One woman's supreme sacrifice


With Betty Ann Blaine

Monday, January 28, 2013

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Dear Reader,

I suspect that most of you have not yet seen or heard of Yvonne Coke's 60-day hunger strike, for our nation and our nation's children, that started 22 days ago on January 7.

The reason that you may be unaware that this is happening is due to the fact that the Jamaican media has not picked up on the story, save and except for one particular afternoon tabloid. My own suspicion is that the story is not sexy or salacious enough for general media consumption.

Yvonne Coke is the founder of the organisation named Hands Across Jamaica for Righteousness. She has dedicated her life to the mission of the transformation of the Jamaican society through the use of the powerful model of Jamaica's motto, anthem and pledge, what she calls the "MAP".

In the preface of her book, Perspectives from the Jamaican MAP: A Way of Life for Jamaica, Coke asserts, "My hope in writing, is that it will begin a conversation about these national guides: a conversation, a serious discussion, that will take a deeper look at our national symbols together as a map for our national development into an unassailable identity, which embodies a fierce, united demand upon ourselves for honour, integrity and service to be our most precious and most-treasured national commodity."

Yvonne Coke's 60-day hunger strike is embodied in the 'Dedication' that appears at the beginning of her book in which she writes:

"This book is dedicated

To my beloved Jamaica,

To our eternal Father

Who sought people to whom he could entrust

Such a vision as is Jamaica, and

To the people who had fortitude,

And love enough to withstand the savagery

Of slavery and colonialism

And still chose to give us

Hope and a vision of a future

In the eternal direction

Of our Motto, Anthem and Pledge (MAP);

To the Independence generation

Who gave birth to the nation

For the creation of the nation

That our progenitors envisioned but never saw;

To the Jubilee generation,

And our athletes in particular,

Whose diligence and hard work

Keep on giving us a glimpse of the glory

Just to hear our Anthem played;

Of whom God has said:

"You are the best thing

That God has created for this time

For the purpose of rebuilding Jamaica

For you are fearfully and wonderfully made and

You have God's MAP

For the unshakeable direction

Of righteousness for your nation."

In addition to the continuing burden of the nation on her heart, there were two very tragic incidents which led to Mrs Coke going on a 60-day hunger strike.

In her own words she explains: "Between September 26 and November 20, 2012, two productive women I knew, Janice Smith and Diann Beech, were murdered. As a result, between January 7, 2013 and March 7, 2012, I believe the Lord has called me to 60 days fast of silence, wherein I will neither eat nor speak, as I pray that God would turn the hearts of the Jamaican people back to the covenant He made with us in our Motto, Anthem and Pledge. I am praying for the individual and collective renewal of our solemn national pledge to bring an end to violence in Jamaica. For the period, I will be walking on weekdays between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm in front of the monument to our children killed by violence/tragically at [the intersection of] Church and Tower streets."

None of us knows whether or not Yvonne Coke will survive a 60-day hunger strike, since to the best of my knowledge, no one has done it before in Jamaica. What we do know, however, is that this Jamaican woman has put her life on the line for all of us, and I believe that she deserves our support.

With love,




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