We were tempted to publish the words of Bob Marley’s Redemption Song as our editorial for today, after all, this classic fits well with what the celebrations are all about – our ancestors’ freedom from plantation slavery about 184 years ago.
Those of us who are familiar with the history of the transatlantic slave trade understand perfectly Marley’s words when he sang “Old pirates, yes, they rob I, sold I to the merchant ships, minutes after they took I from the bottomless pit. But my hand was made strong by the hand of the Almighty…”
As Marley sings, “We forward in this generation triumphantly” we must ask ourselves whether we, as a people, have, over the years, advanced triumphantly?
Are we still singing songs of freedom? Are we still engaged in protest marches and giving speeches like we’re still on the plantation, or are we truly moving forward triumphantly, forging our own path and letting the rest of the world know that while we are willing to be friends with everyone, we certainly will not be a satellite of anyone? The size of our economy be damned!
Marley sings, “Emancipate yourself from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds.” Oh, how often have we heard these words, drummed into us not only through song but through our intellectuals, teachers, freedom fighters and others.
But are we adhering?
The question is easily answered. Some of us still cannot comprehend the enormity of August 1, 1838, the significance of this day in our history when in our beautiful Fair Helen 13, 285 slaves of African descent were granted their freedom, a small population out of which grew most of Saint Lucia’s population today.
While the commemoration of the day has never been what it truly should have been in Saint Lucia in recent times, what is most important is that too many of us still appear to be mentally enslaved. Too many of us impose slavery on ourselves instead of freeing ourselves from the things that plague us – and there are plenty things that plague us, such as jealousy, hatred, unreasonable expectations and the list goes on. How many times have we failed to empower ourselves with uplifting endeavours that could have moved us and country into areas of positive progress?
The mental slavery concept sang by Marley is also about the limitations we place on ourselves. Too many of us tell ourselves we cannot achieve, sometimes to a point that when an opportunity opens for us, we shy away from it because we are chained to the concept that we can’t attain certain goals – we fail before we even try
Yet we sing with Marley “Emancipate yourself from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds” not realizing how true those words are, and how important it is for us to do for ourselves what only ourselves can do for ourselves.
Many times we have heard the saying, ‘the mind is a powerful force, a terrible thing to waste’, yet many of us waste it every single day. Now is the time to use our minds wisely. Time to emancipate ourselves from mental slavery. Time to break the chains of mental imprisonment. Time to break the chains of self-enslavement – the strongest of all possible chains.