SLAVERY WAS NOT ALWAYS ABOUT BLACKS

white-slavesMuch attention and condemnation has been directed towards the tragedy of the African slave trade, which took place between the 16th and the 19th centuries. However, another equally despicable trade in humans was taking place around the same time in the Mediterranean.  It is estimated that up to 1.25 million Europeans were enslaved by the so-called Barbary corsairs, and their lives were just as pitiful as their African counterparts. They have come to be known as the white slaves of Barbary.

Slavery is one of the oldest trades known to man. We can first find records of the slave trade dating back to The Code of Hammurabi in Babylon in the 18th century BCE. People from virtually every major culture, civilization, and religious background have made slaves of their own and enslaved other peoples. However, comparatively little attention has been given to the prolific slave trade that was carried out by pirates, or corsairs, along the Barbary coast.

Anyone traveling in the Mediterranean at the time faced the real prospect of being captured by the Corsairs and taken to Barbary Coast cities and being sold as slaves.

However, not content with attacking ships and sailors, the corsairs also sometimes raided coastal settlements in Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, England, Ireland, and even as far away as the Netherlands and Iceland.  They landed on unguarded beaches, and crept up on villages in the dark to capture their victims.  Almost all the inhabitants of the village of Baltimore, in Ireland, were taken in this way in 1631.  (Ancient Origins)

The Barbary slave trade (White Slave trade) flourished on the Barbary Coast of North Africa between the 15th and 19th centuries. This area is modern-day Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and western Libya. European slaves were captured by Barbary pirates in raids on ships and coastal towns from Italy to Spain, Portugal, France, England, the Netherlands, Ireland and Iceland.

Men, women, and children were captured, to such a devastating extent that vast numbers of seacoast towns were abandoned. During the 13th and 14th centuries, Christian pirates, primarily from Catalonia and Sicily posed a constant threat to merchants. But the Barbary corsairs became menaces with the expansion of the Ottoman Empire in the 15th century.

Slaves in Barbary could be black, brown or white, Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, Jewish or Muslim. And the corsairs were not only Muslim, there were English privateers and Dutch captains.

galley-slaves-barbary-corsairsMany slaves died on the ships during the long voyage back to North Africa due to disease or lack of food and water. Those who survived were taken to slave markets where they would stand for hours while buyers inspected them before they were sold at auction.

Men were assigned to hard manual labor in quarries or for heavy construction, while women were used for housework or in sexual servitude. At night the slaves were put into prisons called ‘bagnios’ that were often hot and overcrowded.

The worst fate for a Barbary slave was being assigned to man the oars of galleys. Rowers were shackled where they sat, and never allowed to leave. Sleeping, eating, defecation and urination took place at the seat. Overseers would crack the whip over the bare backs of any slaves considered not to be working hard enough.

Europeans sometimes attempted to buy their people out of slavery, but no real system emerged before around 1640. Corsair activity began to diminish in the latter part of the 17th century, as the more powerful European navies forced pirates to cease attacking their shipping. In the 19th century, the United States of America and some European nations began to fight back more fervently against the Barbary pirates.

Algiers was frequently bombarded by the French, Spanish and Americans. After an Anglo-Dutch raid in 1816 on Algiers, the corsairs were forced to agree to terms which included a cessation of the practice of enslaving Christians, although slave trading of non-Europeans was allowed to continue.

“One of the things that both the public and many scholars have tended to take as given is that slavery was always racial in nature,” said historian Robert Davis, author of Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters: White Slavery in the Mediterranean, the Barbary Coast, and Italy. “But that is not true,” he added.

In comments which may stoke controversy, Davis claims that white slavery had been minimized or ignored because academics preferred to treat Europeans as evil colonialists rather than as victims. (Ancient Origins)

slavesThe notion that slavery is or was an attrition of humanity remains a subject matter that is moot to different scholars. Indeed the term ‘slavery’ has and still is a word that connotes deep resentment for many as it conjures a picture of tortuous pain and suffering against the refusal of those enslaved to wishes forced upon them.

In the period of the Barbary trade, people were captured and forced to work and were made to suffer inhumane circumstances. Muslims, Africans as well as other mercenaries were involved in this business It was purely economic by those involved and not always attached to a racist umbilical cord. Indeed many of the great cities, monuments and wonders of the world were built by’ slave labor’. And not all ‘slaves’ were treated inhumanely either.

“In both Egypt and Rome, slaves were actually treated quite well if they behaved. They were provided food, shelter, clothing and protection in return for them service. Additionally, in ancient Greece, a slave could actually work his or her way out of servitude and become a property, and even business, owner. In fact, the Greeks had a far different view of slaves and slavery. You weren’t automatically a lesser person just because you were a slave. And capitol crimes such as murder were handled differently. If a person murdered another, the murderer was sentenced to seven years of indentured servitude to the family of the victim. This isn’t to say that the murderer might not meet with an untimely demise, but slavery, in general, has had a very long existence and encompassed a multitude of both cultures and races.’ Scruffy Nerfherder

Regardless of which side of the spectrum you stand, restricting freedom, forcing labor, working under inhumane conditions and declaring that you ‘own’ a person just by the very nature of ‘buying’ them as you would a pound of meat, is wrong. Similarly employing persons under similar conditions is equally wrong, no matter how much you try and cloak it with so called ‘incentives’. This article attempted to show that slavery did not start with or end in Africa.  Indeed slavery is as old as humanity. Denying persons of their humanity is denying the person’s  existence.
Eckhart Tolle was quoted to say.. “Dogmas are collective conceptual prisons. And the strange thing is that people love their prison cells because they give them a sense of security and a false sense of ‘I know.’ Nothing has inflicted more suffering on humanity than its dogmas.”
The dogma that drives humanity to slavery is a tumor that is still very much malignant. There are treatments but it rears its ugly head frequently. Historians highlight what they deem necessary but knowing our history will make us aware of both the past and that history always has a way of repeating itself. It is for us to monitor, check, account and evade.

Sources: Thanks NeoMakeba for original post / Ancient Origins

GO HOME MR. CAMERON YOU ARE NOT WELCOME HERE.

  

The British PM Mr.Cameron has visited our island after staying away for many years and in true parochial style has opened up his barrel of goodies for the little wayward children, telling us to “Take and Forget’

Its amazing what pieces of silver can do. It glitters and it sparkles and with comforting words it covers all the stains of relationships past. Big daddy comes with barrel and it shows that he still cares. Mr. Cameron its funny but I cannot remember you telling the Jews the same message you told us, to “forget and move on”!. 

Mr. Cameron its not so much a written apology that we seek. The Lord knows apologies mean nothing as often it comes from an empty place. Rather what was missing from your tone Mr.Cameron was the ‘ Come to Jesus Moment” of looking the people of Jamaica in the eyes of its representatives and declare that Britain was wrong. That their intensions were real but the end did not justify the means. That Mr. Cameron was missing and it is to that acknowledgement or lack thereof that some of us find you and your visit repulsive.

Your plans to build us a fancy prison was like a tsunami that covered the rest of your pitiful hand-me-downs. Mr. Cameron we are moving forward and in case you have not noticed this is a different world circa 1800’s. Give us technology, give us more facilities for education, give us rural development, give us the opportunity to stand up ,like you have stood on our backs for centuries, to lead in the Caribbean and become a nation of opportunities and of dreams that our children can be proud of. You have abandoned this bastard child for years leaving us to fend for ourselves, starting over from scratch while your country basque in our wealth plundered from the blood of our ancestors.

No Mr Cameron, WE WILL NEVER FORGET how it all started and your country’s role in our beginnings. No Mr Cameron we cannot forget our past as this past is shaping our future. Our lives are worth more than your 300m pieces of silver and your prison. 

Thanks but no thanks. Our youth will be forever reminded that their fore- fathers did not die in vain. That our children’s children will forever remember that the blood of many flowed in the land of their birth, makes Jamaica more than just an island where corrupted politicians come to prostitute with gold coins.

 We are grown now Mr Cameron, we are not that little black child you left 53 years ago. #JamaicanLivesMatter and our lives are worth an apology. We are mature enough to move on without an apology and we have not complained. But seeing you step on this hallowed ground , desecrating the blood of the maroons and thousands of Africans asking us to “move on” is sacrilege and your words palpable absurdity. Go home Cameron, you are not welcome here.   

THE RISE OF CHRISTIANITY IN  JAMAICA – A BRIEF HISTORY

Christianity  was introduced to Jamaica with Roman Catholicism through Spanish plunderers. In 1655, the British plundered and Church of England (later called the Anglican Church) became the state church. In 1754 the Moravians landed in Black River as the first missionaries, and devoted themselves to the conversion of Jamaica’s non-white population. They were followed by other groups – Baptists in 1783, Methodists in 1789, and Presbyterians in the early 19th century.

Because these non-conformist denominations preached a message of equality for all men, they met with extreme and at times violent opposition from the slave-owning class and the state church. 
In 1860, there was intense religious activity called the Great Revival. It started in the non-conformist churches, using vibrant evangelism to spread Christianity throughout the country.
In this time of religious fervour, African elements and rituals (whuich were still entrenched in the lives of the ex-slaves) intermingled with Christian beliefs, and the outcome was a genuinely Jamaican religion called Revival. It features spirit possession, and music as a central feature of the worship experience. The two branches of Revival are known as Revival Zion and Pukumina (Pocomania).
In 1872 the Church of England was disestablished as the state church. Newer denominations such as Salvation Army, African Methodist Episcopal (AME Zion), Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, Mormons and Bahai came in the late 19th and early 20th century.
The largest single denomination in Jamaica today, the Seventh Day Adventist Church, came to Jamaica in 1894. The Pentecostal movement started in Jamaica from about 1918. It blossomed in the 1940’s when missionaries from America came to the island during an upsurge in American Revivalism.
Pentecostalism appealed to the poor who had been alienated by the established churches. It encompasses many fundamentalist groups that interpret all of the Bible as literal truth, and emphasise the experience of the Holy Spirit.
Throughout the late 20th century and into the 21st century, many more churches and denominations have been established. These are often movements that break away from previously established churches. Many start out as Crusades, held under a tent. 
Although the Seventh Day Adventists (who worship on a Saturday) are the largest denomination, they are far outnumbered by Sunday worshippers, most of whom belong to the Pentecostal movement.
  
NeoMakeba 

“EMANCIPATED” JAMAICANS – LANDLESS AND PENNILESS…& THE RISE OF FREE VILLAGES

As we celebrate Emancipation Day in Jamaica to day I thought I would remind those the history of Emancipation and the rise of Free Villages. It is a story that shapes not only the country, but its people. It is who are are, fashioned by our fore-fathers who refused to raise a single nail on the plantations, removing themselves as far as possible from what represented a  symbol of murderous  crimes against humanity.

LANDLESS & PENNILESS
On August 1, 1834, “frees” slaves in Jamaica were required to undergo a transitional period as ‘apprentices’ before full emancipation. “Slave owners” were given monetary compensation of £6,161,927 for their loss of property in slaves. The slaves received no compensation.

Apprentices were obliged to work on the estates for 40.5 hours per week in exchange for food, clothing, and shelter, but not wages. The system was marred with abuses by the planters and apprentices went on strike, refusing to work without wages. They swore that they would rather ‘have their heads cut off, or [be] shot’ before they would be bound apprentices. To quell the resistance, 160 well-armed soldiers were deployed throughout the parish, and many slaves were whipped and sentenced to the workhouse.

On August 1, 1838, the British Parliament ended the apprenticeship program, which had become an enormous administrative burden, and granted full emancipation to more than 300,000 slaves in Jamaica.

Non-conformist missionaries, especially the English Baptists, created ‘free villages.’ Missionaries bought large holdings and subdivided them in small house lots to sell to the former slaves. The inadequacy of these holdings for crop cultivation, coupled with the unresolved disputes between estate owners and their black employees, resulted in the flight of freed slaves from the estates.

They established themselves as small peasant farmers on land obtained through lease, rent, purchase, or by simply squatting (settling on land without title or payment of rent). By 1860 the small farms of the black peasantry showed yields indicating they were a viable alternative to plantation agriculture.

Photos show “freed” Jamaicans at the turn of the Century…

FullSizeRender(1) FullSizeRender(2) FullSizeRender(3) FullSizeRender(4)THE RISE OF THE “FREE VILLAGES” IN JAMAICA
Immediately after “slavery” in Jamaica, new communities of freed people wee developed as majority of enforced Jamaicans were eager to get as far away as possible from the estates. Free Villages were usually large tracts of land purchased by missionaries and then subdivided into smaller plots for sale to their members. The first “free village” was Sligoville, on the 10th of July 1835.

So do Jamaicans know if they lived in a “free village”? Check this list of “free villages” in Jamaica:

St. Ann: Moneague; Clarksonville; Wilberforce; Buxton Bethany; Salem Brown’s Town; Happy Valley; Pleasant Valley; Harmony; Philadelphia; Sturge Town and Endeavour

St. Thomas: Delvery, Airy Mount (Mount Airy); Navarino; Greenwood; Beldona; Spring Mount; Elmwood; Bachelor’s Hall; Pigeon Hill; Unity Valley; Leith Hall and Bath Castle

St. Elizabeth: Springfield; Lacovia; Kilmarnock; Cairn Curran; Commer Pen; Lititz; Ipswich; Carisbrook; Cruze and Ballard’s Valley.

Clarendon: Rhyme’s Bury; Howell’s Content; Halse Hall; Hayes; Mitchell’s Town; Farm Colonel’s Ridge; Nairne Castle; Crofts and Cross.

St. James: Goodwill; Irwin Hill; Mount Carey; Maldon; Shortwood; Sudbury and Salters Hill.

Manchester: Bethabara; Beaufort; Beulah; Vale; Porus; Hillside; Maidstone; Mizaph and Walderston.

Trelawny: New Cargen; Albert Town; Stewart’s Town; Gilbraltar; Kettering; Clarkson Town; Granville and Refuge.

Westmoreland: Carmel; Bethel Town and St. Leonard’s Gurney.
St. Catherine: Sligoville; Kitson Town; Sturge Town; Victoria Township and Clarkson Town.

Portland:Cedar Valley; Belle Castle and Happy Grove
Hanover: Mount Horeb and Sandy Bay
St. Andrew – Trinityville
St. Mary – Islington.

Jamaican seen building a family life in Sligoville, something that was as foreign to hem as freedom.

Jamaican seen building a family life in Sligoville, something that was as foreign to hem as freedom.

May their bravery endure forever in our hearts and in our deeds.

Thanks Neo Makeba.

20 THINGS JAMAICANS DON’T WANT TO KNOW

Grunge_Flags___Jamaica_by_Brhi

It took me 5 days to put pen to paper for this piece. 5 days of thinking, wondering should I just get it out of my system. It was very easy to reach my conclusion. Yes I had to get it off my chest as I was taught if you want  to see change, say something and let the chips  fall where they may.

I follow the PM’s lead. I usually don’t  watch the local media houses as their pathetic attempt to deliver what is considered the ‘national ‘ news is watching 2 presenters sit and read boring scripts or gossiping at worst. But every now and then I check in to see what scene the clowns are acting out  on the   stage and sure enough it was a continuing comedy of errors , from the continuing Michael Dean saga to the daily bushfires and water  problems. It is incessant. We cannot seem to solve our simplest problems.

Over the past 5 days I have come to the conclusion that this comedy  started 52 years ago when our  statesmen  Alexander Bustamante and Norman Manley took the country on the road to independence from the English tyrant . Some may not want to acknowledge or admit it , but Bustamante and Norman Manley failed to initiate a plan. Subsequent leaders had their own ideas, based on their political perspective  of where this country should be headed. There was no collective gathering of the greatest minds in Jamaica to map out a plan that we all can agree ,  establishing a definition of the Jamaican  Dream, that ideal that every Jamaican can buy into and work towards.

A country that fails to plan, plans to fail.   Jamaicans, all  1.6 million of them , were preoccupied with political warfare and skullduggery moving  from the brink of communism to the other extreme of outright capitalism. Our leaders were fighting each other, poisoning Jamaicans to take sides. The classic black man internal trust and struggle prevailed and who suffered, the people without wealth. And so we struggled, struggled to make the right choices: what type of government, what type of infrastructure, what  type of economy, health care, social systems, security, education and most importantly we struggled to create a Bill of Rights that every Jamaican can enjoy and use as their guiding light towards social and economic upliftment. The Jamaican Dream turned a nightmare and now the dream is to get a visa and enjoy every other country’s dream.

Through trial and error we worked, we strived, we laughed, we cried, we mourned, we fell 52 times and we stood up 53 times,  such is the resilience of Jamaica and its people. But there are only a few things in this world that irks me and turn me into a giant squid and that is when our present  leaders,  on both sides of the isle , pretend to show leadership and resilience. Collectively  they make  the actors of Laff it Off look like amateurs. Our leaders are still clueless on the path this country should take and are presently at the steering wheel seemingly heading over a precipice. It is as if we are still walking on the plantation digging and searching for a pot of Gold.

In 52 years we still cannot fix a leaking pipe that spills water for months , yet we talk about conserving water. 52 years and we still have not figured out the difference between religion and politics that never the 2 shall meet in the forum. We still have not figured out the type of education that educate our people or  the one  that turns them into collective zombies. 52 years later we have no clue of the economic engine needed to run this country  and if we do have a clue no plan to get that engine firing on all 8 cylinders. . We still have no clue of creating a country of Justice for all where the poorest of the poor know their rights.   The list is vast but the basic necessities of life is a luxury for many . in Jamaica the most popular word in all sectors is NO.  It is as if the Jamaican people are always doing something wrong to put them at odds with any government agency or local business for that matter.

What we have managed to be very good at is  expressing most vocally that we are a christian nation, whatever that means . In a country of many  religious practices some  government officials are  proclaiming Jamaicans are ‘backsliding’  hence our country is suffering because we have turned from God, I am paraphrasing here. The recent pronouncements of the junior Minister for Entertainment and Culture actually chided  Jamaicans, admonishing them to turn back to God and when a Jamaican speaks Anti- God that makes him suddenly un-Jamaican.

……..”I said that being atheist and agnostic is Un-Jamaican. I also said that it has become fashionable to make anti-God pronouncements, and those doing so should stop. I stand firmly by both statements….”  Damion Crawford.

Really Mr Minister?  a statement like that is fashioned by the people that control your mind. God , as you know him Mr Minister is a completely different person to someone else, no definition is exclusive.  When a politician speaks  like that it reminds me of another guy called Hitler whose pronouncements created the worlds first tyrant because he wanted things HIS way. In this case if you are not a Christian,  like the minister and do not recognise God ,  then  a pox on your house.

Mr Minister  when  some of us left the plantation we left behind all vestiges of manipulation and mental corruption and started to think for ourselves and guess what  Mr Minister, we are Jamaicans, free thinking  Jamaicans. I define a country of the sum of parts living homogeneously sharing a common heritage and culture, each man individually adding their own flavor to the human mix, while creating his own karma maintaining peace in the society. Your definition of a country is:

……the majority accepted norms to form a country. Jamaica is a Christian country full stop. We have Rastafarians, Jews, Muslims etc, but the accepted norm is Christianity. In the same way that some countries are defined as bi-lingual because of the high representation of secondary languages while others are simply defined as Spanish speaking or English Speaking etc because their isn’t a material number of other languages represented. …”  Damion Crawford

That’s where we differ on interpretation. You are an educated man, Think for yourself, leave your books written by those who care to brainwash you and think objectively. Jamaica has a religious heritage . It is not a christian country. There I said it. Unfortunately for you I am still very much a Jamaican.  In this country   there are many norms.  The accepted norm for you   is the norm accepted by the new oligarchy, the ones that determine what  Jamaicans think. Yes Mr Minister it suits the government  to brainwash people to think they live in a Christian country. I am not going to censor myself to comfort your ignorance. Jamaica belongs to Jamaicans, not any leader, religious or political aspirant. If your navel string plant here, you belong here, whether you call God  God, Allah, Jah , El Shaddai, Ohm, whatever!

For you to say not paying homage to our slave owner’s contribution to our human development by implanting in our psyche what God is while he lashes our skin with whips and chains,  is frankly showing us that your mind is still a slave to the system. The learned gentleman has gone mad.  Sometimes I wonder if this country is run by smart people or by religious or bellicose  noises who really mean what they say. The effects of slavery is still evident. Mr Minister we need a plan  to really abolish slavery once and for all.

religion

It irks me every day. Learned, seemingly intelligent people cannot get their act together. So I have listed 20 things that I believe Jamaicans don’t want to know, pretending that ignoring them they will suddenly go away.

1.Leaders:  Jamaicans are suffering from a serious disease called Leader Madness Disease. We do not have a present leader that knows the way, walks the way and shows us the way. Along with this  there is a cacophony of jokers called Ministers of government from both side of the isle. The Jamaican  dies in the hands of politicians from political skullduggery and strangling bureaucracy. Instead of fighting to excel , the Jamaican fight daily to survive the obstacles and hurdles  placed before him. It is a constant battle.

2. History: We never learn from history . History has shown us that when we work together we strive together. This simple equation is still incomprehensible to the Jamaican. The effects of the plantation is evident here.

3. False Belief: We believe that politicians can change. How many times have they shown us their colors and true self and yet we continue to elect  them  as if the carousel of politics is  a rotating Wheel of Fortune?

4. Religion:  We believe God will help us if we follow our pastor and pray and when you are done praying , leave your collection. Ghandi said      “ Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics don’t know what religion is.”  It is as if unless we go to church daily and pay our tithes then we will forever be doomed.  The problem is while the people  are praying they  are stealing from their pocket books. Religion starts wars. Pastors preach hate. Beware of the false prophet. Even demons can cry out Praise the Lord.

5. Matriarch: We are a matriarchal society with a strong affinity to work overseas and send money believing being away from the problem is not your problem. Living in Switzerland or having the famous green card does not suddenly not make you Jamaican. Open you mouth and your identity defines you. The frequent words “I love my country” is as empty as the lips that utters them. Long distance love in any relationship will only work when there is plan to cut the distance.

6. Crime: Jamaicans are psychologically just as bad as the cops they resent.. Jamaicans kill Jamaicans for the same reason the police kills Jamaicans. We do not value each other.

7. Society: There are 2 societies in this country- the society of wealth who are the new slave owners and the society of workers that pander to the wealthy. Within those 2 societies, we don’t trust each other.  We have created successfully the Haves and the Have Nots.

8. Money Machine: For some people , namely the working class , no matter what your accomplishment, your home, your car or your education you are still a money machine for the government to squeeze every last bit of penny in the name of providing services for the sole purpose of financing pork barrel politics to the people they pander to for votes at election time.

9. Backwardness: We are virtually still in the year 1962 but physically in 2014,  a majority of Jamaicans are still struggling to catch up to the world’s technology and education. We feed our mind with the excuse that we are a small island so our actions make it right. The real problem is technology replaces unskilled workers. We are so behind  the Internet revolution when will we catch up?

10. Dirty State: Our reference to Jamaica as Yard is exactly equal to how a chicken lives in a yard…dirty!  This country is dirty and we claim to be a tourist  destination.

11.Values:  We claim to be a christian country and yet the least of our brothers still go hungry and homeless. We have no moral authority to call this country  a christian country any more than Israel have a right to  call Palestine their home.

12. Economy:The reason why we are in an economic problem is because suddenly we got up and hated who we are amd decided to be someone else. We stopped producing from the soil and started importing to live like Americans and now we are paying the price. The IMF one size fits all package will continue to put this country in turmoil if there is not a parallel economic performance of export, export, export.

13. Stress: A majority of Jamaicans are living with stress.  Jamaicans are so accustomed to no miracles  that any chance of celebrating an  event or person that shines in sports or otherwise provides the necessary release .

14. Police: The  Jamaica police is here to protect and serve the people of Jamaica. In  reality they have decided  to fight the Enemy of the State. That enemy is the people of Jamaica.  Justice is weighed according to the size of your pocket.

15. Trust: We don’t trust each other. As Jamaicans and emancipated blacks coming out of slavery we have never really learned to trust anyone, and our leaders have done nothing but lip service to correct this.

16. Children: Our children are lead astray and it’s our fault, no one else.

17.Weapon: The Church is the politician and the wealthy’s  greatest weapon against society.

18. Help: We are quick to call on somebody to come and help Jamaica, China, the IMF whoever is willing to hand out,  not realizing that the “somebody’ is Us, Me, You!

19 Politicians:  Our politicians , the leaders we elect to move us forward  are so passive and clueless it is easy for them to rely on the IMF  or the Jamaican people  to blame them  for their failure. No politician will lay down his life for any Jamaican. Those days of chivalry died 52 years ago.

20. Changing: Jamaica is a changing society  yet the government’ does not recognise this. The government  is as static as a conservative trying to move one leg forward. Government’s best effort is to strong arm the people they lead  that are poor mentally and physically. The PM is in love with the poor as much as the poor is in love with her but they do not communicate with each other. They smile, they hug they even  sip cocoa tea under the coconut tree but  the government sees poor people as problems well before they are seen as people. It is in the politicians interest to keep poor people poor, after all in the Jamaica wealth is something to aspire to and the poor  is something the PM loves.

Paul Tomlinson

August 18 2014

 

 

THE LOST AFRICANS IN INDIA.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UD7sp-L9lUk

In a democracy of over  1 billion people it is very easy for a group of 50,000 to get lost and even forgotten.  The Siddi tribe of Africa is not only lost in this vast country but also lost to history. Their story although documented by a few, still remains an unfinished sentence that is presently written for the history of India. They remain an invisible and forgotten people that everyone wants to forget they exist and that automatically the problem should go away.

For centuries , through no fault of their own, their forefathers were brought to till the soil, work the farms and make their owners rich. This custom has remained intact in 2014, not to the extent of the harsh treatment of their relatives, but certainly camouflaged in the modern day engineering of the world’s most  inhumane of systems known as slavery.

The Siddi story is an interesting one. You look at them externally and you see Africans, but you peer into their souls, you hear them speak and you see Indian. Living in a country so large , and in the minority,  it is easy to see how they are at a disadvantage .

A group with no political or economic power their influence is nil. It is only through the human trait of fairness and brotherly love they survive  keeping their hopes alive. That hope is to one day  be given the right to be called Indian citizens. These people ask for nothing more, nothing less. They are Indian but like a castaway child they are  left to fend for themselves.

A democracy as advanced as India has a far way to go to mend this atrocity. Forgetting that they exist is not solving the problem. What has India got to lose? In fact it has everything to gain. It will allow the Siddi’s to fully integrate in the Indian society , deepening  the existing and dynamic Indian culture, allowing integration  of the races , maybe creating a superb mixture  of Africans and Indians.

There is no such thing as purity of races. The last man to experiment with that idea life was thankfully stopped unceremoniously. The Siddi people cannot go anywhere. They are home. India is their home, not Africa. That’s their heritage. India must do the right thing. Give the Siddi their life back. Give the Sddi the opportunity their forefathers created for them. Give the Siddi their Indian wings.

 Paul Tomlinson

THE BEAUTY IN UNITY

url

“AKWANTU” is the documentary of a special set of Jamaicans whose triumphs have been drowned in the noise of history. The story tells of the historic victory of a set of slaves ,at the time less than 50, over the mighty British Army in Jamaica to gain their freedom. They were called the Maroons.

A British governor signed a treaty promising them 2,500 acres in two locations, because they presented a threat to the British.

Beginning in the late 17th century, Jamaican Maroons fought British colonists to a draw and eventually signed treaties in the 18th century that effectively freed them over 50 years before the abolition of the slave trade in 1807.

To this day, the Jamaican Maroons are to a significant extent autonomous and separate from Jamaican society. The physical isolation used to their advantage by their ancestors has today led to their communities remaining among the most inaccessible on the island. In their largest town, Accompong, in the parish of St. Elizabeth, the Leeward Maroons still possess a vibrant community of about 600. Tours of the village are offered to foreigners and a large festival is put on every January 6 to commemorate the signing of the peace treaty with the British after the First Maroon War.

It is a fascinating story of the Jamaican Maroons and their victory. They could only accomplish this through UNITY -nothing else. Its a pity we have not learned anything from history except that where there is no unity there is no strength.

We will keep you posted on this story but for now educate yourself on this historic group of people- the Maroons of Jamaica.