our our National Anthem, Pledge and Song, for in them we’ll all find a conviction to make small and even large changes to our lives.

The National Anthem
Eternal Father bless our land
Guard us with Thy mighty hand.
Keep us free from evil powers
Be our light through countless hours
To our leaders, Great Defender,
Grant true wisdom from above
Justice, truth, be ours forever,
Jamaica Land we love.
Jamaica, Jamaica, Jamaica
Land we love.
      Teach us true respect for all
      Stir response to duty’s call.
      Strengthen us the weak to cherish
      Give us vision lest we perish
        Knowledge send us

Heavenly Father

      Grant true wisdom from above,
      Justice, truth, be ours forever
      Jamaica Land we love.
      Jamaica, Jamaica, Jamaica
    Land we love.
The National Pledge
- for use in schools at the beginning and end of term and on other special occasions.Before God and all mankind, I pledge the love and loyalty of my heart, the wisdom and courage of my mind, the strength and vigor of my body in the service of my fellow citizens.

I promise to stand up for Justice, Brotherhood and Peace, to work diligently and creatively, to think generously and honestly, so that Jamaica may, under God, increase in beauty, fellowship and prosperity, and play her part in advancing the welfare of the whole human race.

- for use in schoolsI PLEDGE MY HEART (to the tune of “I vow to thee, my country)

I pledge my heart forever
To serve with humbled pride
This shining homeland ever
So long as earth abide

I pledge my hear this island,
As God and faith shall live.
My work, my strength, my love and
My loyalty to give.
O green isle of the Indies,
Jamaica, strong and free,
Our vows and loyal promises,
O heartland,’tis to thee



Patience is a virtue, but business is time and money. Whether you want to believe this or not it is real, today it’s all about the online world. The internet, another name for it, has therefore become the place where most of us, particular Generation Y live. We read blogs instead of newspapers, watch YouTube instead of TV and listening podcast instead of radio. In essence all the tools we use are available on the internet, rightfully so because it’s becoming more and more convenient to be online away from odious computers or laptops to web-enabled phones.

In the evolution of banking, the mobile channel is rapidly becoming a convenient financial service, which 100% Jamaican-owned National Commercial Bank (NCB) is capitalising on. NCB has given customers the control of their personal finance management of reviewing account details or checking account balances, transferring funds amongst NCB accounts, paying credit card and utilities bills all in Mobile Banking. Continue reading



Sometimes i don’t know why i follow these things but i do. This one got me upset though! Fully Time loser Raz-B the former B2K singer been popped a beef with Chris Brown over some Rihanna comment, which saw Chris using some anti-gay slurs. Chris Brown have however apologize, but the Fully Loser Raz-B to my knowledge lives on seeking attention.

Chris Brown's exit came after a week's worth of Twitter-based ranting about stores not stocking his new album Graffiti.

 

I say this Raz B dude is seeking attention because ever since we in internet land hear that Rude Boy singer Rihanna and her baseball boyfriend Matt Kemp split up, this dude been tweeting nonstop about his love for her.

Chris Brown who in the argument with Raz B used anti-gay slurs tried to clear the air today:

Yesterday was an unfortunate lack in judgment sparked by public Twitter attacks from Raz B, who was bent on getting attention. Words cannot begin to express how sorry and frustrated I am over what transpired publicly on Twitter,” Brown told TMZ. “I have learned over the past few years to not condone or represent acts of violence against anyone. Molestation and victims of such acts are not to be taken lightly; and for my comments I apologize — from the bottom of my heart.”

Without getting into much more here is what transpired.

__________________________

“This is the video that made me fall for @Rihanna ummmm I’m gonna chew you up a bubblegum,” Raz tweeted, adding a link to Ri’s “Rude Boy” video.

It’s an odd way to try to get someone like Rihanna’s attention, but Raz has been doing a lot of strange sh*t lately.

He continued his Rihanna tweets, then out of nowhere dissed singers Eric Benet and Chris Brown.

“I’m sitting here thinking how can n*ggas like @ebenet & @ChrisBrown disrespect women as intelligent as @HalleBerry11 and @Rihanna.”

That was all it took to get Breezy fired up, he quickly shot back, “@razb2k n*gga you want attention! Grow up n*gga!!! D*ck in the booty a** lil boy.”

From that point on the two exchanged insults back and forth.

Raz: @Chrisbrown Do you hit your boyfriend @andre_merritt like you do your women?

CB: Tell me this @razb2k!! Why when the money was coming in u won’t complaining about getting butplugged! #homothug!!!

Raz: @chrisbrown I luv how u resort 2 disrespectful low brow tactics when u clearly sabotaged ur own career by beating women!

CB: I ain’t deleting my tweet either!! I was minding my damn business and Peter pan decides to pop off!!! # whatalame. I’m not homophobic! He’s just disrespectful!!!

Raz: Ur not homophobic, ur juz homosexual on the low! yo @chrisbrown i heard about all yo BoyFriends & tell yo cheerleader @1omarion 2 shut the f*ck up b4 i send J BOOG 2 f*ck HIS MaMa again

CB: @razb2k when I need tips on how to demolish my career I’ll call ya!!!!! it’s funny how I’m nominated for 3 grAmmys off of a mixtape and ur scrambling for change!! ur a x backup singer!!!!! What do u make? Like $1.99 an hour. This argument lasted longer than your career.

Raz: @chrisbrown you steady talking about your career and homothugs but you have yet to respond about your boyfriend @Andre_Merritt

CB: @razb2k merry christmas.i just gave you 20 thousand more followers.. u shouldve did this first instead of telling the world you got raped.

Raz: @Chrisbrown Since you took this that far! Dude, i wasnt Raped! what a disrespect to every Kid around the world that has been Molested!!!!!

CB: @razb2k… you didnt get raped??? so that means you liked it.. #EPICFAIL you have a lower back tattoo that says “different strokes”

Raz: @chrisbrown u victimize victims, ur a homophobe, ur on the down low & a woman beater. Merry Christmas & thx 4 showin every1 ur true colors. My step-dad is doin 25 2 life 4 abusin my mom & i heard U say ur mom was abused & this is how u represent urself by disrespectin WOMEN?!

CB: RAZBFACT: he can braid a n*ggaz hair with his toes!!!!! C’mon son. AWWW YOUR butt hurt!!! literally.. i cant .. i gotta stop

Raz: @chrisbrown Is this your way of coming on to me???? Dude im not Gay! i was molested! stop disrespecting the LGBT community! Fact! i’ll be Starring in the KING of RHYTHM Movie! ike Tunner Life story! I have role for you! YOU need to stop Hidin behind that Michael jackson picture! MJ would never hit a Woman! you should take down Mike and PUT up IKE.

CB: OK… im done GODBLESS YA @razb2k .. go get all my mixtapes and get that F.A.M.E album so you can learn how to be great!love ya #teambreezy

Raz: @chrisbrown Oh yea, your Michael Jackson tribute was cool, until you made it about yourself!!!!! What a Disgrace!!!! God bless you too! @Rihanna I see why you not with that Clown. Keep going hard I wish you the best with your success.

And that was that, it’s crazy how twitter gets people to say things they would normally never say in public.



Most popular and controversial entertainer for this year Vybz Kartel and the King of Mix Ragashanti speak on several things including his new skin colour, Beenie Man and an being a business person.

The entertainer speaks quite eloquent along with his business partner Corey about many things that many Jamaican’s been asking about, including the Boxing Day raid that the  police  conducted. There is also talks of raising cash for a dance member of the Raver’s Claveers who is in the United States (US) and needs money for a surgery.

Vybz Kartel Interview With Raggashanti about Boxing day Police Raid

 



As a December baby and a Sagittarian, of which I’m both proud, I usually have it a bit difficult when it comes around to this part of that “giving” part of the season; perhaps because my birthday comes a mere 5 days before the 26th of December, hugely celebrated as Christmas Day.  I have been chastised as being highly unfair for demanding gifts for both days. But why should I be chastise, aren’t both days different; one the 19th and the other the 25th?

Sigh! For reason that I’m not usually the fuss one, or I will try to, I usually end up just giving up and letting the gift giver be free to do what they want.

Consistently, I’m mostly given gift on Christmas Day, and sometimes a day or two before to serve for both. Usually when I’m being given a gift I’m told, like most gift-givers do ‘I don’t know if it’s what you want’, and I guess I know the reasons why person would say this….I’m often accused of being more than the average dynamic personality and one with “different taste” ; I call it a “Uniqueness”.

Cut the chase, here is what I want for my Birthday and Christmas!

10. J. Crew Cashmere cardigan

I’m not high on fashion but any fashion dummy who needs 101 on fashion advice like myself can sure tell that a J. Crew Cashmere cardigan is an ideal key piece no matter what the season. Made from supersoft, luxurious Italian cashmere in a 12-gauge knit from a world-famous mill. Finished with genuine shell buttons. Welt pockets. This would be an excellent Birthday or Christmas gift.

9. Nice Specs

Every outfit ought to have a shades to go with it….damn i’m beginning to sound like some fashion person, which i’m not. For me once it matches my face I’m good, i kinda of miss these shades show that i once had. I once remember a friend early this year had promise to be me this cute pair of shades, but i guess i need to remind them.

8. A Laptop

I’m not the extravagant type, and I’m sure not a techie, so i need a laptop that does the average stuff update my blog and a little design here and there…you know were in this business for making money. I like a Dell Studio or XPS, but my mama did grow me up with ambitions and so I will never deny a MacBook Pro.

7. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens [Oprah's 2010 LATEST Book Club Selection]

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…”

Beginning and ending with some of English literature‘s most famous lines, Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities thrives on tension and conflict, all set against a bloody backdrop of the French Revolution. The Dickens novel is said to be pack with a sense of urgency and intimacy that will draw you in and propel you through one of the most tumultuous times in history.

More Details at Oprah Book Club

6. Picnic basket

I would love to be surprised by some friends for an evening out picnicking with some delicious foods, drinks and desserts; I’ve always want to do this and have never gotten to. Please do not forget Oatmeal Raisins Cookies, they are my favourite, you could get them from Pastry Passions because they taste just like how my mom makes them.

5. iPod Touch

Divinity at your hands! Lol…okay just before you all start rebuking me, I have been saving for the longest while to myself one of these and keeps spending the money. I like the iPod Touch for a number of reasons beyond just storing music, its HD Video capability and gaming, yes people I did say game, I do play them too and i love ‘em too!

4. Pretty Little Things

Jilliane Hoffman is by now one of my favourite author, not because i’ve had the chance to chat up with her via the internet, but since she has been tackling some of the most gruesome aspects of human behaviour and keeps me turning pages.

Pretty Little Things is her latest work and is a creepy psychological suspense thriller about an online predator who kidnaps underage girls, keeping them locked up for months before killing them.

Special Agent Bobby Dees has a very vested interest in this case because his own little 17-year-old has been missing for a year, so he understands the pain of losing a child and is willing to do whatever he can to prevent it from happening again. When the phone rings on a Sunday morning it will knock him from his insular world of grief and sleepless nights – and into a far darker place. A young girl, Elaine Emerson, has gone missing and only Dees have a chance of finding her. It seems that Elaine was last seen waiting to meet her boyfriend – a mysterious figure she met secretly on the internet, who goes by the name of “El Capitan”, and whose reality is as cruel and chilling as the worst thing Dees can imagine.

3. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dicken [Oprah's 2010 LATEST Book Club Selection]


“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…”

Beginning and ending with some of English literature’s most famous lines, Charles Dickens‘ A Tale of Two Cities thrives on tension and conflict, all set against a bloody backdrop of the French Revolution. The Dickens novel is said to be pack with a sense of urgency and intimacy that will draw you in and propel you through one of the most tumultuous times in history.

Read More About The Book at Oprah’s Book Club

2. Freedom by Jonathan Frazen

My third item from the 2010 Oprah Book Club List, Freedom is an epic family saga that has it all—sex, love…and even rock ‘n’ roll. Freedom captures the temptations and burdens of liberty: the thrills of teenage lust, the shaken compromises of middle age, the wages of suburban sprawl, the responsibility of privilege. Charting the characters’ mistakes and joys as they struggle to learn how to live in an ever-changing and confusing world, Freedom is an indelible and deeply moving portrait of our time.

See what Oprah Says About It

1. Cuba Trip

Everyone who reads my tweets or know me would have heard that I wanted to go Cuba for my Birthday since August! Without a doubt Cuba is the cultural capital of the Caribbean, with something absolutely for everyone; whether cultural or historical sites in the cities or nature and wildlife. With over 300 museums, with various specialization from art to science and technology, even anthropology, ethnography and history; I know I’ll be spellbound! Less I forget I’m a diving enthusiast and i’m told I’ll fall in love with Cuba.



“Only after one understands how freedom and rights are being suppressed by the managers of imperial states — even as they preach peace, freedom, justice, rights, and majority rule to their citizens to maintain their beliefs in the morality of their society, and thus assure the continued support of the masses for inflicting such violence upon the world — can one write honest history. If one does not understand that process, one is almost certain to write a history in which, unbeknownst to the author, the background and documentation have been carefully created to give Managers of State the freedom to suppress other people’s rights and transfer their wealth to the imperial center through unequal trades.”

J.W. Smith, Economic Democracy; The Political Struggle for the 21st Century, (M.E. Sharpe, 2000), p.95

Over the years we have come to associate September 2001 and more specific the 11th date, as one of the most significant date in modern history. No doubt it is. As a youngster who was born, using social historians William Strauss and Neil Howe, in the Millennial Generation (or Millennials) or more specific Generation Y –after 1982 –it was to signal the beginning of the shaping of my intellectual and scholarship on global issues.

I became an avid reader of any news items, particular the newspaper and anything that brought newsworthy items they where like my new best friends. Even more so surprising was that I was still in high school and a few months from being enrolled in my Freelance Journalism courses with the Manchester, England based Writer’s Bureau College of Journalism. And then the ill-fated, September 11 attacks (also referred to as 9/11 or September 11th) happened, catapulting my interest; it was like the perfect seasoning added to an uncooked meal.

In the media in the days and weeks that follow all attention was focus on the 9/11 attacks. Who was responsible for the act, why now, and how were it to benefit that party or parties; were only some of the questions that swirled around in the young brain of mine as I sat glued. Like most persons outside of the United States that evening into the night as I watched footage showing the crumbling of buildings and people holding hands jumping through windows (avoiding death perhaps), as two commercial passenger jet airliners crashing into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City; a third airliner into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, just outside Washington, D.C; and a fourth plane crashed into a field near Shanksville in rural Pennsylvania. In each case there were no survivors.

George W. Bush, the President of the United States of America, at that time was in a school in Florida reading to some children. When presented with the news he remained unruffled as if the first on soil attack of his country wasn’t happening right at that given moment; a terrorist attack, he would later say. In fact of concern to news reporters and political commentators was that the President was allowed by the Secret Services to remain at the school for over half hour, some say without a concern if his life was at risk before attempting to take the reigns as military leader of his country; it was perhaps this action that would later give rise to many conspiracies view and solidified the view this was not an Islamic terrorist attack as Bush would later want us to believe .

In analyzing the attack many views came out. The US government was perhaps the most priced and which many media houses around the world and most importantly the American people and other nationalities in that country, who had family who were in the World Trade Center or the hijacked planes, waited for some explanation. The world was told that al-Qaeda was responsible for the series of coordinated suicide attacks on the US soil that killed nearly 3,000 victims along with the 19 hijackers. I had no knowledge of whom or what al-Qaeda was; even more confusing to me was when the name Afghanistan, a country that had largely been unknown to me before 9/11, was added.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, the 32nd President of the United States and a central figure in world events in the mid-20th century, leading his country through worldwide economic crisis and a world war once said: “In politics nothing happens by accident if it happens, you can bet it was planned that way.”

So who was truly responsible for the 9/11 attacks then?

Conspiracy theorist have allege that the 9/11were either intentionally allowed to happen or were a false flag operation orchestrated by what some have described as “a Government within a Government” inside the United States government. This reference is believed to be that of the Project for New American Century (PNAC) members who made up the Bush Administration of Dick Cheney, Vice President; Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense; and Paul Wolfowitz, Deputy Secretary of Defense.

As a student of history at the University level, looking back to September 11, it is not hard to see that that what was happening was the beginning of a “new game”. A game where there would be a fight against Asian economies and more precise Islam. In supporting this I cite the work of Historian, Dr. Sultana Afroz in The New Great Game in Asia:

With the demise of the Soviet Union, consequent to the Soviet defeat in the hands of the “mujahedeen” in Afghanistan, Islam became the rising terror to the West. Much of the resources essential to the survival of the developed West, i.e. oil and gas are also in lands belonging to the Muslims in Central Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, and Southeast Asia. Added to this fear over the Islamic control of oil and gas are the new challenges from China and India as the emerging world economic powers. As Afghanistan began to emerge as a stronghold of Islam with the Taliban in power, its strategic location vis-à-vis the resources in Central Asia and China, and its Islamic faith gained credence in a new emerging US foreign policy for the 21st century in the late nineteen-nineties. Pakistan, considered to be an ally of the West during the Cold War and a frontline state during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, is once again in the global chessboard in the so-called ‘War on Terror” and faces a threat to its territorial integrity. India not only conveniently uses the “War on Terror” to label the people of Indian Occupied Kashmir as terrorists but is also positioning herself as a counterbalance to the growing economic and military power of China. In these complexities, Afghanistan, currently, is occupied by a coalition of 41 countries headed by NATO forces under the command of US General David McKiernan.”(1)

While these are only “Words of wisdom that break through the fog of lies created by the shadows that cower in the depths” I implore you to watch the documentary embedded below of the untold stories of PNAC and how every major war in the US history was base on fraud with actual insiders themselves admitting it. The film you’re about to watch:

“Shows how the first film theaters in the US were used over a hundred years ago to broadcast propaganda to rile the American people into the Spanish-American War… [it shows] the white papers of the oil company Unocal which called for the creation of a pipeline through Afghanistan and how their exact needs were fulfilled through the US invasion of Afghanistan. This film shows how Halliburton under their “cost plus” exclusive contract with the US Government went on a mad dash spending spree akin to something out of the movie Brewster’s Millions, yet instead of blowing $30 million they blew through BILLIONS by literally burning millions of dollars worth of hundred thousand dollar cars and trucks if they had so much as a flat tire.”(2)

After watching the video I must say I realize a number of things and as such though it was good to share through this blog, through reflection my journey when I first took interest in this issue in high school. As a student now majoring in History & Social Policy at the University level the chilling details documented in this film shows exactly how power & propaganda can be used especially when you stand at the helm of Government. I’m sure this is going to be a source of debate amongst some of my friends who will be reading, as well as my Twitter followers who follow me at http://www.twitter.com/lgrandison

Enjoy life and the pursuit of happiness.
Sources:

1. Afroz, Sultana, The New Game in Central Asia http://izenjero.wordpress.com/2009/07/20/the-new-great-game-in-central-asia/

2. The New American Century http://tiny.cc/NewAmerica

For Readings on the Alternative Theories of the 9/11 Attack: http://stj911.org/hypotheses/alternative.html



Author: Anthony N. Morgan
B.C.L./LL.B. Candidate Class of 2011
McGill University, Faculty of Law
GraceKennedy Jamaican Birthright Ambassador

As this is being written, the United Nations Millennium Development Goals Summit is taking place in New York. This global gathering will include the heads of government and representatives of developed states, many of whom will reaffirm their countries’ commitment to the Millennium Development Goals which aim to sharply reduce poverty, increase global equality and provide greater protection for the environment.

Despite the fact that the Caribbean is well represented at this global forum, and that some Caribbean leaders are even scheduled to speak at the event, there’s a cold hard truth that Caribbean people at home and abroad must not forget: As long as our Caribbean sun stays hot, our waters stay blue and our beaches remain a pristinely beautiful getaway for western tourists, none of the big players on the international stage have any real incentive to do much to serve the well-being of Caribbean people.

The fact remains that there are persistent and fundamental flaws in the United Nations system which make it so that the fanciful speeches, proclamations, pledges and declarations that will no doubt come out of this global gathering, will not have the benefit of legal enforceability. Though these pronouncements will garner celebratory media attention and self-congratulatory back=patting among developed states, there is no court or official structures that we can go to to force these states to honour these or any of their other anti-poverty and pro-development pledges. This is an important fact that explains why we have heard so many well-meaning, sweetly-sounding statements come out of the UN, but have seen very little progress in the amelioration of conditions in the developing world, especially in the Caribbean.

So how do Caribbean people make these international forums really work for us? How do we get the governments of the developed world to fully live up to the promises they’ve made to helping our Caribbean states (as developing countries) alleviate poverty by increasing the health, wealth and well-being of our people?

My suggestion is that Caribbean Diaspora people facilitate greater connections with our people at home so that the Caribbean Diaspora can engage in organized, active and effective diaspora diplomacy.

So what is diaspora diplomacy? Generally speaking, diaspora diplomacy in the case of the Caribbean would entail Caribbean diaspora populations in the US, UK and Canada officially coming together in their respective countries and lobbying their governments on issues that affect Caribbean development. The aim of this would be to make these developed states engage in policies and practices that are more favourable to Caribbean countries.

Now skeptics may ask: “why in the world would the US, UK or Canadian government listen to us?”. The answer is, unlike when we first arrived in these countries en mass, a significant number of us are now citizens of these states and/or have the power to vote. Though we form numerous communities in varied places in the US, UK and Canada, we are still relatively concentrated in these communities (think New York, Miami, Toronto, Montreal, London and Birmingham).Thus, with the appropriate initiative, will and vision, we can form effective voting blocs which politicians in our areas would be greatly inclined to pay attention to if they’re interested in being re-elected.

Whether it be fairer terms of trade, debt cancellation, disaster relief or more technology transfers for the purpose of building green economies, the Caribbean Diaspora, if strategic and properly organized, could demand that their diaspora governments provide Caribbean states with this support. Diaspora diplomacy, then, would mean collectively making it known that Caribbean Diaspora people will not vote for representatives who do not demonstrate a serious interest in the advancement of the Caribbean.

Before we can evolve to the position of forming these voting blocs and engage in diaspora diplomacy, there are four crucial things that the Caribbean Diaspora must first do, lest our efforts come to naught: 1) Overcome the ‘immigrant mentality’; 2) Organize under a ‘One Caribbean’ banner; 3) Start taking a greater and interest in finding out how US, UK and Canadian government policies and positions are affecting the Caribbean and; 4) Engage in more active and permanent forms of communication with Caribbean people still living in the region.

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1.       Overcoming the “immigrant mentality”.

When Caribbean people first arrived en mass in the US, UK and Canada during the 40s, 50s and 60s, we faced the insecurity of being Black immigrants in times when racism and anti-immigrant sentiments brewed much more blatantly and violently than we are used to seeing today. Thus, we did not only fear having to face mental, emotional and physical abuse (from other immigrants and non-immigrants alike), but also had the fear of possibly being sent back to the islands if we made too much of a fuss or drew too much attention to our hardships.

This ultimately led the people of the Caribbean Diaspora to develop a habit of silent suffering and teaching future generations to just take things as they are (as unjust as they may be at times), and avoid “troubling” the government to make changes that would better our lives in these new places. Added to this, we were taught and often believed that we had arrived to the promise land and so would be fools to do anything that might somehow get us deported. Thus, we started a practice of vilifying any one of our diaspora members who pushed too hard for change, dismissing and decrying them as “trouble-makers” and “radicals”.

But today, things are very different. Open racism is no longer acceptable and is condemned in our diaspora countries. Moreover, we are certainly not the “immigrants” we once were. Now we have children, grand-children and even great grand-children who are full citizens with full rights of public participation and equal voting power. Collectively, however, the Caribbean Diaspora is yet to mentally mature into embracing this reality.

We remain hesitant and timid when it comes to making forceful and pointed demands of our governments and become overly deferential and uncritical (often to the point of appearing ridiculous) when a politician attends one of our community events. At the heart of this is a lingering fear that the immigrant mentality brings. Today, the immigrant mentality fear is most present in the sentiments that we should not openly and forcefully criticize or make demands of our politicians because, “they will cut our funding…”.

We need to crush this spirit and mentality of dependence, especially where it interferes with our aims to help our home-countries. We are no longer simply, “tolerated immigrants”, we are now woven into the fabric of our diaspora countries. As such, I encourage Caribbean Diaspora people to rise up wherever we are, take our place as equal citizens and demand that our diaspora governments adopt foreign policy that is more advantageous to Caribbean countries. Now that we’re citizens (most of us), if we make too much noise, there’s no place they can send us. We’re already home!

2.       Organizing under the banner of “One Caribbean”.

A dying generation of Caribbean Diaspora people think that it is still best that we continue to organize and mobilize exclusively under our national identities. As the logic goes, by way of example, only once Jamaicans have successfully helped Jamaica, can Jamaicans meaningfully partner with Haitians, Trinidadians, St. Lucians, etc. in aid of their respective countries. This mental filth still clutters the minds of Caribbean Diaspora people who are yet to mentally emancipate past these slave and colonial mentalities.

We should not subscribe to the thinking that says “if Europe is doing it, it must be good and right”. However, if the counties of Europe can wake up to the fact that their individual positions on the world stage are greatly imperilled unless they form a strong partnership (the European Union), the Caribbean Diaspora must also realize that Caribbean people organizing solely along national lines will only amount to us perpetuating problems, where by the year 2020, we will all agree that it would have been better for our islands to have sunk to the bottom of the sea.

In the eyes of world powers, individual Caribbean states hold little more than tiny markets, a few bananas and some pretty beaches. In all other regards, as individual states, we are irrelevant to them. Together, however, the Caribbean represents a sizeable market for foreign goods, and also controls a very important and quite massive area of air and water which the US, UK and Canada need for easy access to major emerging markets in Latin America.

In other words, successful diaspora diplomacy necessitates Caribbean Diaspora people from big islands to small islands and French islands to English islands, coming together as one and advocating as a single unit in order to get our diaspora governments in the US. UK and Canada to better serve the interests of Caribbean states, individually and collectively.

3.       Educate ourselves on the foreign policies of our Diaspora countries regarding the Caribbean

Caribbean Diaspora people are woefully ignorant when it comes to having knowledge concerning what the foreign policies, programs and initiatives their US, UK and Canadian governments have on-going in the Caribbean. For diaspora diplomacy to work, we must inform ourselves about what our diaspora countries are doing in the Caribbean and how their foreign policies are directly or indirectly hindering the development of Caribbean states. We must take much more of an interest in learning about this so that diaspora diplomacy can be founded and guided by more than blind presumptions, speculation and incomplete information. There is no way the Caribbean Diaspora will be taken seriously in its acts of diaspora diplomacy if it has not first taken the time to learn and know what is already in place on the ground.

4.       Staying informationally grounded and tied to the Caribbean
Finally, diaspora diplomacy cannot and should not happen where Caribbean Diaspora people are not hearing directly and frequently from Caribbean people still living in our respective states. The Caribbean Diaspora risks becoming a paternalistic and quasi-colonial power if it is not committed to forcefully and collectively advocating for what we are told and gather from Caribbean people are their most pressing and important needs. Through permanent and frequent communication with our people back home, we can learn about what is really going on and be most responsibly and relevantly engaged in diaspora diplomacy in the interest of our Caribbean states.

In closing, diaspora diplomacy should not be regarded as an option for the Caribbean Diaspora, but rather a necessity. Indeed, it requires that we overcome irrational patterns of thinking that slavery and colonialism have left as scars on our mentalities. But this is work that must be done. Our people and politicians back home simply do not have the power or resources to force developed states to treat the Caribbean more fairly in international dealings. They need us to rise up where we are in the diaspora and force this change. If we do not wise up to this, the current UN World Summit will be like all the others; hot on promises and pleasantries and cold on meaningful benefits for our beloved Caribbean countries. For Caribbean Diaspora people who doubt our power to make diaspora diplomacy an effective and useful reality for the Caribbean, I recall the curt and profound proclamation of Marcus Garvey: “Up, up, you mighty race!/ You can accomplish/ what you will!

Author: Anthony N. Morgan
B.C.L./LL.B. Candidate Class of 2011
McGill University, Faculty of Law
GraceKennedy Jamaican Birthright Ambassador



Have you seen any ads for energy drinks lately?…the provocative women and the words that challenge men to ‘step up to the plate’? Concern has been voiced by TV viewers and participants of Women’s Media Watch workshops throughout the island about how uncomfortable – even distressed – they are about the sexual nature of many energy drink advertisements such as Mandingo roots drink.

WMW contends that the portrayal of women and the images of men conjured up in energy drink ads such as those for Mandingo, reincarnation of an age-old colonial ideology and representation of African humanity as overly sexed and animalist.

The history of the interaction of cultures and imperialism is replete with racial and gender stereotypes of Africans, Asians and Indigenous peoples. In these representations Europeans have promoted themselves as a superior standard for the rest of humanity to emulate.

For the African, the imperial project was clear: de-Africanize, racialise, dehumanise, objectify and sexualize.

Let us go back in time and explore how Europeans justified their treatment of Africans during the 15th to early 20th centuries to sustain imperial power, and accumulate wealth, human capital and lands.

During Afro-Caribbean enslavement for instance, the dominant colonial model of manhood and masculinity embodied power, property, refinement and Christian ethic among other things. African manhood and masculinity on the other hand was the negative opposite: brutish, devoid of intellect, having a large penis, thriving on strong carnal energies that could serve the needs of populating the plantation. African womanhood was perceived as “extreme lasciviousness” and prone to “simple and animal living”.(1)

The female physical endowments of African women were often exaggerated as lacking refinement, posture, and proper reproductive functions, reducing them to “wenches” to breed on plantations and subject to sexual violence by white men. This consistent ideology served to emasculate and defeminise enslaved African men and women respectively. Certain pejorative categories such as “Hottentots”, “Mandingos”, “bejewelled darkies” and many more, emerged from centuries of writing by European “explorers”, planters, colonial administrators and missionaries from the Renaissance period well into the 20th century. (2,3,4)

Compare the picture of the willing model, Maliah Michel for the Mandingo ad with the picture of Sara Baartman known as “Hottentot Venus”, the subject of 18th century scientific objectivism, often used to justify “close kinship with apes” and whose body upon death was dissected by George Cuvier (French naturalist and zoologist) who was fascinated by the “genitalia of blacks”.

Jules Virey (Naturalist and Professor of Pharmacy, 1775-1847) for example, constantly harped on the ‘animality of blacks':

“Moreover, the negro brutally abandons himself to the most villainous excesses; his soul is …more steeped in the material, more encrusted in animality, more driven by purely physical appetites… if man consists mainly of his spiritual faculties, it is incontestable that the negro is less human in this respect; he is closer to the life of brutes because we see him obeying his stomach, his sexual parts, in sum his senses, rather than reason.”(5)

Fast forward these ideologies a few centuries, and we find contemporary versions of the “reinvented nigger” in our present media culture. The Mandingo roots drink ads, alongside others, join a spate of energy drinks on the Jamaican market that rely on racial, gender and sexual stereotypes which promote the idea of black male prowess (and little else) and lascivious, seductive and pliant black females. With a woman straddling the human size bottle symbolizing a phallus the Mandingo ads ask, “Are you man enough?” So, man is defined by his ability to perform sexually, and what’s more, his performance needs to be enhanced by the energy drink.

This self-denigration continues through time. The 1975 Hollywood film “Mandingo” (re-released on DVD in 2008) portrays black men as sexual beasts and stud-like.

Not everyone drinks in these images and stereotypes indiscriminately. It is clear from the feedback WMW receives from the Jamaican public that these ads are found wanting, even without the historical and cultural filters:

“The Mandingo ad needs a PG warning or aired at nights only.”

(Primary School Guidance Counsellor, Hanover)

“As a man, I find some of these ads offensive.” (Community Leader, St. James)

“Magnum or Mandingo is clearly selling sex…if it’s for sexual stimulation it is not supposed to be openly advertised.” (Member, Kingston & St.Andrew Action Forum)

These concerns centre on the portrayal of sexual objectification in the ad and its inappropriateness for children’s viewing. Based on the Broadcasting Commission’s guidelines the images would indeed violate the PG rating when shown at certain times. This raises the question of ethics and standards addressed by Gary Allen, chairman of the Media Association of Jamaica in a statement to the Press Association of Jamaica, February 2010.

Allen implored the PAJ to bear in mind three critical principles that should bear on their profession: Excellence, Standards and Ethics. He acknowledged the difficulty in maintaining standards in their profession and the urgency to establish a Media Code of Ethics to prevent the erosion of standards in the industry.

We hope that marketers and advertisers will use their astute business sense to make the connections between effective marketing for profit, and the preservation of our society – and align their own messages and designs accordingly. There are clear links between what we sell, how we sell and how wesee ourselves. These links affect the way we relate to each other.

Many energy drink ads, WMW suggests, present messages which recall those of former colonial powers. They remind us that violence can be mental as much as it can be physical.

The use of denigrating racial and gender stereotypes is a form of self-imposed mental violence that reduces our sense of power and our humanity. In this post-emancipation era, we have an obligation not to perpetuate these stereotypes and to point these out where they occur.

We call on those who create ads and other media products to be aware of their social responsibility. Let us use our Jamaican strength, indomitable spirit, humour and sharp intellect to create media messages! WMW

Author: Women Media Watch

Reprinted from the WMW Newsletter

References

1. Said, Edward, 1993. Culture and Imperialism. NY: Verso Books.

2. Long, 1774, vol. 2 cited Jahoda, Gustav. 1999. Images of Savages: Ancient Roots of Modern Prejudice in Western Culture. London: Routledge.

3. Alleyne, Meryvn. 2002. The Construction and Representation of Race and Ethnicity in the Caribbean and the World. Kingston: UWI Press

4. Wood, Marcus. 2000. Blind Memory: Visual Representations of Slavery in England and America 1780-1865. NY: Routledge.

5. Virey 1834 Vol. 2, p. 117 in Jahoda, see (2)


Have you seen any ads for energy drinks lately?…the provocative women and the words that challenge men to ‘step up to the plate’? Concern has been voiced by TV viewers and participants of Women’s Media Watch workshops throughout the island about how uncomfortable – even distressed – they are about the sexual nature of many energy drink advertisements such as Mandingo roots drink.

WMW contends that the portrayal of women and the images of men conjured up in energy drink ads such as those  for Mandingo, reincarnation of an age-old colonial ideology and representation of African humanity as overly sexed and animalist.

The history of the interaction of cultures and imperialism is replete with racial and gender stereotypes of Africans, Asians and Indigenous peoples. In these representations Europeans have promoted themselves as a superior standard for the rest of humanity to emulate.

For the African, the imperial project was clear: de-Africanize, racialise, dehumanise, objectify and sexualize.

Let us go back in time and explore how Europeans justified their treatment of Africans during the 15th to early 20th centuries to sustain imperial power, and accumulate wealth, human capital and lands.

During Afro-Caribbean enslavement for instance, the dominant colonial model of manhood and masculinity embodied power, property, refinement and Christian ethic among other things. African manhood and masculinity on the other hand was the negative opposite: brutish, devoid of intellect, having a large penis, thriving on strong carnal energies that could serve the needs of populating the plantation. African womanhood was perceived as “extreme lasciviousness” and prone to “simple and animal living”.(1)

The female physical endowments of African women were often exaggerated as lacking refinement, posture, and proper reproductive functions, reducing them to “wenches” to breed on plantations and subject to sexual violence by white men. This consistent ideology served to emasculate and defeminise enslaved African men and women respectively. Certain pejorative categories such as “Hottentots”, “Mandingos”,  “bejewelled darkies” and many more, emerged from centuries of writing by European “explorers”, planters, colonial administrators and missionaries from the Renaissance period well into the 20th century. (2,3,4)

Compare the picture of the willing model, Maliah Michel for the Mandingo ad with the picture of Sara Baartman known as “Hottentot Venus”, the subject of 18th century scientific objectivism, often used to justify “close kinship with apes” and whose body upon death was dissected by George Cuvier (French naturalist and zoologist) who was fascinated by the “genitalia of blacks”.

Jules Virey (Naturalist and Professor of Pharmacy, 1775-1847) for example, constantly harped on the ‘animality of blacks':

“Moreover, the negro brutally abandons himself to the most villainous excesses; his soul is …more steeped in the material, more encrusted in animality, more driven by purely physical appetites… if man consists mainly of his spiritual faculties, it is incontestable that the negro is less human in this respect; he is closer to the life of brutes because we see him obeying his stomach, his sexual parts, in sum his senses, rather than reason.”(5)

Fast forward these ideologies a few centuries, and we find contemporary versions of the “reinvented nigger” in our present media culture. The Mandingo roots drink ads, alongside others, join a spate of energy drinks on the Jamaican market that rely on racial, gender and sexual stereotypes which promote the idea of black male prowess (and little else) and lascivious, seductive and pliant black females. With a woman straddling the human size bottle symbolizing a phallus the Mandingo ads ask, “Are you man enough?” So, man is defined by his ability to perform sexually, and what’s more, his performance needs to be enhanced by the energy drink.

This self-denigration continues through time.  The 1975 Hollywood film “Mandingo” (re-released on DVD in 2008) portrays black men as sexual beasts and stud-like.

Not everyone drinks in these images and stereotypes indiscriminately. It is clear from the feedback WMW receives from the Jamaican public that these ads are found wanting, even without the historical and cultural filters:

“The Mandingo ad needs a PG warning or aired at nights only.”
(Primary School Guidance Counsellor, Hanover)

“As a man, I find some of these ads offensive.” (Community Leader, St. James)

“Magnum or Mandingo is clearly selling sex…if it’s for sexual stimulation it is not supposed to be openly advertised.” (Member, Kingston & St.Andrew Action Forum)

These concerns centre on the portrayal of sexual objectification in the ad and its inappropriateness for children’s viewing. Based on the Broadcasting Commission’s guidelines the images would indeed violate the PG rating when shown at certain times. This raises the question of ethics and standards addressed by Gary Allen, chairman of the Media Association of Jamaica in a statement to the Press Association of Jamaica, February 2010.

Allen implored the PAJ to bear in mind three critical principles that should bear on their profession: Excellence, Standards and Ethics. He acknowledged the difficulty in maintaining standards in their profession and the urgency to establish a Media Code of Ethics to prevent the erosion of standards in the industry.

We hope that marketers and advertisers will use their astute business sense to make the connections between effective marketing for profit, and the preservation of our society – and align their own messages and designs accordingly. There are clear links between what we sell, how we sell and how wesee ourselves. These links affect the way we relate to each other.

Many energy drink ads, WMW suggests, present messages which recall those of former colonial powers. They remind us that violence can be mental as much as it can be physical.

The use of denigrating racial and gender stereotypes is a form of self-imposed mental violence that reduces our sense of power and our humanity.  In this post-emancipation era, we have an obligation not to perpetuate these stereotypes and to point these out where they occur.

We call on those who create ads and other media products to be aware of their social responsibility. Let us use our Jamaican strength, indomitable spirit, humour and sharp intellect to create media messages!                                                                                                                             WMW

Author: Women Media Watch

References
1. Said, Edward, 1993. Culture and Imperialism. NY: Verso Books.
2. Long, 1774, vol. 2 cited Jahoda, Gustav. 1999. Images of Savages: Ancient Roots of Modern Prejudice in Western Culture. London: Routledge.
3. Alleyne, Meryvn. 2002. The Construction and Representation of Race and Ethnicity in the Caribbean and the World. Kingston: UWI Press
4. Wood,  Marcus. 2000. Blind Memory: Visual Representations of Slavery in England and America 1780-1865.  NY: Routledge.
5.  Virey  1834 Vol. 2, p. 117 in Jahoda,  see (2)



What does the future holds for Ragashanti, the popular talk show host of the NEWS TALK 93 FM programme ‘Mix up Blenda’, against the background that the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona Campus recently acquired 49% shares previously held by the Breakfast Club Limited in Universal Media Company (UMC)?

A statement released by the UWI stated, “The University of the West Indies Mona Campus is now the sole owner of Universal Media Company Limited.”

The media release by UWI also noted, “Under the new arrangement, the management structure and programmes of NewsTalk 93 FM are currently being evaluated and the University of the West Indies will make further announcements regarding the changes to be implemented.”

Ragga, as he is popular called by listeners, was recently the centre of much controversy because of the use of the Jamaica native tongue, patois, to conduct the programme by several parties. Ragga, who is or should we say was employed as a lecturer to the university, have been criticized in many circles to not display qualities of an intellect and traits synonymous to the UWI.

The man known to speak his mind never let the water flow and reacted to the criticism and even spoke out that persons were trying to get him out of the role of host of the popular talk show that attracts hundreds of listeners from across the island or drop the programme.

So with all this new changes taking place with NEWS TALK 93 FM what will happen to MIX UP AND BLENDA? Will the ultra conservative administration that started the debate on the style of Ragga, who’s programme attracts a lot of “ghetto people” be axed?

What are your views? The university is known to be a ground for intellectual development, unearthing new findings, preservation and empowerment among other things…does Raga programme contributes to this?



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