Last Saturday I attended the launch of Sat Maharaj: Hindu Civil Rights Leader of Trinidad and Tobago, a biography written by Kumar Mahabir. Although I did not read the book (it was not available at the time) I could see the enthusiasm and joy that emanated from an audience that had come to embrace Sat as their personal hero. I attended the function to congratulate Sat for having placed, via Mahabir, a partial account of his life. Continue reading ‘The Responsibility of Intellectuals’
The brutal attack on three African students at Rajiv Chowk Metro station hit headlines last week, reopening debates on racism experienced by Africans in the city. There is no official version yet of what the students – Yohan Koumba Daouda and Mapaga Yannis, both students of Amity Institute of Information Technology, and Guira, a first year BBA student of Sharda University – had done to incite the attack. One of the witnesses, who posted a video of the incident on YouTube, reportedly said that they were accused of ‘misbehaving with female passengers’ by making lewd comments at a woman on a train. Another report said that in the rush to board a train on the Yellow Line, one of the students was pushed aside. He apparently made a comment against Indians in protest, which then angered some passengers. Continue reading ‘Update: African students recount racist attack in India’
I regard myself as an objective and detached observer of the legitimate current claim being prosecuted across the Caribbean for European nations that participated in the infamous Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade to pay reparations to the descendants of those who suffered this inhumanity in the hands of the slave-masters/traders and tribal chiefs in Africa who mobilized them and sold them to the slave-traders. Continue reading ‘Balancing the Scales of Reparatory Justice’
Years ago, the late economist and social thinker Lloyd Best pondered over the question of how does one save a culture from itself. This is a question we have not collectively dealt with as we continue to entangle ourselves more and more in the destructive aspects of this culture that we’re partly responsible for creating. Somewhere along the line, Emancipation, understood as “freedom” – and I’ll come back to that later – was hijacked to become something that was tolerant of mediocrity, the spurning of ambition, industriousness and intellectual pursuits. Small wonder some people say “dey should bring back de white man” because we’ve made a mess of our Independence (and our Emancipation). I don’t necessarily subscribe to such a self-loathing sentiment but much of what we’re doing to ourselves and our space certainly gives credence to it. Continue reading ‘Emancipate Yourself from … Yourself’
I am writing this column knowing that it will not be read by the target audience—young, black and ‘er…unschooled men.
Few if any in this group read anything, least of all newspapers. If they pick up an Express, it would be to watch a photograph of some dead “bredren”, felled by bullets from police or criminal, same difference, and to wonder if they, upon meeting a similar fate, would make a pretty corpse. Continue reading ‘Architects of our own demise’
Former head of the public service, Reginald Dumas, is taking issue with a claim by the secretary general of the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha, Satnarayan Maharaj, that generations of People’s National Movement (PNM) supporters were planted in the public service to prevent any non-PNM government from getting a second term. Maharaj made the claim during an Indian Arrival Day function hosted by the Maha Sabha in Debe on Friday. Continue reading ‘Sat’s public servants comment upsets Dumas’
As we grapple with divisive elements in the society that seem to thrive on fomenting mistrust between our two main ethnic groups, I take comfort in the fact that for the vast majority of our people, especially the young, racialism and racism have little space in Trinidad and Tobago. Continue reading ‘Brotherhood that Transcends Race’
I know there are many people in the country who think that Keith Rowley is too black to be Prime Minister. I didn’t need Fitzgerald Hinds to tell me that, although his charge that such sentiment emanates from the bowels of the PNM, from important persons in the party, did surprise me somewhat.
I don’t know why we bury our heads in the sand when the issue of colour prejudice, which is often linked to race prejudice, rears its ugly head in the society. It has always been there, and, I imagine, it always will be. Most people of lighter or whiter complexion, whatever their ethnicity, believe they are superior to others who are dark-skinned, or worse, black. Continue reading ‘Judge not by colour’
No one, again with the exception of the extinct Carib people, and perhaps the Spanish people can claim to be ‘natives’ of the island. All peoples were newcomers to Trinidad, and all were immigrants. The immigrant nature of the society of Trinidad needs to be recognized for what it was and what it is. (537)
GeradTikasingh, Trinidad During the 19th Century
Gerad Tikasingh has written an interesting book, Trinidad During the 19th Century: The Indian Experience, an extension of his doctoral thesis, “The Establishment of Indians in Trinidad, 1870,” that he completed at UWI, St Augustine, Trinidad in 1973. Although his book is filled with facts, it is marred by an ideological orientation (one may say Indo-centric perspective) and a negative rendering of the African experience in the country. This book continues an argument made by other Indo-Caribbean scholars that suggests that the dominance of an Afro-centric ethos (which Tikasingh calls a “black bias”) has “tended to downplay, if not obscure the parallel Indo-Caribbean experience of indentureship and its contributions to Guyanese and Trinidadian culture in particular” (see Frank Birbalsingh, Indo Caribbean Resistance, 1993).