LEST WE FORGET: THE HIROSHIMA BOMBING…

 
The United States dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, during the final stage of the Second World War. The two bombings, which killed at least 129,000 people, remain the only use of nuclear weapons for warfare in history.
A uranium gun-type atomic bomb (Little Boy) was dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, followed by a plutonium implosion-type bomb (Fat Man) on the city of Nagasaki on August 9.

Little Boy exploded 2,000 feet above Hiroshima in a blast equal to 12-15,000 tons of TNT, destroying five square miles of the city. Within the first two to four months of the bombings, the acute effects of the atomic bombings killed 90,000–166,000 people in Hiroshima and 39,000–80,000 in Nagasaki; roughly half of the deaths in each city occurred on the first day.

During the following months, large numbers died from the effect of burns, radiation sickness, and other injuries, compounded by illness and malnutrition. In both cities, most of the dead were civilians, although Hiroshima had a sizable military garrison.

On August 15, just days after the bombing of Nagasaki and the Soviet Union’s declaration of war, Japan announced its surrender to the Allies. On September 2, it signed the instrument of surrender, effectively ending World War II. The bombings’ role in Japan’s surrender and their ethical justification are still debated.

Seventy years later, the atomic bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Red Cross hospitals are still treating thousands of survivors for the after-effects of radiation and nearly two-thirds of deaths among them are due to cancer.

Neo Makeba 

9 QUESTIONS ABOUT CUBA YOU WERE AFRAID TO ASK- from THE VOX

I thought I would re-post this lovely article on the Cuba Relations between the US and Cuba. It gives those of us born outside of the embargo era a quick but detailed understanding of what happened, who were involved and the results that continued until 2014. It gives the reader an amazing insight of political one upmanship on both sides of the isle. In the end this is 2014, and policies dreamed and concocted 50 years ago seems anachronistic in today’s thinking. It is the right thing to do. Lets hope Congress does the same, even limited end, but it must change.

Article taken from The Vox. 

9 questions about Cuba you were too embarrassed to ask

The US and Cuba announced a historic deal on Wednesday that will take major steps toward ending their 50-plus years of hostility. President Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro, brother of Fidel, spent 18 months negotiating the deal in secret.

This is a huge moment for Cuba, for President Obama, and for the US-Cuba relationship. But you might reasonably be wondering why this is happening now. How did things get so bad between the US and Cuba in the first place, and why has that lasted for such a long time? What does today’s deal actually mean for the future of these two countries? What follows is a guide to your most basic questions about the US and Cuba.

1) What is the US-Cuba deal?

President Obama announces the historic change in US Cuba policy (Doug Mills-Pool/Getty)

President Obama announces the historic change in US Cuba policy (Doug Mills-Pool/Getty)

The deal between the US and Cuba is three things.

First, it’s an exchange of concessions: the US will roll back parts of its economic embargo on Cuba, Cuba will allow greater internet freedom, both countries released some prisoners, stuff like that. The terms of the deal are not, in themselves, revolutionary. The embargo is still in place, and so is the travel ban, meaning US tourism to Cuba is still largely illegal.

Second, it’s the beginning of a sure-to-be-difficult fight between President Obama and anti-Cuba hardliners in Congress over whether Obama can change America’s 50-year-old policy of official hostility to Cuba. Obama can only do so much without Congress’ help, and the politics of this issue are divisive, even if public opinion favors Obama’s ambition to re-open relations.

Third, and most importantly, this deal is a way for the US and Cuba to announce that they are done being enemies. The official diplomatic term for this is “normalize relations,” which basically means to become friends. That is the most important part of this story, and it is truly historic. The story of how the US and Cuba came to be such enemies, and stayed that way long after the Soviet Union collapsed and the Cold War ended, is a fascinating and complex one — and one that is widely misunderstood.

2) Why have the US and Cuba had such a hostile relationship for so long?

Officially, the reason is the Cold War, and it’s the explanation you’ll most commonly hear. There is much more to it than that, but here is the Cold War explanation:

Cuba became an ally of the Soviet Union shortly after Fidel Castro took power in a 1959 Marxist revolution; the US was not happy about having a Soviet military proxy 90 miles from Florida. Cuba was afraid that the US would try to violently overturn Castro’s revolution, and the US did in fact attempt this several times in the early 1960s. Castro even invited the Soviet Union to put nuclear missiles in Cuba to deter American aggression, sparking the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis when the US tried to block the Soviet ships carrying the warheads.

Those four years spent on the precipice of full-blown war settled into a sort of miniature Cold War between the US and Cuba, one that was a proxy for the larger US-Soviet Cold War and lasted right up until 2014.

The fact that the US-Cuba Cold War so outlasted the “real” Cold War, which ended in 1989, should be your first hint that there is much more going on here.

3) So the US-Cuba conflict isn’t about the Cold War?

Fidel Castro, then a Marxist rebel, in 1957 (Universal History Archive/Getty)

Fidel Castro, then a Marxist rebel, in 1957 (Universal History Archive/Getty)

There are two other less-understood forces that have kept tensions going for so long. In some ways, the US-Cuba conflict actually goes back to before the Soviet Union even existed.

First, America’s hostility toward Cuba has been driven, in large part, by domestic politics: since 1980, when 125,000 Cuban exiles landed in Florida and changed electoral politics forever, the peculiarities of the American political system have made it important for presidents to oppose Castro if they want to get elected. (More on that below.)

Second, Cuba’s hostility toward the US is less about the Cold War than you might think. Castro’s anti-Americanism was couched in Communist rhetoric, but in many ways he was much more driven by anti-imperialism. He saw his revolution as part of a struggle against the US and its attempted domination of Cuba that was older than the Soviet Union or Communism.

In this Cuban view, the Cold War was just a chapter in the Cuban struggle of resistance against US imperialism, which is why the US-Cuba conflict outlasted the Cold War. It’s also why Castro is such a hero to many Latin Americans, who have long seen Castro as the vanguard of resistance against an imperial US trying to meddle with or control their countries. There is no question that, during the Cold War, the US did do a great deal of meddling in Latin America, supporting horrific right-wing dictators and militias, often against Soviet-backed left-wing dictators and militias (and sometimes against democratically elected leftists).

But Cuba was different: during the 1800s and early 1900s, many American politicians explicitly argued that the US should become a European-style imperial power, and Cuba was almost always where they said US imperialism should begin. Before the Civil War, legislators from southern states badly wanted to buy Cuba from Spain (it had been a Spanish colony for centuries) and annex it as a new slave state. In 1854, many of them issued an official manifesto trying to force President Franklin Pierce to make the offer, and to declare war on Spain if it said no.

The Civil War stopped that from happening. But, in 1898, Cuban political activists launched a war of independence against Spain — and the US joined the war on their side. The Spanish Empire was collapsing, sparking a debate within the US about the country’s place in the world: should America take Spain’s place as an imperial power, seizing Spanish colonies, namely Cuba,for itself?

At first, anti-imperial Americans won the debate, passing the Teller Amendment, which promised to support Cuban independence and not annex Cuba. But pro-imperial Americans soon prevailed, passing something called the Platt Amendment. It said that if Spain lost the war, then Cuba would be nominally independent but dominated by the US, which would have the right to intervene militarily there whenever it wanted. That is how the US “leased” land from Cuba for its based at Guantanamo Bay, which it still owns. The US also annexed other Spanish colonies: Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines. The US had become an imperial power.

In the following years, the US invaded and occupied Cuba twice — in 1906 and again in 1912 — to put down rebellions. It had mostly acquiesced its imperial powers over Cuba by the time that Fulgencio Batista took power in a coup in 1934, but the threat of American invasion still hung over the island. That history is largely forgotten in the US, but it is remembered in Cuba, and in much of Latin America, as if it happened yesterday — and the embargo is often seen as a direct continuation of that imperial past.

4) Why does the US embargo Cuba, anyway?

President Kennedy addresses the nation during the Cuban Missile Crisis, the closest the world ever came to global nuclear destruction (Keystone/Getty Images)

President Kennedy addresses the nation during the Cuban Missile Crisis, the closest the world ever came to global nuclear destruction (Keystone/Getty Images)

The US gradually rolled out the Cuba embargo between 1960 and 1962 (the embargo is a set of really powerful economic sanctions, forbidding almost all trade and travel between the two countries).

When Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy set up the embargo in the early ’60s, the official goal was to weaken Cuba’s government to make it collapse outright, or to make Cubans so angry about their economic suffering that they take down the government in a popular uprising. It was the height of the Cold War, and a Marxist revolutionary, Fidel Castro, had just taken power in a 1959 rebellion against Cuba’s pro-American dictator, Fulgencio Batista.

Castro nationalized all American businesses in Cuba — taking them over without compensating their owners — and declared ideological allegiance to the Soviet Union. The US immediately set about trying to topple Castro; the embargo was part of that, along with some really ill-conceived assassination plots and, in 1961, Kennedy’s disastrous effort, known as the Bay of Pigs, to send CIA-trained, anti-Castro Cubans to invade the island.

The US eventually stopped trying to topple Castro by force, but it kept up the embargo as a means to weaken him until 1977. That’s when President Jimmy Carter let part of the embargo lapse, in what looked like a possible first step toward dropping it. The embargo had failed, after all, to remove Castro. President Ronald Reagan reinstated the full embargo when he came into office in 1980, as part of his global effort against the Soviet Union and its allies.

Something else happened in 1980. Castro tried to relieve some internal political dissent by briefly allowing Cubans to leave the country. As a result, 125,000 migrated to the US, mostly to Florida. Many of these new Cuban-Americans, like the political exiles who had fled in the 1960s and 70s, hated Castro for what he had done to them, their families, and their country. And they voted on that. By the time that the Cold War ended in 1989, Cuban-Americans had enough sway to make the embargo good politics. The fact that they are centered in Florida, an often-decisive swing state, meant that a presidential candidate’s hopes and dreams could turn on whether or not his Cuba policy was sufficiently anti-Castro.

5) The US embargo failed to topple Castro. Why has the US kept it going anyway?

Cuban-Americans march in Miami in support of Cuban pro-democracy dissidents (Joe Raedle/Getty)

Cuban-Americans march in Miami in support of Cuban pro-democracy dissidents (Joe Raedle/Getty)

To understand that, it’s not enough to just say that supporting the embargo will help presidential candidates win Florida. You have to go back to President Bill Clinton’s first term, when a handful of decisive events set the embargo in stone for the next 20 years.

When Clinton came into office in 1993, lifting the embargo seemed obvious. The Cold War was over, and, in any case, the embargo had failed to remove Castro. But the Cuban-American community, which had grown prosperous since 1980, believed that Castro was moments from falling (Communist regimes across the world had collapsed in 1991 and 1992) and pressured Clinton against any show of lifting the embargo, for example, by generating fatal Congressional opposition to a Cuban-American State Department nominee who appeared to favor an opening. By 1996, Clinton had given up, and it became political conventional wisdom that the embargo was unopposeable.

But in those four crucial years from 1993 to 1996, neither the Cuban-American lobby or the Cuban-American vote, as important as they are, fully explain why the embargo continued to survive. Rather, the decisive event came in 1996.

That February, Castro’s military shot down two private planes flown by members of a refugee organization that had reportedly previously dropped fliers over Cuba, and four Cuban-Americans were killed. The shootdown outraged Americans and moved popular and political opinion against opening relations. The following month, Congress overwhelmingly passed the Helms-Burton Act, which restricted the president’s ability to end the embargo without Congressional approval and essentially promised to keep it in place, even if it didn’t work.

Popular support for Helms-Burton was so strong that Clinton signed it, even though the law limited his own authority over Cuba policy. Pushing the bill was a politically brilliant move by Cuba hard-liners, including the Cuban-American community, but it could not have happened without Castro’s decision to shoot down those two planes — and the moment of widespread American outrage against him that it had sparked.

In explaining his decision to sign the bill, Clinton later wrote in his memoir: “[It] was good election-year politics in Florida, but it undermined whatever chance I might have if I won a second term to lift the embargo in return for positive changes in Cuba.

“Soon, thanks to the US-Cuba deal, you will finally be able to legally kick back with a Cuban cigar and a glass of Cuban rum, both long banned, while you listen to this. It turns out that Cuban cigars aren’t just popular because they’re banned, they really are better — it’s been confirmed by actual scientific studies.

6) Why is all this — the embargo, the century of hostility — changing now?

There are a few reasons. With the Cold War over, Cuba is no threat to the US, and the US, having given up its imperial ambitions in the 1930s and its anti-Castro plots in the 1960s, is no threat to Cuba. The events of 1993 to 1996 delayed the end of the embargo, but it was probably inevitable.

Also, within the US, popular opinion has turned sharply against the embargo. People just don’t fear Cuba or Communism anymore, and they would like to go on vacation there. Even among Cuban-Americans in Florida, public opinion now supports, if very slightly, lifting the very embargo that community has spent decades lobbying to keep.

It’s not that the political exiles changed their minds. Rather, there is a new generation of Cuban emigres to the US, who traveled here for economic reasons — to work and to send home money — rather than political reasons. This generation is focused less on hating Castro and more on helping their families. They would like to be able to travel back to Cuba more freely and send more money home to the US.

And then there’s the fact that the embargo was always a dumb policy. It was not going to topple Castro, nor was it going to improve human rights in Cuba. The embargo is 1960s thinking in a 2010s world, and you can see that in the way that US policy toward Cuba is at tension with itself. The US wants to promote internet access in Cuba, for example, as a way to raise the standard of living, the flow of information, and public pressure for democratic change. But the US government’s own embargo makes that really hard to do, which is why you have fiascos like “Cuban Twitter,” in which the US secretly tried to create a Cuban social network to sow dissent.

Finally, Cuba needs to change — and its leaders know it. Since Raul Castro took over from his ailing brother Fidel in 2008 (Fidel is still alive but appears to be suffering from possible dementia), he has been quietly seeking some sort of detente with the US like the one just announced.

Castro, just like anyone else, can look at nominally communist countries like China and Vietnam and see that they have transitioned to quasi-free-market economies successfully. And, for years, he has been reliant on donations from the oil-rich Venezuelan government to keep the Cuban economy afloat — something that appears more unreliable all the time as Venezuela’s economy and political system teeter on the end of collapse.

7) I hear that Fidel Castro is a monster who did lots of terrible things. Is that true?

Fidel Castro giving a 1971 speech in Havana (Keystone/Getty Images)

Fidel Castro giving a 1971 speech in Havana (Keystone/Getty Images)

Oh yes. Dropping the embargo is the right thing to do, and the US has a long history of doing bad things in Latin America and Cuba, but none of that should in the least bit forgive the Castro regime’s atrocious record on human rights.

Cuba, to be clear, is a dictatorship. Cubans have very few political rights or freedoms. The country has lost restricted free speech, punished political dissent severely, and for many years systemically persecuted and imprisoned certain groups, particularly gays and lesbians, often in terrible conditions.

According to Freedom House, Cuba has the most restrictive press censorship in the Western Hemisphere and is the only country rated “not free” in the Americas. All official media is owned by the state and controlled by the government. Dissident bloggers are regularly arrested. According to Amnesty International, protestors are regularly arrested and detained without trial. The Foundation for Human Rights in Cuba says there were over 6,000 arbitrary detentions of human rights activists in 2013.

Once in jail, detainees face harsh conditions. “Prisoners often slept on concrete bunks without a mattress,” according to the State Department’s human rights report on Cuba, “with some reports of more than one person sharing a narrow bunk. Where available, mattresses were thin and often infested with vermin and insects.”

8) But this deal means that Cuba is going to become a freedom-loving capitalist democracy now, right?

Downtown Havana (ADALBERTO ROQUE/AFP/Getty)

Downtown Havana (ADALBERTO ROQUE/AFP/Getty)

That’s the idea: that opening up Cuba’s economy to outside investment and tourism will help liberalize the country more broadly, as the flow of ideas, money, and people helps along preexisting Cuban desires for greater freedoms and rights. That’s also why one of the American conditions for the recent deal is that Cuba will allow wider internet access, thus encouraging the growth of a grassroots political culture.

But it’s tough to say whether this will work. While the deal will likely liberalize Cuba’s economy, there’s nothing in it that actually requires Cuba to become one iota less authoritarian, and it’s not clear that economic openness will lead to democracy. The record of communist countries that have opened up is mixed. When the US normalized relations with the Soviet Union, that opening helped along internal political reforms that turned the country into a free-market democracy, however briefly.

China and Vietnam, on the other hand, liberalized their political systems a tiny bit when they opened their economies, but have so far largely maintained single-party authoritarian rule. Cuba’s ruling political class, presumably, would rather be like China than like Russia.

It may ultimately come down to what the aging Castros, and the wider ruling class that supports them, want to do. Dictatorships that have wanted to liberalize, either because they thought it was the right thing to do or under internal pressure, have tended to be successful. Dictatorships that want to hang on at any cost are often successful, or plunge their countries into chaos trying.

One thing is for sure, though: maintaining the embargo and the official policy of US hostility was not going to bring democracy and freedom to Cuba.

9) I skipped to the bottom. What’s going to happen next?

The immediate ramifications are going to be a touch more trade and travel with Cuba (though most US tourism is still illegal), the opening of a US embassy in Havana, and the start of what will surely be a difficult but interesting period of renewing US-Cuba relations.

There will also be a political fight in the US, and especially Congress, over whether to end the embargo outright — something that only Congress can do. That fight will surely coincide with the Republican presidential primaries. While supporting the embargo is GOP orthodoxy, and many Republican leaders oppose Obama’s policy, national popular opinion has shifted in favor of ending the embargo. And at least one leading Republican — Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul — supports the opening. How the Cuba policy fight plays out within the GOP over the next two years could help shape how American politics, and American policy, change toward Cuba.

But the largest effect, and the most important, will almost certainly be within Cuba itself. The Castro government will have to adjust, if slowly, to a new world and to ending the enmity with the US that has defined Cuban politics for half a century. What that means for the future of Cuba and its people will surely be one of Latin America’s most fascinating stories in the coming years and decades.

CHRYSTALLIA , A PLACE FOR HUMANS, NOT FOR IDIOTS

I am a lover of technology. Actually I live technology. Inside my head I have created this country where  I live. a country called Chrystallia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, west of South and North America, it is a country so large it stretches from the north Pacific ocean to the south. It has 3 time zones, larger than South America and the US, Chrystallia is a country that mesmerises those that has the opportunity to visit.

In the world but not of the world, Chrystallia is governed by a Chairman and a board, parliament by other standards, made up from the greatest minds that live in our country. The history of the country is one shaped from battles of sovereignty from the Greeks and the many world generals that tried to colonize the country. Through blood and tears the people of Chrystallia fought for their right to be a sovereign nation and from the day of Incorporation,  March 29, 1859 , Chrystallia has as its charter to build a nation like no other on Earth where poverty is extinct and the nation’s citizens will be the primary assets of the country.

chrystalliaChrystallia is run like a business, not a typical country with cost and revenue paramount to the economy. Like any business it has a budget and covers all its cost before embarking on expenses. The country is profitable, dynamic, totally automated, zero unemployment, it operates on a 24 hour economic cycle where every business is operated on a 24 hour basis ensuring total employment and constant economic activity. No one works for more than 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. No one goes to the bank as every home is connected to the economic grid to conduct any and every activity. No cash his exist in Chrystallia, payment is by a chip implanted in citizens wrist. We do not have drug problems, medical problems, environmental problems, religious, social or political crises. Chrystallia is an ideal country where even visitors are managed, all requiring visa to enter from ‘Ports’ situated in all the continents of the world. No one is exempted, not even Presidents or Prime Ministers. We occupy a space in the world but not of the world. Our country is protected by super intelligent robotics with advanced machinery never seen by the outside world , 10 million in number, transportation by high speed rails and flying cars. We get involved in world conflicts only if one of our citizens are killed or captured by outside forces. Our motto is simple – A Chrystallian’s  blood is the blood of the country, a country  fought hard by its people.  Shed one drop of it,  and you declare war on Chrystallia.  We retaliate first THEN ask questions after.

In my world life is good, not devoid of problems but good as we fix the problems that exist and plan for every conceivable scenario. My world is not real or seemingly possible by human standards but that is to be expected as human standards are affected by the very humans, limited only by their propensity to change daily and their innate need to obey their baseless inhuman feelings. Is it utopia? Maybe it is but not one void of the realities that in our world everyone is accountable, everyone is discoverable by a chip placed on their personage, everyone  has to follow laws and like all business if it is broken, we fix it .

Chrystallia is a rare place. Some people have called us aliens, others say we are devoid of humanity and its realities. At 100% fully automated and technology driven our country is like Google and all the other fully automated companies of the world on steroids. But automation does not replace humanics.

This is where we differ from the rest. Simply put, in Chrystallia everything starts with humanics, the age-old Greek ideal of the balanced individual. We believe from our Greek heritage, that a person’s emotional, intellectual and physical lives are one, connected by our shared human birth into this world. The humanics philosophy calls for the total education of the body, the mind and the spirit as our shared humanity supersedes our individual existence

We uphold that value to be true, as the Americans hold to their value that “all men are created equal”  to be paramount to their existence.   In Chrystallia its not  about the automation, wealth and the utopian economy. People of Chystallia create a zen by balancing their bodies, mind and emotions to each other, understanding that there is nothing without the total whole of the sum of the people that exist. No person stands alone in Chrystallia hence we hold to be true that all men need each other, period.  Its about advancement, upward mobility and exceeding intelligence but it is also about balance.

Prince Ea, a resident of the US,  has seen this problem that is destroying the fibre of the people he shares his humanity. It is called a world of robotics, a world devoid of human feelings, touch, sight, hearing and emotions. He cries out from where he stands as he sees a  generation living a human caste system, driven by automation without management . He asks can you auto-correct humanity? Can you hit the backspace key and manually delete the errors of a society consuming robotics and turning themselves slaves to the world of machines?

The_Matrix_PosterReality as we know it , is heading for a dystopian society where Prince Ea sees his world slowly being consumed by machines and social media as the link that feeds them, the link that perpetuates the dream that all is normal. He sees a world where hellos and goodbyes are removed  from the vocabulary , replaced by tweets and messages. He sees a world where machines rule, waging a war on humanity that made them , only to conquer and turn the rebellious humans to nothing but social media zombies. We have seen this before. It was in 1999. Thanks to NEO and those awaken from the dream, The Matrix was a wake up call.

A whole generation is missing out on the human need to touch, see, hear and feel. A whole generation is growing up not knowing how to go on a date with each other.  A generation is walking into the sentient of machines and not knowing it is only a matter of time when they are wired literally to live, to speak, to do, to feel and to respond. Pretty soon machines will be the new terrorists.

I have let  you into my world. Chrystallia is open ready for visitors but there are caveats. Those that wish to travel and see our world must sign an application of humanity, one that states that in our world we are enlightened by our intelligence but governed by our humanity: our compassion, brotherly love, consideration, understanding, benevolence, charity,generosity and magnanimity.  Sign it and enter the world of Chrystallia. Don’t be fooled by the utopian lifestyle. Our humanity makes it real. We will never reach the point where our automation surpasses our human interaction. We strive to create a place for human existence, not a place for idiots.

© 2014. All Rights Reserved.

JAMAICA WILL NEVER BE A USA

Jamaica-Flag-Wallpaper

I recently read an article that Jamaica’s economic woes are tied to the “culture” of the people. Let me quote the writer:

.”it does not matter which political party is in power, our success will have dismal limitations. It does not matter how many loans we can access from the International Monetary Fund and multilateral institutions, it will just be for the purpose of feeding our insatiable appetite of instant gratification. It does not matter how many graduates we turn out from our universities, because the economy, in its limping impotence, will not be able to marshal a workforce to absorb them. Culture matters and it is a definitive difference between countries that are prosperous and countries that are not.”

With comparison to the USA the writer was drawing attention  that the difference in culture between the two countries was directly related to their individual success. Let me first agree with something the writer has alluded to and that is one has to develop a culture of success, aggressive leadership, and strong fortitude to achieve success. But where the writer is incorrect in their analogy is  aaligning the lack of success to a seemingly lackadaisical cultural lifestyle, a lifestyle stereotypically Jamaican. 

Every human wants to succeed, There is no human that calls himself a human that does not have that ingrained in his DNA. Which human , with all senses intact, will tell you he is a failure? Who will tell you he is bad at what he does? I have not met that human as yet. Jamaica’s economic problem is among other things , directly pinned to a lack of leadership, clarity of vision and the natural instinct of Jamaicans to think that anything foreign is better than what they have. It is  inextricably pinned to the lack of quality education denied to the masses of the people for various reasons. It is troubling but it is no different from the USA, the difference is Jamaica is smaller so the problem is heightened.

A country the size of Jamaica has a “brain drain” problem and ever since the big departure in the early 80s it has been the cancer that eats at Jamaica’s economic recovery.  Then Prime Minister Manley invited Jamaicans to leave on flights to Miami and they granted his wish. That educated culture  left the country to develop the USA and other countries.

Education breeds an informed and a more refined culture. Culture is not a singular lifestyle unto itself. It is the daughter of a refined and educated mind. If you were to agree totally with the writer then how do you explain the success of our  athletes in the international arena? How do you explain the many other success achieved by Jamaicans in every discipline of life both here and abroad?  I disagree with the writer. Jamaica’s culture is as strong as the US and they want the dream, not necessarily the American dream, but a dream of a quality of life that they can enjoy in Jamaica. No Jamaican living abroad and I mean none, do not aspire and want to come back home to live their last years in  Jamaica. 

Our woes are big and seems to be in the forefront as Jamaica enjoys a high-profile, ironically because of  its culture, yes the same culture that everyone,  including the US , is trying to emulate. We cannot hold the country responsible for  who the people are? Jamaica is who it is. It will never be a US, but it can enjoy the quality of life similar to the US. Jamaicans are not driven by the same morals or ideals as Americans , but they share the word that is sweet on the lips of those that experience it – and that is SUCCESS. Jamaica’s wish to succeed is far greater than fear itself. The writer obviously has limited knowledge that the freedom of fear is also a part of our culture. Success is not final. It is a living thing that keeps on going as long as the believer holds on to his dreams and move towards it .  

An educated culture breeds success but to blame our “culture” solely for the inefficiency and backwardness of the economy is like saying the US immigration is responsible for its crime. No one should be so short-sighted.

Paul Tomlinson © 2014

Here is the letter in its entirety. Feel free to leave your comments.

USA and JA — a difference in culture

Monday, November 12, 2012

Dear Editor,

If it were in Jamaica that President Barack Obama was running for a second term, say, as prime minister, he would not have been voted back into office, given the slow pace of the economic recovery he has presided over for the past four years. Although he did not create the dismal economic problems in the first place, he would’ve been soundly defeated at the polls for the sheer reason that our culture is one of instant gratification. We want it here; we want it all and we want it now.

For those who reject the idea that culture has a lot to do with economic prosperity, this is a lesson we should not neglect to learn, and a revelation to purposefully observe. Let me quote my favourite Jamaican journalist, Ian Boyne here: “I am one of those who believe that economic development cannot be divorced from culture; or at least that culture either advances or hinders economic development. I have no doubt that some of our cultural proclivities are inimical to economic development; so no matter which party is in power, we continue to stagnate. It’s not just our corruption. Other countries experiencing corruption grow (China, India and Russia are prime examples).”

Despite 20 million Americans still without jobs today, and although Mitt Romney touts a relatively excellent résumé in business, Americans took the long view, and invested their vote in steady progress, not instant and ephemeral results. They rewarded the president for making significant incremental progress, however slow the pace. What is the difference? Culture. Americans think in terms of what is best for their children and grandchildren. They will give up today’s cash for tomorrow’s certain post-dated cheque. The American culture emphasises wealth creation and long-term rewards, and as a result, their politicians are forced to think long-term rather than in election cycles. Jamaica, please take note: politicians will lift their game when their constituents lift the standard of their expectations and demand the available best.

It is my considered opinion that our best leaders have not yet emerged at the podium of national leadership and the reason is because our culture does not accommodate or embrace what they have to offer to this dying country. They are instead forced to dangle on the under-achievement line of mediocrity or migrate to cultures where the work ethic and durable success are far superior to ours. One of the distinguishing characteristics of a prosperous country is that the future takes precedence over the here and now. The American dream, for example, is not about pursuing a loaf of bread for today’s hunger, it is the pursuit of owning the bakery. Owning the bakery requires strategic planning, goal setting, sacrifices, smart work, delayed gratification, and discipline.

Therefore, it does not matter which political party is in power, our success will have dismal limitations. It does not matter how many loans we can access from the International Monetary Fund and multilateral institutions, it will just be for the purpose of feeding our insatiable appetite of instant gratification. It does not matter how many graduates we turn out from our universities, because the economy, in its limping impotence, will not be able to marshal a workforce to absorb them. Culture matters and it is a definitive difference between countries that are prosperous and countries that are not.

Laval Wilkinson

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS BY THE NUMBERS

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The IAAF World Championships begins tomorrow in Moscow. It’s not as big as the Olympics however it is just as important. This is  the better of the 2 major meets as the athlete’s are paid a sum of money for their hard work. In the Olympics- there is no money except Sponsorship deals earned by the athletes. Here is the Championship by the numbers. 

Prize Money:

Athletes achieving a World Record will be eligible* for a special World Record Award of US$ 100,000 offered by Toyota and TDK.

Prize Money – Over 7 million dollars on offer in Moscow

A total of US$ 7,194,000 in prize money will be paid* by the IAAF in Moscow 2013 as follows:

Individual Events

Gold: US$ 60,000; Silver: US$ 30,000; Bronze: US$ 20,000; fourth place: US$ 15,000; fifth place: US$ 10,000; sixth place: US$ 6000; seventh place: US$ 5000; eighth place: US$ 4000

Relays (per team)

Gold: US$ 80,000; Silver: US$ 40,000; Bronze: US$ 20,000; fourth place: US$ 16,000; fifth place: US$ 12,000; sixth place: US$ 8000; seventh place: US$ 6000; eighth place: US$ 4000

* The payment of prize money and bonuses is dependent upon athletes clearing the usual anti-doping procedures.

Three countries bid for the Games- Barcelona Spain, Brisbane Australia & Moscow Russia. 

Events they will be competing in 47 events- male and female combined. 141 medals to be awarded.

Countries & Athletes:- there are 206 countries participating with 1974 athletes making it the largest world championships to date.

The USA has the largest contingent (137) followed by host country Russia (119) with Germany (67).  

In the Caribbean region Jamaica leads with (45) Bahamas with (26) ad Cuba (25).  Jamaica is the only small island with the big boys in numbers – 40 and over athletes at the championships. 

Jamaica ranks 8th in the all time list of medals won at the Championships ahead of Great Britain, Italy, China, Australia, France.

Usain Bolt ranks 3rd in the all time athlete with the most medals- Michael Johnson has 8, Carl Lewis has 10. Merlene Ottey leads the ladies with 14, Veronica Campbell Brown with 9.

The oldest Athlete is 43 years old from Spain and the youngest is 16 from China

Danny Macfarlane and Merlene Ottey, both from Jamaica, have 9 and 8 appearances respectively at the Worlds ranking them in the all stars of the championships.

79 entrants in the M100m the most popular. 31 athletes of the 42 are there to defend their titles.

The stadium holds 78.000 – one of the largest stadiums to hold the championships. There are over 3000 accredited journalist covering the event and will be watched by over a billion people. 

Finally the most expensive ticket cost over US$1000 while the cheapest cost only US$3.00. Let the games begin!