Dudus as God
Basil Waine Kong, Ph.D., JD
I read a quote in a Jamaican newspaper from a lady who said, “Dudus is next to God. Jesus died for our sins and we are willing to die for Dudus.” * She demanded that the authorities leave him alone.
For thousands of years, the Japanese people believed that their emperor was God. After the Allies occupied Japan and the Emperor was made to declare on the radio that he was not God and was just an ordinary man with no Godlike powers, thousands of Japanese citizens, the true believers, committed suicide, not being able to accept that the god that they worshipped and prayed to was just another human being, nothing more or less.
I also thought of Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. Imagine, writes Plato, a tribe of people who spend their entire lives in a cave. Their only exposure to the outside world was the shadows that were projected on the sides of the cave through the cracks on the opposite walls. During an earthquake or some other earthy disturbance, a member of the tribe escaped and was confused and dazzled by the fantasy to which he was exposed. As he was marveling at the sights and sounds, him buck him toe on a rockstone and it hurt. He walked into a tree that he thought was just a fantasy and hit him head. He fell into a river and almost drowned and gradually came to realize that he had things backwards. This was the reality and he and his people were living a lie and only shadows of the truth.
Having found truth, he immediately went back to his people and with great excitement, courage and conviction proceeded to enlighten and plead with them to accept his truth and they all said: G’wey fool. You know not of what you speak. Everyone knows that the shadows are the true reality. They even killed him for his blasphemy.
I grew up in Woodlands, St. Elizabeth, with the certain knowledge that:
1. The Bible was written by God and every word must be taken literally;
2. If you were caught in the rain you would catch cold;
3. Night air was dangerous so children had to be called in when it got dark;
4. Crop failure, hurricanes, earthquakes, sickness and death were acts of a vengeful God;
5. Anything foreign was better than anything produced in Jamaica;
6. “Nutten black no good”;
7. If it is written it is true. Arguments would immediately cease once someone produced a “writing”, particularly a Gleaner article. “Why would they write it if it wasn’t true?”�
As I discovered that science nicely explained away many of our traditional beliefs, on my first trip back to Jamaica after leaving Woodlands and armed with a substantial education, I liberally shared the knowledge I had acquired. My grandmother just smiled as I tried to address these myths. She said I was still too young to know anything while the rest of my people more aggressively ran me: G’wey!
The residents of Tivoli Gardens are living in Plato’s cave. They know no other reality but the see no evil approach to life. Dudus, the President, the Godfather, dispenser of the proceeds of crime, merely ask that the recipients of his largest reciprocate with loyalty and obedience. “He is a hero who keeps order and more importantly protects us from abusive police. He can stand up to anyone.”
Parasites prey on those around them. How does a criminal strongman do this? He provides quick fixes to people’s problems. What could be wrong with that? Yet as time progresses, the easy way becomes easier and easier until it seems you have no other choice, until you want no other choice. It is at that moment, when you have an established need of such a person, that the price is exacted. While for those who can support themselves, the greatest treasure is freedom; for those who are starving and desperate, freedom may not be much of a price to pay for their daily bread and daily fix for school fees, uniforms, lunch money, court costs, food, etc.
Mr. Coke is a Jamaican strong man who used drugs and other vices that prey on poor Jamaicans looking for quick fixes. Poor Jamaicans turn to the Mr. Cokes of the world because the government fails to provide the framework of education and economic resources to help them out of their dependent relationships.
Unfortunately, a vacuum of power will result with the removal of Dudus. Dudus is a white star quickly collapsing into black hole that, if we are not careful, will swallow massive amounts of Jamaican civil society. On the other hand, we may be in the midst of a cleansing that may benefit our society going forward. But what is to become of the many citizens of TG who have grown used to dependency and are now destitute?
What I know is for freedom to ring, the rule of law rather than the rule of the jungle must prevail. Crime is, by its definition, a breach of the rules and laws of a governing body. The people of Tivoli Gardens willingly sacrificed their freedom for security. They willingly huddle in the shadow of a tyrant, fearing his removal, because they do not know the value of the sun shining on their faces here in the land of sun and water.
I cry for my beloved country because our people are so badly neglected and mis-educated that they are willing to drink the “kool-aid” of fast money and quick fixes that the criminal element offers. My plea is: please don’t drink the kool-aid! The most predictable road to independence, long term happiness and prosperity is integrity and hard work.
*”Dudus” is the purported drug Lord who, like his father, controlled a section of Jamaica called Tivoli Gardens who the United States want to put into a orange jumpsuit . The people who live there are provided with amenities, compliments of the one they call “The President”. He was the most powerful man in Jamaica before the showdown with government forces in May, 2010. He was indicted and wanted by the American authorities for charges relating murders committed by the Shower Posse for which he is the purported head as well as the illegal sale of drugs and guns.
Bullet Columnist Basil Waine Kong has written several pieces for this journal and especially likes to expound on his favorite subject: his beloved Jamaica. He is a former Atlien (resident of Atlanta GA), and was the CEO of the Association of Black Cardiologists (ABC) for 22 years before his retirement in 2008 to return to Jamaica. This article is reprinted with his permission from his blogsite; Coming in From the Cold… Bob Marley