JIS News

Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Information, Culture, Youth and Sports, Senator Warren Newby, has reiterated the need to utilise culture and the arts, in as many ways as possible, to engender a peaceful society.
This, he adds, is in order to ensure that persons undertake “peaceful solutions in all conflicts, rather than the aggressive and physical solution so often seen today.”
Senator Newby was speaking at the annual Jamaica Area Conference of the Soka Gakki International (SGI) Buddhist Movement, which was held at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, in Kingston on Friday (October 10), under the theme ‘Peace through Culture and the Arts, Raising Capable Successors’.
Soka Gakki teaches that each individual can transform the sufferings of life into sources of growth and fulfillment, to become a positive influence on their families and communities.
“This is a very important teaching that can liberate one’s mind from dwelling on the inevitable disappointments, sorrows, and tragedies that are a part of life, [and] instead… focus on the inevitable happiness, achievements, and love that are also a part of the human existence, and thereby make these positives outweigh and overshadow the negatives,” he said.
Senator Newby added that the Buddhist religion incorporates meditation and chanting as major and powerful aspects of the faith’s practices, just as aspects of the Rastafarian religion such as speech, diet, music and dress, have seeped into all aspects of the Jamaican society.
“These aspects of Buddhism have been adopted by people all over the globe, who are not necessarily themselves Buddhist, but who recognise that meditation and chanting are useful ways of creating personal calm and unity with the universal creator,” he noted.
He pointed out that the Rastafarian reggae hero, Bob Marley, dedicated much of his work to dealing with advocacy, using his music to spread the message of peace and love, instead of armed resistance to the forces of evil, adding that “in Marley’s songs, we are reminded how powerfully the culture and the arts can convey positive messages that influences and change the world.”
Senator Newby commended the members of the SGI, noting that “I am sure that you are aware that your message is just as powerful, and I know that you have seen in your own life, the ways that your practices of your faith have enabled you to convey your daily existence in a positive way.”
“I therefore want to encourage you to take this message as widely as possible across Jamaica. I want to empower the members of your community, to make your voices be heard as positive agents for change. We need change in our national attitude to discipline. We need to teach, again, the rules of proper public behaviour. We need to bring back with honour the old time family values, and the simple acts of social interaction that bring respect and peace to daily life,” he said.