Archive for the ‘Caribbean’ Category

Statues fall among the colonisers, as some colonised temporise

2020-06-24

And to think that it would take the sadistic murder in a US city of a US black man, handcuffed and restrained, to unleash decades of pent up frustrations. With Covid-19 and The Great Lockdown, tens and tens of millions of people would find themselves confined to home; loss of job or income, with mounting and intensifying debt and stress.

Worse for such quarantined was the compelled absence of the season for corporate sports. This applied more so to the US, where a clever distraction of jingoism – flag and national anthem for US sports played in the US between US teams – was de rigueur, reinforcing distraction from their increasingly dire social and economic plight, and distraction from imperial US foreign policy. George Floyd’s daughter would prove prophetic when she had said her murdered father would change the world.

There would be spontaneous protests worldwide by the afflicted and their supporters as the rampage of neo-liberal looting continued unabashed and unabated, not just in the traditional victim countries but at home of former and still aspiring colonisers, thus sparing few. Noteworthy, as these monuments to genocide, slavery and oppression fell, is the torrent of expert views, especially in complicit countries, to justify and support The Great Awakening, views that delinquent corporate media find themselves forced to acknowledge in the anxious expectation that this fever will quickly subside. That old saying of Humpty Dumpty. A sampling of the support and outrage.

At the New Statesman Prof Richard J Evans opines. Couple excerpts,

The history wars

‘When I was a child, in the early 1950s, much of the world map displayed on the classroom wall was still painted pink, depicting the “British empire, on which the sun never sets”. I learned to read from a primer called Little Black Sambo about a Tamil boy and his parents, Black Mumbo and Black Jumbo…[…]

‘When my mother’s home-made marmalade ran out, usually in August, we bought Robinson’s Golden Shred, which came with a free miniature “golliwog” figure.’

newstatesman.com/2020/06/history-wars

Respectable journalist Jonathan Cook joins the ranks of the unaccepting of the new narrative that statues are just badly misunderstood monuments of slavery and conquest that can explain the wealth of nations.

UPRISING: Symbols are Invested With Power; Don’t Dismiss the Importance of Toppling a Statue

‘But also the toppling of statues has clearly been very effective in sparking a debate about the crimes of empire – the stolen wealth that built today’s Britain – in ways that have rarely been possible before. The media has been full of discussions about the merits or otherwise of such direct action, what motivates the protesters, and what should be done with these disturbing relics of our ugly colonial past. It has put into question what “philanthropy” really means – a topic of current relevance given that a global elite, from Bill Gates to Richard Branson, now shape public policy. And it has given a rare voice to the black community to say how they feel about people who committed horrific crimes against their ancestors still lording over them in public spaces.’

consortiumnews.com/2020/06/22/uprising-symbols-are-invested-with-power-dont-dismiss-the-importance-of-toppling-a-statue/

From Ameya Tripathi, PhD candidate at Columbia U writing at Novara Media (NM),

Colston Should Have Stayed at the Bottom of the Harbour

To have bestowed respect on it, and using taxpayer’s money to do so, is further incriminating.

From NM’s Aaron Bastani, and to the point, one major coloniser,

No, Britain Hasn’t Been a ‘Force for Good’ in the World

(Telling is this. On July 4, Britain, former ruler of its 13 US colonies, permits reopening of many institutions that cater to social activities.)

Still at NM, an academic, Dalia Gebrial, addresses the obvious,

Pull Them All Down

‘It is inaccurate to view colonialism and slavery as simply a matter of legacy. Many of the injustices of today – of massive wealth inequality, climate breakdown and extreme labour exploitation – are rooted in these histories. The displacement and dispossession of poor, racialised people continues, and our global economy is actively driven by coloniality. Our relationship to historical figures like Colston is important because these figures wrote the blueprint for the world we exist in today.’

novaramedia.com/2020/06/08/pull-them-all-down/

Margaret Kimberley of the Black Agenda Report has her insights posted at Consortium News. Two snippets of a sobering article,

Goodbye, Columbus

The perpetrators of crimes against humanity are often elevated to positions of respect and admiration. It all depends on who did the killing, and who was killed. Now the murderers are being called to account. […]

‘There is no statute of limitations for murder nor should there be for calling out people who have the blood of millions on their hands.’

consortiumnews.com/2020/06/19/goodbye-columbus/

The chilling reality, as depicted in graphic evidence that should have stirred the consciences of such colonisers and prompted some twinge of humanity, but failed to do so, merely confirms the lack thereof, an incorrigible proclivity to plunder with the more than commensurate brutality to assert dominion.

The above, a sampling of views from the UK and the US, where highly militarised armies of police, conditioned to treat citizens, to whom their duty is to protect and serve, as ‘the enemy’, were unleashed to deliver brutality on protesters, and even bystanders. Despite that scores of statues did come ‘atumbling down’.

Curiously, in some countries of Latin America, there was nary a ripple. For example, just a few years ago, the statue of Columbus was dethroned from its perch in the proximity to the Casa Rosada and condemned to a relocation elsewhere in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and replaced by one in honour of Arzuduy, an indigenous freedom fighter.

In Venezuela, such awakening was similarly unnecessary, leading to action earlier as local heroes replaced symbols of colonialism and brutal oppression. As visible symbols of national pride, dignity, were statues such as of Cacique Tamanaco, Cacique Guaicaipuro, and Juana Ramírez, ‘La Avanzadora’, freed slave and freedom fighter.

Venezuela, we will recall, was deemed ‘exceptional threat’ to the US by the Obama regime, launching the murderous sanctions, and subversion, that continues with ever greater ferocity today. The irony is that more, far more has been done there, and successfully, to improve the quality of life of its voiceless than by any US regime, present or prior. Telling.

Still a contrast can be found in many former colonies of Britain (or, derisively, Perfidious Albion) former colonies where ignorance of local history seems to be an endemic consequence of colonial policy, as many descendants, highly visible evidence of the introduction of a heinous social order into the world, find their sense of identity, and national pride, undermined.

One example. Some eight miles to east of Venezuela, an island that once formed geological, historic and cultural part, there occurred insistent protests against such symbols of slavery and extractive colonialism. While there is indeed a statue, one that honours Hyarima, cacique of a nation of The First Peoples, the capital city would instead have one of Columbus, and erected in 1881 by, of all people, a former slave-owner. And its pride of place? Of all places, an area named Independence Square.

Entreaties, incessant, by academics of which, activists, and even an incisive analysis by a newspaper columnist notable for a much earlier and still relevant observation, and even by a descendant of that very former slave-owner, all to no avail. The impasse would serve to prompt the sardonic observation that official inaction, temporising is due more to the paradoxical sense of prestige and self-affirmation attached to securing coveted invitations to mingle among the international diplomatic class (a class that might have fit the category in author JJ Thomas’ Froudacity), thereby attaining validation.

As if to confirm and reinforce the point came a highly undiplomatic intervention by, of all people, a Spanish Embassy official, who had what many consider the effrontery to caution local officials of an independent country, ‘Once again, and aware as I am, that this is up to local authorities, I think it would be wise to think twice about the consequences of our actions.’ Recommendation for ‘knowing their place’? Or to wait, as conditioned, for the now-gone Colonial Office of colonial days to decide on … imperial inaction? Curious. In the year 2020.

So, as the predictable counter-attack of deflection (and official savage violence) gets in gear, it is more than obvious that removal of the obnoxious presence, continual and subtle reminder of subjugation, is no deterrent to addressing present inequities, and modern day slavery. Rather it will serve as powerful incentive to root out similar injustices, actual or planned. Covid-19 and The Great Lockdown has allowed for the return and use of some critical thinking skills for very many, and with the realisation that, in good times and in bad, entitlements and wealth have been continuously extracted by the elite class, in the latter case, even at an increasing rate.

There is no alternative but to forcefully demand and monitor implementation of policy sufficient to redress the wrongs of a newer and more insidious form of servitude – those felled statues, with more to follow, should serve as symbolic reminder to all. The other alternative, a bleak future awaits.

13August, and a Happy 90th

2016-08-14

Cuba and the world celebrate the 90th birthday of Fidel Castro. As TeleSUR reports, Tribute to Fidel Castro on His 90th Birthday

An excerpt, (more…)

A PM to visit to Jamaica, former British colony

2015-09-30

Escaping Lord Ashcroft may have solved one problem. But the UK Prime Minister David Cameron is on a visit Jamaica. And Jamaican officialdom and others are not entirely tickled pink, with the days of sending in some troops to pacify the natives now difficult to resurrect. With The Guardian doing its part, how is the coverage in alternative media?

As RT tells it, Imperial legacy: Jamaica demands slavery reparations from Britain. Some excerpts,

Prime Minister David Cameron has been reminded of his family’s links to slavery as he faces calls for Britain to pay Jamaica millions of pounds in reparations ahead of his first official visit to Kingston on Tuesday.

Academics and politicians in Jamaica have demanded the PM issue an apology for the hundreds of years during which Britain enslaved and “extracted wealth” from the island’s people.

(more…)

Protected: Trinidad All Stars and the Roots of the Carnival

2015-03-04

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