The word generally conjures up images of political, economic and cultural autonomy, but in the Jamaican context and in my own mind it is all a lie.
Despite the fact that it has now been 46 years since we have "gained independence" I am yet to see where this is actually so. I have spoken before on the fact that we are a nation almost entirely dependent on external sources for things as basic as our food supply, not to mention foreign exchange and that which I am most ashamed of; the assimilation of American culture to the point where we have lost ourselves almost completely.
Now, fresh from the fanfare of an Independence celebration complete with the renewal of floats, ceremonial entrances by various over-hyped ministers of state [whom I personally believe should be paid based on performance...and we should all have a referendum for the same], performances by an array of reggae artistes and other classical musicians and of course a mystifying fireworks display, this day more than anything should force us to ask ourselves what exactly have we done to earn the celebration?
And also why am I forced to stand at attention every time I go to see a movie when i'd rather just sit and eat my popcorn? [it's not that i'm unpatriotic, it's just that the thing is introduced by some voice telling me the national anthem is a symbol of our independence and my refusal to stand makes a statement :)]
Now while I am not advocating that patois me made our official language, I often resent being forced to speak "the Queen's English", and even worse to abide by the queen's laws still listed as part of our constitution. Law and order is necessary to avoid anarchy, but should we really have to rely on the British to make them?
Even worse we have slowly allowed globalization to influence our youth to wear those "hip" Kanye West shades to sessions at NIGHT and now everybody wants to be a rapper.
BYE, BYE, BACCHANAL
One thing I must express is my joy at seeing the patriotic turn-out of Jamaicans from all walks of life decked out in black, green and gold at the national stadium. Not to mention the floats from every group of people, from the "Passa Passa" float to the Coronation Market float. With this type of nationwide support we may very well be seeing the end of the predominantly upper-class carnival march [again an adopted custom]...it would be a welcome change.
Seriously people, i'm not here to exhaust you with philosophical babble [as a warm relative of mine has referred to my writing]...i'm just asking you to ask yourselves how far have we REALLY come?