disclaimer - It didn't happen - this is fiction
A MAN OF VISION
©2012 Hazel D.Campbell
|The Jamaican flag|
"Wake up! Wake up! David nudged his companion.
"Tief! Tief!" Daggerman responded as he struggled to get from under his rags and cardboard cover.
"No! No!" David reassured him. "Is not thief. I get the dream! I get the dream at last!"
"Dream?" Daggerman sighed..
David poked the others lying on similar improvised beds around him, but they only mumbled and shifted positions, so he blew his whistle. The shrieking yanked them from sleep and they hurriedly prepared to flee, for the whistle was the ultimate warning of - Gunman! Police! Thief! - the enemies which caused them to huddle together at nights for protection.
"Calm down," David's voice still held the authority of his university lecturer days. " I get the vision!"
The others grumbled as they remade their beds, for David was a man of many visions.
"Listen nuh! I know what to do now."
"Is midnight, man. Tell we later."
"The real problem," David persisted, " is that nobody never claim this island for black people!"
"Don't you see? When Columbus came, he stuck a flag in the ground and claimed the island for Spain. Penn and Venables planted the Union Flag and claimed the island for England. When we say we get Independence in 1962 them just string up a flag and never claim nothing. Them even use the same flag pole that the British used. Them never plant the flag. Them never claim nothing for us. So how we expect anything could change? If things to change, we have to plant a flag and claim the island for the sufferers who make up the majority of this country."
"What kinda flag?" Daggerman asked. He was resigned to losing the rest of his night's sleep. When David got one of his brilliant ideas, he could talk for hours. "What kinda flag?" he asked again.
"The same one, but with red in it."
"I see it in my vision. Red in the middle for all the blood that fatten the land for the oppressors."
"Where we gwine get a flag?" Maudie grumbled.
"Plenty flag pon the pole them. Nobody no tek them down at night."
"You have red cloth?" Maudie asked, knowing that she would be the one chosen to alter the flag.
David grew impatient. " Details! Details!' He started giving orders " Daggerman, go raid a flag pole. Wildman go find a good long stick. Maudie, tear off piece of your blouse....."
Later that August morning, a small band of street people trudged single file up Duke Street. A rag tag bunch of idlers soon joined the procession as it made its way past Gordon House, the seat of Parliament, past other government buildings and into the National Heroes Park. The park was the site of the monuments for others who in their day had also sought to make things better for the majority and were now honoured as heroes.
David and his band stopped in front of Marcus Garvey's shrine. David solemnly unfurled his flag, a large one taken from a ministry building. The centre where the black, green and gold met was covered with a rough red circle torn from Maudie's red blouse and tacked on with the few common pins she could find.
"We are here this morning to plant a new flag and claim this land for black people," David began his oration. "We're claiming it for all who have to beg to get something to eat; for all who have to capture land because them can't rent or buy house; for all who can't get work; who can't send them pickney to school; who cyan drive big car......."
His rabble audience interrupted him with loud clapping and cheers. The cheering attracted more people and the crowd quickly swelled to a mob. The park began to assume a carnival air with hastily assembled food and other vendors hustling business. Some people were ridiculing David and his decrepit followers; but some were listening. The noise irritated David, but he pressed on with his mission.
"Poor people pay for this land with them sweat and blood. This land and its riches belong to us. Let us claim it NOW!"
The cheering and jeering continued as Daggerman and Wildman ceremoniously dug a hole and planted the flag.
"I, David Traffico, Defender of the Rights of Poor People, Rejecter of Every Colonial Connection, Anointed Visionary of the New Millennium for Jamaica now claim this land for the people of Jamaica and you are all witnesses to this act this Day of our Lord August, in the year two thousand and one.
Inspector Whitmannore grumbled as he gave his orders. " I tell unoo long time that that madass David Traffico was going to mek big trouble one of these days. Who let him out again?"
The persistent squawking of the sirens began to irritate the crowd even before the team of police cars raced to a halt at the entrance to the park. Stones and bottles materialized in frustrated hands fanned to fury by David's garbled rhetoric. Popular discontent which had been smouldering for some time flamed into rebellion. Amidst the barrage of makeshift weapons, jeers and taunts a frightened rookie reached for his teargas canister.
The crowd fled leaving David's flag to be ripped from its lopsided stance by an indignant policeman. But David's speech had settled in fertile soil. The mob regrouped and spread out through the city angrily destroying the very inheritance David had sought to claim for them. One madman with a vision had started the revolution.
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