Having finished my reviews of Rhett: The Turbulent Life and Times of a Fire-Eater and Escape From Detroit, I have plunged into Ian Thomson’s The Dead Yard: A Story of Modern Jamaica.
This book is a travelogue similar to Michela Wrong’s In The Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz about the Democratic Republic of Congo which I reviewed back during Black History Month 2012.
Here’s a passage that leaps out at the reader:
“I asked Small what Jamaica had achieved in the four decades since the Union Jack came down: the fruits of independence, it could be argued, had failed to ripen.
‘”Failed is the right word,” said Small, relaxing a little. ‘We got a new flag in 1962, a national motto, a national anthem, a flower, a fruit,even a national bird. But what has Jamaica done with its independence? That is the question.’
In another passage (still early in the book), Thomson candidly admitted that Jamaica hasn’t prospered since the abolition of slavery.
That’s when the idea hit me: like Detroit, the Mississippi Valley, Haiti, Liberia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, Jamaica is still suffering from the catastrophic effects of “the legacy of freedom.”
Jamaica’s planters had been right about the negroes lack of capacity for self government, racial inequality, and the tendency of slaves to retrograde to the African equilibrium in the absence of coercion.
This prostrate, crime ridden, impoverished, corrupt, narcotrafficking state ruled by drug lords is what 50 years of independence has wrought.