Dec 10

UNITED NATIONS DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS…70 YEARS OLD TODAY!

 

HAPPY WORLD HUMAN RIGHTS DAY!

 

 

Last week Thursday, I was gifted the opportunity to flex my creative muscles via an adapted and stylised presentation of the 30 Articles making up the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights. You see today, 10th December 2018, marks the 70th Anniversary of the implementation of this UN drafted and adopted collection of rights, agreed upon to be the most basic and fundamental rights afforded to every human being on the planet earth…without exception! Apparently, so the story goes/suh dem seh (a phrase I will henceforth use by way of a disclaimer, in case what I share with you today turns out to be based on fake news at some future point), a group of people from around the world, appalled by the atrocities that took place during the second world war, decided to take proactive measures to ensure that human beings would never again be allowed to descend to the levels of barbarity, evil  and wickedness as was seen during the six year war. Yeah right, I sense some of you thinking.

 

 

YOUNG PERCEPTIONS OF WAR!

 

Growing up in England, my perspective of that war was always influenced by media images of valiant Englishmen and their allies, risking their lives for the rights and freedoms of their fellow countrymen.

 

Each November, as a child through to my teens, I would customarily wear the purchased poppies that my whole family wore in memory of those brave souls that sacrificed their lives for a noble cause. The only bad guys in that war story were the Germans, or to be more specific, a particular group of deranged Germans called Nazis. Apparently taking the life of another was only evil if, according to the rules of war, the lives were those of the bad guys. The fact that both sides of the cass cass saw the other as the bad guys was irrelevant to those writing the history books I studied. Bloody, valiantly fought battles and atom bombings were mixed in with stifled tales of torture, sexual abuses, murder of civilians and other unclaimed acts of barbarity…on both sides. No doubt the saying that “all is fair in love and war” could well have been coined during the said conflicts.

 

 

In the aftermath of that war, an estimated 60 million human beings were dead. WWII was dubbed ‘the worst war in modern history’, by the time it ended in 1945.  The United Nations emerged through unification of 58 country states, officially forming in 1948, with the primary purpose of bringing peace and upholding the rights of citizens in all lands. They drafted and agreed to the Declaration of Human Rights, the details of which most of the world’s citizens, I would hazard a guess, are oblivious. I hazard that guess on the basis that BBC World News reports (one of the few news sharing establishments I still have some level of trust in), consistently highlight unprecedented atrocities happening daily across our planet. As if on cue, as I drove home from my Human Rights presentation to the Mandeville Graduates of the Sutherland Global Microsoft Training programme, I felt a deflating blow when I tuned in to my radio to hear about the ‘alleged’ daily executions taking place in the African country of Burundi. The chilling report, as told by the BBC news correspondent, based on first hand intelligence obtained from eye witnesses and former perpetrators, stunned me. The pitch and inflections in the voice of the young sounding reporter, gave away a frustration that I presumed came from the fact that no decisive action was being taken by the UN nations, despite the submission of solid evidence to the UN leadership.

 

JAMAICA ON HUMAN RIGHTS?

 

 

Having become privy to and played a part in sharing the 30 human rights articles to an audience of Jamaicans, what now? Surely the scale of the global human rights breaches might suggest that those rights are destined to remain mere words on paper, while even the heads of states that are signatories to the declaration are themselves perpetrating, at worst, and turning a blind eye to, at least, gross human rights violations against their citizens. Closer to home, here in Jamaica, a modern day tropical paradise, the Tivoli Gardens ‘incident’ of 2010 still echoes a cry for justice that will ring in our ears for generations to come. Though I am considered an eternal optimist, the international and local news on any given day lends support to my concerns, that since the 1948 scripting of the declaration of human rights, matters have in fact gotten progressively worse, rather than better.

 

 

So, is it worth building the hopes of ordinary citizens by spreading the gospel of human rights to which they are entitled, yet potentially have little recourse if the state and its officers refuses to honour them? I say yes! Let the people know their rights! Armed with knowledge of what being a human being should afford them might at least empower some, and then more and more, to stand up for their individual and collective rights. Around the globe we are seeing and hearing of unrest and mounting frustrations among ordinary citizens that are saying enough is enough to leaders that have lost sight of their responsibility to serve and support all its citizens equally and fairly. The youth in particular are rising up to protest the disparities in treatment for segments of the society and blatant corruption within both government and private sectors.

 

HUMAN RIGHTS IN PLAIN LANGUAGE

 

 

All that said, given the energy of the youth of this world to clean up the messes of prior generations, I will do what feels right to me and proceed to sensitize my fellow Jamaicans and other world citizens to the 30 rights they have on the global stage, by virtue of the fact that they are human. The link below is to the Youth for Human Rights web page, which features a simplified version of the 30 Articles, as I shared with the young graduates.

 

https://www.youthforhumanrights.org/what-are-human-rights/universal-declaration-of-human-rights/articles-1-15.html

 

Learn them, as one day, you may need to demand or exercise one of them, in the face of some violation. You do, after all, have the weight of the now 192 member states of the United Nations behind you. Let us trust that this is heavyweight enough when put to the tests.

 

As our island’s reggae icon, Bob Marley sang…”Get up, stand up, stand up for your rights!” Knowing them is the first step.

 

Oct 9

FROM CONSUMERISM TO COMMUNALISM…A PIPE DREAM? PART TWO

 

PART 2

 

After George Orwell nuh more dan me! So…picture this…

 

 

We are now in the year 2030, 12 years after the Great Financial Collapse that saw the Jamaican Dollar hit an overnight low of $350 to one US dollar. The shock to the economy brought about a rapid swell of public outrage as prices of basic consumer items spiraled out of affordability! [Flashback]…Meanwhile, two months before the crisis struck, a game changing international conference had been held in the then troubled City of Montego Bay. It was called ‘CanEx Jamaica’ and was attended by representatives from around the world, seeking alliances in the swelling global Cannabis revolution. Jamaica was finally taking advantage of its natural prime position and the conference was as a bright flame to many moths.

 

MYSTICAL MESSAGES

 

 

 

At that conference, a mystic man dressed in white robes ignited the passion of the matriarchs with an earnest plea for them to take charge of the future of Jamaica, it’s Cannabis industry in particular, in order for it to fulfill its prophesied potential of becoming ‘the healing of the nation’. He spoke to the throng about Cannabis saying…”talk to that plant yourself from the root up…the females have been appointed by Mother Earth herself to heal the planet…“. Spontaneous applause erupted in the packed auditorium. One woman, at the helm of the new giant industry, heeded the Sage’s call and gathered unto her a team of Jamaica’s brightest, upstanding, integrous and nurturing women, then rally-cried to all the women of the nation to join them in heralding lasting peace and prosperity for ALL on the island.

 

 

We will all recall that day in history, when powerful women from down town and uptown joined forces and marched on ‘The Government’. Mothers across the island unanimously echoed the refrain that enough was enough…too many of their sons were dying, far too many of their daughters lived in fear! Collectively and without the shedding of a drop of blood, the matriarchs ‘persuaded’ Government officials to stand down from duty. Fairly and squarely, under the collective leadership of twelve conscious, virtuous and genius Jamaican women (sorry men, it was unanimously referendum-ed, that you had been at the helm a tad too long and basically…destroyed the fabric of our society…along with the environment), a new island order was established. Integrated left and right brain reasoning, heart centred women’s intuition and wisdom from a few ‘elder’ matriarchs were the orders of the day. Security force personnel were replaced by an all-woman troupe of Peace & Love Keepers…Wakanda style of course!. My brothers, I’m hoping you are still with me and not hissing your teeth at this point in the fantasy. Anyway, for those still open to their untamed imagination, read on.

 

THE HEALING OF A NATION (Bob Marley)

 

 

With the donations from the booming Cannabis industry…the trusted stewards of which having seen to it that development and integration programmes were set up to assist the stalwart ‘ganja farmers’ of yesteryear…a cohesiveness and communal spirit spread across the land. Those with ailments who previously could not afford medical care/treatment were given natural herb medicines at CBD Clinics set up across the island and run by Jamaica’s first class NHS (Naturopathic Health System 😉 ). The headquarters were at the newly rebuilt Cornwall Regional Health Oasis.

 

Refocused former ‘Scammers’ put their brilliant young minds to jobs created in legal Cannabis related business ventures that seamlessly replaced their previous illicit gains. Prisoners were trained by freed GRC (Ganja-Related-Crime) inmates, in the cultivation of Cannabis from soil to reaping. ‘Mi Likkle Ganja Book’ (written by a dear friend of mine, Nereree Edwards) was the official comprehensive text! Students in schools were similarly taught the rudiments of cultivating Cannabis (alongside other beneficial herbs and organic vegetables), about the numerous beneficial products derived therefrom and about the various business opportunities within the sector. The sustainability and longevity of the industry was therefore secured, causing it to overtake tourism as Jamaica’s main income earner…resulting in the rapid development of the island. Loans to international donors were paid off earlier than scheduled and imports reduced significantly while demand for Jamaica’s agricultural exports, Jamaican culture and Jamaica’s new army of expert Cannabis Consultants, grew exponentially worldwide. The Queen of England reigned no more as the Queens across the nation rose to assume their rightful royal roles.

 

 

All citizens of this beautiful paradise island were nurtured and cared for…by other more able citizens; Neighbours practiced the true meaning of the word and all ‘ate a food’, sharing, bartering, exchanging. Over a period of only two years, crime levels had fallen to mere minor skirmishes (mainly amongst the group that had experienced major trauma at losing their material status symbols. Jamaican people recreated communally based communities based on a co-hesive, co-operative livity and family life flourished once again. Eased of financial stresses, mothers and fathers reunited and harmoniously co-parented the children.

 

 

Environmentally sensitive  architects designed future builds that no longer represented the industrialised, non-family-oriented structures, but areas fostering the wholesome development of children and peace of mind of their parents. Pre-existing concrete structures were ‘softened’ with greenery e.g. roof gardens and the children played in the numerous new parks across the island, constructed as gifts by conscientious Chinese corporate donors. Corrupt law enforcement officers were rooted out, internally. Peace and harmony reigned for and within all people, from all sides of the island and former colour lines (political and racial). Citizens were keen to relinquish excessive material possessions in exchange for the harmony and happiness of a crime free land. Former Minister of National Security, Peter Bunting, was given a national honour by the Women, in recognition of his prescriptive and prophetic declaration some years before, that Jamaica needed ‘Divine Intervention’. He was spot on! The changes that came about in Jamaica could indeed be described as nothing short of miraculous.

 

RIGHTEOUS HONOURABLE LEADERS

 

 

In the true spirit of resilience and as evidence of relevance, The Communal Party still remains in SERVICE today, without challenge, fuss or fight. They represent all citizens without bias or curried favour, having been assembled by the Council of 12 Women, from the pure of heart found within the dissolved political parties (don’t ask me how many), proud upstanding Jamaicans (from home and the diaspora), the spiritually awoke/conscious ones and the ego-free elders. An arm of the party is dedicated to the Rastafarian movement and led by a wise Empress named Barbara, in recognition of one and one’s sacrifices made over the years to keep the sacramental herb burning in the land. One named Chronixx is their appointed Youth Leader, who consults with members of all the houses of Rastafari that were re-assembled in unity, under the Seal of Solomon ;). The Rastafari Indigenous Village in Montego Bay, was used as a model for groups across the island, and subsequently the world, wishing to learn a successful nature based way of living. A new Communalism…

 

FICTION ASIDE

 

 

The story above may read a little far-fetched, as I’m sure George Orwell’s ‘1984’ seemed at the time of first publication, but I don’t think any of us will disagree that we are living in serious times, that cry out for radical change. Could it be time for us to consider, then vision and then (re)build our communities based on a more all-Jamaican-lives-matter basis? It may not be called ‘Communalism’, as the strict definition of the word speaks of governments and federations, but we sure would be living and working together in harmony…supporting one another. Living in the ‘spirit’ of what communes of cohesive citizens represent. Perhaps we can simply call it Community-ism? Again, it may sound utopian, but that’s the reality I would use my vote to achieve! Now just to work on my detachment from unnecessary material things.

 

POST CONSUMERISM ERA – CAN ONE DETATCH?

 

 

[DISCLAIMER: Only read further if you are already considering detachment from the consumer treadmill and resultant routine lifestyle, considering an alternative, less cluttered life or on the verge of a stress-induced breakdown. The content may be particularly disturbing to staunch Commercialised-Capitalist-Consumerists, causing possible in cold sweats and panic attacks at the visualization of the outlined content]

 

 

So, here we go…

 

1. When all is said and done it is up to YOU to create the time and dedicated brain friendly space to be able to take a real stock of your current life-style. First thing in the morning when you first awake from slumber, catch your thoughts! No, literally, if you don’t consciously step in front of your thoughts, they will race ahead of your consciousness like a racehorse galloping from the stalls!

 

2. Hold a ‘meds’ (quiet time of reflection/meditation/prayer) each morning. Make the time! It’s important. Start by taking at least 5 refreshing deep breaths. Then in ‘your right mind’, ask yourself some simple questions, like…”Am I happy?”. “Am I healthy?” If you have just asked, “Am I wealthy?” return to the beginning and start the process again…maybe breathing in and out a little deeper. Don’t ‘tek dung’ when the answers come. Simply become non-judgmentally aware of your current realities.

 

3. Now it is time, after being in your right mind consistently for at least 14 days…consecutively, to start thinking about and visualizing an alternative way of living. Start gradually. Perhaps focus on the more intangible ‘things’ (read less consumer driven), like peace of mind, joy, good health, harmonious family life, quality time with children…the positive things you want to manifest in your life. See them clearly in your refreshed mind’s eye.

 

4. Then PAUSE for as long as feasible, to bear witness to the joy these thoughts alone bring to your being. Start preparing space and time for your revised livity…and watch it unfold.

 

5. CONTINUE TO OBSERVE STEPS 1-5 THROUGHOUT.

 

6. Once the self and family lifestyle has permeated your psyche, extend the vision outward over the next 30 days until you have visualized your-self, your family, the community, then the whole of Jamaica in harmony. Sound fool fool? Try it nuh, just in case.

 

7. Once you can see clearly now, because the strain has gone…prepare for the eureka moments, in those quite contemplative moments you have awarded yourself daily, when the penny drops, the big reveals as you catch your-self and determine…there is NO REAL NEED for the item you were about to purchase/order online!

 

8. CONGRATULATIONS! You are on your way to detachment!

 

I know it’s not easy. Even when we all know, even when we studied marketing (like myself), the ‘apparent’ need for certain ‘things’, a need created without our ‘knowing’ has becoming overwhelming to many of us. That was the plan. But there is hope. Mass detachment by market force or voluntary detachment by building a better alternative livity.

 

ROSE TINTED GLASSES?

 

 

Label me a ‘rose tinted glasses’ wearer, but I truly believe that we each have to go back to basics, especially in these pivotal times on our plane. Be courageous enough to press the mental refresh button, review our current ‘livity’ then re-define our selves and what is really important to us, from the heart & soul perspective and not the intellect or ego. Given that our perceptions of our world are fed by our thoughts and solidified in our beliefs, surely we have nothing to lose in collectively re-thinking a better reality? Join me in the optimistic visualization of such. A new dimension awaits us all.

 

P.S. Of course Sarifa Insurance Brokers, with its diversified service offerings, remained intact after the crash, as the vibration emanating from the entity resonated with the new cosmically aligned paradigm. 😉

 

 

Sep 4

FROM CONSUMERISM TO COMMUNALISM…A PIPE DREAM?

 

 

Question. If the goods/services being advertised in the various media were absolutely necessary…that is to say they were ‘needed’ by the average human being (based on disposable income indicators), why do they hire actors or superstars to convince us? Why do they use near-naked males/females to stimulate the senses? Subliminal signs and sounds. Colour codes. And that’s just scratching the surface. If these goods/services were indeed necessary (not compulsory like motor insurance :)) wouldn’t the natural need for ‘things’, coupled with affordability, direct the human flow of customers to the respective ‘thing’? Furthermore, I just listened to a radio advertisement and, having a keen ear for voices, word choices, the authenticity and connection of the speaker to the overall message being conveyed, I found the tones of the characters used to be very robotic. Could it be the digital age compelling us to accept the monotonic tone of a robot to tell us what we MUST buy, lest we be haunted by a neighbourhood of fully equipped Joneses, left man/woman-less, lose street cred…or whatever the penalty implied in the ads for our NOT purchasing the goods/service being advertised. It all sounds like a subliminal stick up of the mind to me. There you are, torn between the items you absolutely MUST purchase and those you don’t get and then have to endure the shame, lower social ranking, poor self-esteem and feelings of inadequacy…in general the stresses arising from the knowledge that you don’t have the said high end commodity or the new brand of human weave, it’s much the same (especially if Mrs Jones/Lacretia respectively has one!!!). Exaggeration for some of you, but a real dilemma for others!

 

NO AGE LIMITS

 

 

Take your average teenager…my son for example…just 16 yrs of age and he has already developed a mild fixation on ‘the latest IPhone’. He is NOT working! How did the consumerism-wizards get a hold of these young minds that don’t earn a cent AND get them to convince us parents (whether by coercion/emotional blackmail) to spend so much (as a ratio of earnings) of our hard earned cash? Remember, I’m referencing the average and below teenager and don’t get me wrong, my son has an IPhone, but it’s certainly not the latest version…and he didn’t get this one ‘as it drop’ in the Apple stores! Case in point. I watched a YouTube video recently showing that a certain community in Liverpool (England), which was designated the ‘poorest’ part of the country, had record crowds at its Apple store in the town, on the morning of a new IPhone launch. Lines (‘queues’ for the British-British), were extremely long! The consumer bug had clearly bitten hard and embedded itself deeply in the psyche of those folk. Matter over mind you could say.

 

 

But what about us? Have you ever stopped to consider how badly bitten you are by the consumerism bug? How many things in your home, for example, are regularly used and not just giving you or the home-helper grief to dust each week? How triggered are you when the advertisements for, or even the second hand news about, the launch of the latest IPhone, BMW, Nike, Dolce & Gabbana …(I’ve run out of name brands as I’m a hopeless non-follower of fashion)…add your own brands here…then answer the question J. Now don’t be defensive. I am by no means judging anyone here, God forbid, I too am working daily towards a re-balancing of my life, re-evaluating what I need more of (which by the way is ostensibly non-material) and what I can identify as non-essential clutter (be it physical, mental or human), to lighten and simplify my life somewhat. My hardest trigger to resist comes from the vicarious pangs of wanting to help my son keep up his street cred amongst his peers, while pointing out to him that he must not put material things before people and a conscious livity, that the yearning for the IPhone is fed by the marketers who use their mind manipulation tricks, that keep persons reaching and reaching perpetually for ‘things’ that they don’t need. But heck. He’s been a great son, doesn’t ask for much, he did well in his CXC’s. Maybe just this once…let me check the cashflow? See, I’m not perfectly de-consumerised, but I plead Maternalism! 🙂

 

WHO IS AT THE CONTROLS?

 

 

So if we are all the consumer puppets, who/what is pulling our strings? Perhaps those benefiting most from the consistently turning consumerism treadmill, supported greatly by highly paid marketing houses and not forgetting the Joneses, who never fail to bring attention to their latest acquisitions. I heard recently on BBC Radio, which is one of the few media sources I still get a sense of ‘factual-ness’ from (remind me, that’s a different blog topic), that the top advertising agencies in the world now hire the top neurologists, to assist them in knowing how the human mind and brain work!!! Now that struck me, as a person fascinated by neurology, to the extent of becoming a Neuronet therapist to assist children with learning challenges, but I digress. Those corporately hired neurologists…by all accounts,  are not hired to find out what the REAL needs of consumers are…more so to further manipulate minds, to steer wealth/last pennies in the direction of capitalist giants. Case in point, right now ladies, count (in your head if you are not in close proximity to your closet); how much shoes yu have? Now, how many do you wear regularly? Ok, then. Nothing new here I hear you say, but as the mind manipulation will now be based on the latest neuroscientific research, developed by privately hired neurologists…advertisers will be taking the term ‘getting into our heads’ to new levels. As I think about it, these same neurologists could, if more morally than materially guided, be more useful to humanity by devoting their time and expertise to developing mental skills that foster universal harmony. Anyway. It’s not for me to judge, but I’m just saying, as a born-again marketer, preying on highly stressed and strategically targeted masses, through mind-bending advertising, just seems wrong-up! I don’t know if I will be classified as a whistle-blower, but I recall my marketing course had us exploring strategies for, ‘capturing’ the minds of the consumer, persuading them that they ‘need’ this or that product/service that they never knew existed. Keep them purchasing, working to purchase more, borrowing to purchase yet more, then, financially extended, family relations strained, health compromised and consistently exhausted, you convince them to take the commercially advertised drugs that will keep you going that little bit longer, without checking the cause of the pain, in between the commercially advertised 2 weeks vacations…after which, the pain still exists.

 

 

Wow. Not a very pretty picture, now that I’ve stopped to read back. So, let me change gear and share what possible alternatives there are for those of us still hooked by the consumer-chain yet open minded enough to explore an alternative ‘livity’… or at least ease up on the throttle of our racing consumption engine. I’m not advocating a cold turkey extraction from the consumer train…that would be tantamount to jumping off an actual moving train and experiencing the shock and resultant psychological disorientation…as you realise you have just taken your whole wardrobe of Gucci shoes and matching handbags to the charity shop! I know it’s not easy once you are entwined, to unravel the old livity and re-ravel a new one…without the proverbial ‘trappings’. See, we even give the ‘things’ a name representing bondage! So, let’s get creative, like the marketers of these multi-billion dollar advertising agencies…with their highly paid neurologists.

 

 

If George Orwell did it, picture this. We are now in the year 2030…

 

There will now be a one month intermission.

 

Log in again the first week of October to…

 

FIND OUT MAKEDA’S PROPOSED ALTERNATIVE LIVITY STRATEGIES IN PART 2 OF “CONSUMERISM TO COMMUNALISM…A PIPE DREAM?