Show Your Spirit

      The month of September is near and dear to Belize, as it is our month of independence. Walking down the streets, I see the red, white and blue everywhere. Storefronts, private homes, hotels and even lampposts put on a show, and you can feel the change and spirit in the air.

    Talk to the people, and you can hear the excitement in their voices. The airwaves are flooded with that drumbeat that is synonymous with the marches and parades that take over the towns and villages and cities throughout the country. The anticipation is sweet – we’re waiting for the celebration.

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    In recent years, I’ve noticed that celebration includes quite a bit of the, errr, “socializing” scene. Parties abound, beach parties, music and beer festivals, plus the town Block party. For two separate celebrations, we forget our troubles, and celebrate with abandon. I am pretty sure that worldwide, the same sense of pride and emotions run through people. 

    So, of course, I have to say, I will never forget something that happened a few years ago. Caught in the spirit of togetherness and brouhaha, I bid someone a Happy Independence Day. I know she grew up in Belize, she has professed to be of the highest caliber of San Pedrano; this someone’s bloodline could be traced many generations back. Every opportunity she has ever had she and her family make sure to remind others of how truly San Pedrano they are, so, imagine my surprise when she turned and responded, “We’re Mexican.”

    No gracious, “Same to you,” or “Whatever”. No, she could not acknowledge a simple greeting, she had to point out a fact she’d neglected to mention in her rampage to establish herself as 100% islander. Hmm.

    So, dual nationality serves its purpose once more. I don’t get that. I know that in the political arena, the issue of belonging to two countries is being investigated and laws are being looked at to fix the issue. To me it’s simple (but then again, I love my country): pick the country you want to belong and lay claim to, and then stick to it. Be proud of it, no-one wants to judge you. If you’re ‘Mexican’ by birth, and wish to remain so, then do so. Don’t try to sugar coat the issue and try to bend the law to suit your ego and needs. There are many people who come to this country to try and live their lives alongside the natives. They go through all the hoops to become citizens and when they finally get their paperwork, are so proud and pleased to be Belizean. When you’re handed that on a platter, it’s so painful to watch you toss it aside.

    I guess that is what our September Celebrations are about. It is for the true Belizeans at heart. It is a time to revel and show our joy at being citizens of a country that is young, beautiful, and full of hope. Belize is a country with people who are proud to call it home; it embraces you warmly when within its folds, and always welcomes you back from wherever you come. It doesn’t matter where you run to, you can always come back home. It’s sad that people like that woman don’t acknowledge or appreciate that, and instead focus on one-upping the other, distancing or ensconcing themselves as they see fit. Instead of loving the country that has given them much, they keep on taking for their benefit, and run when the going gets tough. Thankfully, there aren’t that much turncoats – and the true Belizeans more than make up for the lagging few.

    I call on everyone to show some love for your country! Happy September Celebrations and long live Belize!!           

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