Sunday, March 22, 2009


This Hero business

Saturday 14th March was National Heroes Day commemorating the life and times of Carib Chief the Hon Joseph Chatoyer. As was to be expected the debate regarding additional heroes was once more brought to the fore. The names I have heard being bandied around at an official level are George Mcintosh trade unionist and politician(a market in Pauls Ave bears his name),political leaders Ebenezer Joshua( the airport bears his name) and Milton Cato(the public hospital bears his name). In other circles people mention names like DR Earle Kirby known for but not limited to his pioneering work in archaeology, DR JP Eustace educator and PH Veira one of the top business men. Since everyone is naming names I would throw in Capt Hugh Mulzac.

From the "official list" I have big problems with former PM Milton Cato. The others I can be convinced about if someone sets out the case well enough. It was under Cato's watch teachers were teargassed and a bill seeking to effectively repress citizens rights was drawn up. A huge march on Kingstown prevented the bill from becoming law and most likely contributed to the Labour party's demise in the 1984 election. This business of national heroes is too important for politicking and should involve careful thought and the input of the citizens. So before we rush to appoint more let's widen the debate.

Actually, most times I do not even think we need another hero. Maybe, I am spoilt by having Chatoyer(who we don't even really respect)as the first because everyone else pales in comparison. Anyway, I admit to a Chatoyer bias since his story and the story of the Caribs fascinate me no end.

i agree with you that Chatoyer is really the only actual hero we have - all the others are "heroes" because whatever good stuff they did was done with a political agenda - i dunno if that could really constitute someone as a hero...

well... almost all of the others Dr. Kirby and Hugh Mulzac did more selfless acts for the sake of knowledge or helping others... but i'd be really wary of making politicians national heroes... they did as much for themselves as they did for the country - and the stuff they did for the country is all a matter of opinion and perspective...

that's just my two cents...
just to elaborate... lol...

chatoyer was essentially a freedom fighter... he played minor politics (english AND french) but as history teaches us, he didn't necessarily do it very well... he's an icon because of what he represents more than anything else... i just can't see the justification for making cato or joshua heroes... although... one of the definitions of a hero is someone who is idealised... we've certainly done that with some of these people...
Agreed with all you have written. I am very wary of politicians myself. I am sure some one can argue for James Mitchell and quite convincingly too. I think a hero should stand out for some extraordinary thing that impacts us all. we haven't even properly made Chatoyer part of our national being so what's the rush for more?
The same debate comes up in Jamaica around the same, in Black History Month and at every opportunity presented. Bob Marley is one of the names that constantly comes to the fore.

What I would like to see is the establishment of some criteria to determine who gets added to the list. It should not be left up to the whims and fancies of politicians, activists who are pushing their own agenda or anyone who simply feels they are an authority to make that recommendation.

Personally, I'm not opposed to Bob Marley being named as a national hero.
i agree with you guys on Cato.
me too i also agree... fascinating, =)
@CD,hmmmm Marley will bring nuff nuff debate. You will hear how he fathered all those children and the allegations Rita made etc etc.Remember we like our heroes to be as perfect as possible so that one will be very interesting.

Personally I think he is one of the greatest lyricists to walk the earth but I have to think a bit on the hero title.
I agree that a national hero should be like Chatoyer or Dr Kirby.

But I bet in a couple years time even Ralph will be up as a national hero. Vincentians idolizes politicians too much.
Wnder if we can ever have a perfect hero anymore, for in today's age of scandal and full disclousre, we are prone to knowing too much about these individuals, and 'perfection' will never be obtained.

I also do not agree with Bob being a here. The man was too much of a philanderer, and as a woman, I find that offensive.
I think Bobby's work is heroic, his life not so much...
As CD said, we have the same debate when we celebrate National Heroes Day here in Jamaica.
@ Abeni, some of our existing heroes have been thieves and murderers. Not that we want to send the wrong message but I think people would be willing to overlook a few "bastard" children. Perfection ... I'm not too keen on that. It's the power of their achievements and their impact on the world that should be the deciding factor. I think most people would agree that Bob has certainly succeeded on both those counts.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?