Mind en Blanc (Part 1)

The following is a statement from Michael Dawson, head of Ghetto People Publishing.

I’d like to immediately disclose my bias. I am the principal of Ghetto People Publishing Limited, publishers of Vybz Kartel’s book Voice of the Jamaican Ghetto and Twins of Twins’ Patrick Curly Lox Gaynor’s Road to Zion; so I advocate for the people labeled as ‘Ghetto Youth’ every day of my life WITHOUT APOLOGY. From school days, at my beloved Campion College, I got into trouble for daring to challenge the head of a religion by dismissing his theory that Saint Peter Claver did more for black people than Marcus Garvey. I maintained that Pan-African stance throughout my collegiate years leading boycotts and protests when I felt our rights as Jamaicans or black people were being violated on a campus where the student body was 93% white and equally wealthy. Since then, I have started the Teach Garvey Always foundation, created the Annual Marcus Garvey march, petitioned to turn Knutsford Boulevard into Garvey Boulevard as all our self-made industries are largely due to his influence, held symposiums bringing light to the Coral Gardens massacre, commemorated the Morant Bay Rebellion and advocated for the spirit of Paul Bogle to inspire our people to hold modern day peaceful rebellions against foreign ownership in Jamaica. Under what may have been the influence of herbs, I ran an ad on TVJ featuring a Rastafarian elder criticizing the government of Jamaica for not doing anything to help people in Darfur. So in sum, I have been an agitator and trouble maker for a long time, and not blindly or for any reward or ratings. In fact, I am well aware of the risks that are associated with speaking out against the system of class prejudice and foreign ownership in Jamaica. As learned Professor and Bogle scholar Louis Moyston stated on July 7 2012, “Anyone who speaks out against the system in Jamaica gets harassed or arrested by the police; that is not my opinion, that is a historical fact.”

Mario Deane

Mario Deane. On the left – in hospital after being beaten.

Therefore I do understand first-hand the painful price one pays in Jamaica for being a staunch opponent against the system and criticizing the actions of the rich and powerful in Jamaica. Even if you do not end up like Peter Tosh, Garnet Silk, Jacob Miller or Bob Marley, who all died very young and under very strange circumstances (murder in an upscale community, gas cylinder explosion, car accident due to a piece of cane and cancer from a toe injury), one may end up in a situation like my dear friend Brother Ras Miguel Lorne. Brother Lorne is another one of those “trouble makers”. He actually sued the Queen for Reparations while others talked about it, decided to re-energize and sit at the Presidency of the Marcus Garvey Party, joined Vybz Kartel’s legal team, and represented the Office of the Public Defender advocating for the people of Tivoli at the Commission of Enquiry. However, he created a greater sin in the country of Jamaica, in the case of Mario Deane. When Deane who was arrested and denied bail for possession of a single stick of weed in Jamaica and died from a beating in a cell in St. James (a beating delivered moments after he declared that he did not the like police), Brother Lorne supported the family of Mario Deane. He advocated for Justice and finally saw to the rare occurrence of the police being charged for Mario’s death. To accomplish this Brother Lorne felt international pressure and expertise was needed and sought my help. I reached out to the Trayvon Martin legal team who were busy with the Michael Brown issue in Ferguson at the time and got them to join forces as the three deaths of these poor, by-no-means wealthy black youths seemed related in cause. Brother Lorne took the cause even further, by not only having me fly renowned pathologist Dr. Baden into Jamaica but tended to other human rights matters like suing the government on behalf of the young man who had his hand shattered in prison by a staff member who used one of those metallic locks to injure another Jamaican youth. So I was not surprised when I read the news that Brother Lorne was going to be charged for fraud involving a family squabble over a real estate matter. I’m not privy to real estate law but as one who has been fighting for Black causes since high school, I am sure the system can figure something out to silence me – after all, Brother Lorne resigned from the Tivoli Inquiry disarming the legal team of its strongest most vocal advocate. Well done Babylon. But while Brother Lorne and many others in our country fight for the rights of the poor, Rastafarians, our ancestors, and for reparations from our former European slave masters; there are others intent on glorifying them and their culture.

Continue to Mind en Blanc Part 2

Photo taken from the Jamaica Observer website.

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