A tree without roots…

“A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots”. That’s one of the most profound statements made by our father, the Hon. Marcus Garvey. Numerous Pan-Africanists and others have quoted these same words for different circumstances. Many hear these sentiments  expressed but can’t seem to relate to it and grasp the grand light emitting from these utterances. We need as a people to absorb more of our mother’s and father’s words instructing us, we need people whose connection to their lineage  wasn’t  severed, enabling them to receive divine messages so as to instruct others, words to re-establish us to our kinship . These words comes with wisdom, withspirit, with power and strength to rejuvenate our weary soul that for centuries have been suppressed, oppressed and regressed by people  whose inferiority has misguided them to a false sense of superiority.

A tree without roots is a dead tree and it both relates to physical and spiritual aspects of our lives. The roots are the source of its existence, they are the channels by which water, minerals and other vital substances are taken from the soil and into the entire structure of the tree. So it’s easy to say -  if there are no roots there is no food source for that tree to live and grow. Logically over time it would be mere shell which eventually will be unearthed then disintegrate. It’s also a stabilizing factor -  in essence it holds the tree in it’s place. Scientifically is true that the larger the  tree the bigger and longer are its roots, giving fact to the argument of the roots being a stabilizer and supporter for its structure. You might question how do  “ roots” and ” trees” tie in with  “people” and “knowledge of past history”. “Past history” here can be represented or can be interpreted as ancestry. So we concur that ” roots” are linked to “trees”, “people” linked to “knowledge of ancestry” . We are all supported, sustained and exist by the “knowledge of ancestry”. The knowledge of ancestry is to bring us wealth, health, prosperity, peace and stability.

When I talk about knowledge of ancestry [past]  I’m not referring to academically scholastic data of geography, dates, paraphrasing and such intellectual capabilities but true knowledge which comes from living the life. Yes, 1517 is significant [the year Atlantic slave trade commenced] and likewise 3100 BC, 1930 etc. Yes, it’s  of importance that these data are in our memory but to eat, sleep, think, act and become them is the real thing. It’s the water in the well, it’s the theme of our story, it’s the breath we take every few seconds. Lving is the key.

A few years ago while visiting a rural town I happened, for reasons unsure to me, to enter an appliance and gift store I was pasting. Having no need to be in the store I hurriedly scanned my eyes over the displayed items but just as I was about to make my exit my attention was drawn to a shelf that had some objects on it - a picture of a Hindu man  next to a ceramic vase, beautifully  crafted and an elephant, probable ceramic also. Then it hit me - this man had a shrine  in his business place. I guess it was in honor of a Hindu deity. Now ask me – here we have a prosperous man, originally from Asia which is very far from Jamaica and he is living his roots. His roots are supplying him of what he needs and more - he has a support and is stabilized by living the tradition of his mothers and fathers.

Japan entered World War II forming the axis of evil, as it was known, and came to a heavy defeat in 1945 with the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  It took them just about fifty years to be amongst the top industrialized nations again, with the fastest growing economy by the closing of the century. People, the underlying factor for their progression isn’t Toyota, Samsung, Sony or any of Japan’s colossal enterprises. The core of their success is that they can be considered as “tree with roots”. They know where they are coming from so they are clear as to their future. They have maintained that connectedness with their ancestry, not giving over to westernize principles.

And now two new giants are here - China and India - both struggling economies fifty years ago. Their secret? They know and embrace their ancestry. China, with over 2 billion people, didn’t gain world supremacy on the account of numbers or the large size of their country. Here we have a people having their roots intact while being flourished by their ancestors, living wisely according to the teachings of their mothers and fathers, nurtured by the legacy which is expressed in traditions and protocols. People without knowledge are indeed dead, simple. If we don’t tap into our lineage a future isn’t guaranteed for us. Now is the time to sankofa getting  back to a rich and balanced life, full of purpose and commitment,  walking in the light of your ancient peoples, Ethiopians, Khametians, Zulus, Ashanti  and Yoruba, people advancing great kingdoms. We have become squatters, hoodlums,murderers, prostitutes and junkies. We have royal blood flowing through our veins. We are genetically coded geniuses and have established societies, organizations, kingdoms, fraternities and other collective bodies that advanced the well-being of humanity.

But no, that’s not  happening. Instead  I see hunger, ignorance and hatred. We are dying daily. The roots of our tree are rotting. Our leaves have become yellow, falling slowly to the ground. The branches are drying and soon a thrust of wind will remove them. Sisters and brothers, we are dying. Our children are staring down greater doom for their future. Don’t be fooled by the wealth us see around - it belongs to a few. The greater majority of our people are held down in poverty. “Out Of Many One People” - that’s the real picture. Jamaica is the most classist country there is, despite having one major ethic group comprising the larger population. I have identified four class structures existing in this country and I’m about to pen up related matters with the completion of further researches. So we have a multi-class society in one country, - that’s why we were given that statement, representing our motto. It’s time to wake up and take off Jacob’s makeup.

A new decade has commenced. Let’s move to harness truth from the depth of our spirit, consciously re-committing our lives to the force that compelled us to say “Garvey”. Let us look in the mirror every morning - have a serious look at ourselves, looking at our eyes, our nose, our skin texture, look at our hair, feel it, pull it . And after that ask “who am I?” more than once. The divine spirit will give you truth, unload the baggage now and move towards radical changes in outlook and behavior, regain that energy of “African liberation  and start a new zeal for justice and equality, ensuring the children’s future and the protection of  the African family.

We need to save the roots. Stop sacrificing your conscience for your belly and live the life our Hon. Father Marcus Garvey who fought to his death to realize for us.


Bro. Rohan.  10 January 2011