The Limitations of Multiculturalism – Part III

By Selwyn R. Cudjoe
March 02, 2011

Part IPart II – Part III

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeAny society that aspires to be a cohesive national entity must be willing to accept all of its history; not just parts of it. And herein lies a problem that no multiculturalism in Trindiad and Tobago can fix: that is, a proper estimation and acceptance of Dr. Eric Williams’ role in our national development. It is precisely the inability of most of our Indian population to accept the totality of our history and the heterogeneous nature of our origins that prevent them from acknowledging Dr. Williams’ status as the father of our nation.

Dr. Williams is considered the father of our nation because he was the leader of the nation when it was founded. We may question aspects of his stewardship. We cannot contest the incontestable fact that he was there at the beginning and led us during the first thirty years of our existence: from colonial status, to independence, to republicanism. It was so for George Washington as it was for Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru. They are the fathers of their respective nations not because they are white or Indian but because they were there at the crucial moment when their societies were born and were responsible for nurturing their society at the fist formative moments of their birth.

In seeking to put in place multiculturalism as a national cultural policy we must also learn our history anew and accept that all aspects of the society belong to all of us, her children. In doing so we must take a serious look at how our society was made, the contributions that each group made toward its construction; and what constitutes the essence of our nation. We would then know what is distinctive about our nation; which would help us know what we need to cherish and what we need to discard. Such a course of action depends on serious scholars who see their scholarly and national task to tell our history as it is.

The prime minister has intimated that she wishes to have comparative religions taught in schools and that is a good move. But before we talk comparison, would it not be better to teach the three or four religions that we know-to all of our students-and acquaint all of our citizens with the cultural vocabularies of our various peoples. In this context I suggest that all students should be conversant with Islam; Hinduism; Christianity; and traditional African religion. These religions should be taught in all our schools, be they Catholic, Anglican, Muslim, or Hindu schools. I do not think a Trinidadian or a Tobagonian can call herself educated (as opposed to being skilled) if she does not know what the ramleelas; hosea; gyap; shango; orisas; and some of the major celebrations are. No Trinbagonian should be unacquainted with the cultural practices of all the major cultural groups.

We should also stop the bad habit of thinking that all the initiatives of a former government are bad. For the past seven years or so, I was a member of the prime minister’s cabinet-appointed Committee on Race matters. We met monthly to discuss innumerable conflicts that affect racial relations in this community, and while meeting the committee members had the opportunity of getting to know the religions and cultures represented there. During those meetings I interacted with Sat Maraj, Deoienarinanan Sharma and Yacoub Ali. I came out of those meetings embracing all the members of the committee, but I established a particularly warm relationship with Sat whom I am now proud to call a friend. Sat still has his concerns and I still have mine. However, we are able to come together in a way that allows us to disagree vehemently with one another and yet remain friends. Such discussion allows citizens to see that persons with strongly differing ideas can still love and respect each other.

The Committee erred in not making its deliberations public.

Any cultural policy must speak about the expansion of our civilization and our humanity as a people. We cannot think about culture unless we talk about how we empower people in our communities. In moving from colonialism to independence we did not empower our communities and build on the social and cultural capital they had accumulated over the centuries. It is true that Dr. Williams started the Better Village Programme to mobilize the various talents in the community and to preserve elements of our Trinidad and Tobago culture. To a large extent it was successful. However, any cultural program that’s worth its salt must emphasize the three ls: the development of local libraries; the development of local culture; and the writing of local histories (that is, the history of our villages and of the people who made them what they are). The communities must be the vortex around which all our cultural aspirations revolve.

In a recent article in the London Independent (January 23, 2011), Tim Lott wrote that libraries remain “a beacon of civilization, a mark of what we [the British] stand for.” We may have moved from reading the hard copies of books to the reading of books on our Kindles and iPads. However, if we are to lift our cultural standards, create a mutually tolerant and accepting society that appreciates the gift our multi-cultures and religions bring to the storehouse of our nation; if we are to survive as a nation, then we must arm our nation and our communities with information and knowledge that allows them to understand the power within themselves and the equally powerful truth that we have been made in the bowels of Trinidad and Tobago rather than somewhere else.

The problem of promulgating multiculturalism as a national cultural policy is that it seeks to impose a model of behavior that we, as a society, have worked through over a century and a half ago and sends us back to scripts we discarded many moons ago. What Canada and Australia do is inapplicable in that we have already worked out a modus operandi for existing in our small country. The trend and experience have been to live and work together in spite of our differences.

The multiculturalism as proposed by the present government takes us back to a point that we have passed. It is a policy that emphasizes our differences rather than our commonalities. It does not tell us how to consolidate our nationness, concretize our national identity; and make us proud to be Trinidadians and Tobagonians. Nowhere in their policy-and there is not much policy one can talk about-does it say who provides for the soul of the nation; how we consolidate our cultural and social achievements; and how to construct a more perfect union and a truly integrated Trinidad and Tobago.

It is for all of these reasons that I reject multiculturalism as the national cultural policy of Trinidad and Tobago.

Part IPart II – Part III

15 thoughts on “The Limitations of Multiculturalism – Part III”

  1. Pretty good article from the doc. But the effects of globalization, political expediency, amongst other factors dictate a multi-cultural approach to culture. And the reality is that you cannot fund one program and not fund the other. Although the best approach would be for the government to stay out of the funding process all together. But we know that is not possible…

  2. I agree a pretty good article for Mr. Cudjoe. Multiculturalism, I am coming to understand, is a way of life not a national culture(whatever a culture is). I also agree that everyone should know about the different religions and what they stand for but only as a way of understanding that how vast and complex the ideology is and a way of knowing your neighbour in the local and global context.
    Eric Williams moved the ball over some territory but that does not mean that other leaders during and to the present have not also moved the ball over territory. Some might have liked the territory Eric Williams covered and other might not. Similarly for the leaders and players since his time to the present. Lets appreciate them all and not take away from some because they have not gone in the direction ‘we’ would have liked.

  3. In T&T, as in many other countries caught in the rising tide of crime, the debate about multiculturalism occurs simultaneously with other debates, for example, that on Capital Punishment.

    Both are political considerations at defining control. In this instance, one is about defining cultural control; and the other aboutdefining judicial control.

    Since both are ultimately related across a political spectrum at maximising those au courant in power, and minimalising those without it, or sans humanite, any analysis of either is applicable to outcomes for the other.

    Judicial Murder, Capital Punishment, Hanging, Execution, Stoning, Quartering, Scapegoating and Exiling, are all inherent to societies from the birth of humanity, and humanity’s desire, yea, human need for ensuring order and avoiding chaos.

    In short, the judicial killing of a human being to ensure order, and social peace therefrom is the cornerstone of all human civilization, religion, and culture.

    Therefore, in times past and even some fairly recent and current, taking human life, including by priestly sacrifice, was to ensure the continuance of social order and social certainty.

    While today’s T&T debate is ostensibly about implementing hanging for anyone accused and convicted for unjustly and unofficially taking of another human’s life, it also falls some where on the spectrum of this age-old desire by those, either a majority or with the power to implement it, to ensure social stability. Therefore, an eye for an eye, a life for a life was the basis for law and order.

    Of course, as history and as experience so clearly show, this power of life and death, wielded by societies can be changed to exclude and/or include other perceived possibilities of activities considered as threats against the social order.

    Thus, there was a time in T&T when Woodford Square was used, as the present Minister of Justice recommended, as the main place of public executions. Here it was, during the centuries preceding Emancipation, that enslaved Africans fleeing plantations captured were summarily hung for theft. Since it was challenging to flee and not simultaneously carry one’s body along; a body that was the “property” of the slave-owner, one could understandably be accused of thievery, and legally hung therefrom.

    Interestingly, no Indian was ever hung in Woodford Square for any crime, especially not for such forms of “thievery”.
    In recent times, in countries like the US, Black people were hung for simple infractions: walking on the wrong side of the street; drinking at the wrong water fountain; BBAH (being black and human)…

    In 19th Century USA, Black men were lynched for “looking” at a white woman. In fact, the 20th Century Civil Rights Movement began from the lynching of Emmett Till, a 14 year old boy thus accused who was beaten, his eyes gouged out, then shot in the head.

    Between 1901 and 1988, there was only one year when there was not a recorded instance in the US of such reasoned forms of lynchings.

    In earlier societies, anyone outside of the social order, for example “witches, homosexuals, and outsiders and aliens” could be legally drowned, burnt at the stake or on “faggots” of wood, be “drawn and quartered” or their limbs ripped apart tied against opposing horses.

    Today, “guilty” individuals, especially unmarried women who “consort” with men outside of marriage could legally die from “honour killings”. Others can be and are killed for “blasphemy”. Last week, a Christian Minister in the Pakistani Government was assassinated for opposing a Moslem law against “blasphemy” against the Prophet.

    Reasons for judicial killings can also, according to changing social needs for law and order either be decreased and/or increased. In mainland China, one can be executed by firing squad for “corruption”. In India, self-immolation by a widow, if not as widespread as before, is still an occurrence under religious zealotry.

    While on the issue of religion–something Dr. Cudjoe, in my opinion unwisely advocates should be taught in public schools–all religions have endorsed at some time or the other the judicial taking of human life. As a Hebrew, I endorse the Holy Bible, especially since it is the one unlike all others, including the Maya Holy Books: the Popul Vuh and Chilam Balam, that is capable of self-criticism.

    Thus, while in the Old Testament, Moses advocated an “eye for an eye” type of legality; Yeshua Hamaschia (Jesus) in the New Testament advocated “turning the other cheek). In fact, in the Old Testament, Prophets like Jeremiah and Isaiah also saw the pursuit of justice as better than that for revenge.

    Ironically, while Yeshua lived most of His life opposed to and outside of the judicial violence against blasphemers, He was killed by it, and on the very Cross reminded his murderers and even us today that taking human life, judicial and otherwise, at best we still ‘do not know wnat we do’.

    Thus, by His example, the next step up for humanity out of official tyranny was the higher human desire for justice. In this sense, historically, quasi-justice is defined by those in power while unequivocal justice is defined by the vulnerable and the relatively powerless. Thus, the desire for “law and order” can be disguised as a pursuit for “justice”.

    Where will it all end? If not at the end of a rifle, in a blaze, or at the end of a rope, where? Especially since those with the power to do so have very rarely shown a disposition to reduce reasons for killing the vulnerable while simultaneously increasing it for the impregnable.

    Therefore, will T&T include, as a condition to swing in Woodford Square, anyone caught money-laundering the wealth acquired from dealing in drugs?

    Finally, the pursuit of multi-culturalism, as also occurred in other countries, for example Canada’s ‘salad-mix’ versus America’s ‘melting-pot’, marketed by and in the interests of those in power, and ultimately redound to the further disadvantaging of the powerless by the powerful.

    Where the issue of “race” seasons the mix, toxic-culture and judicial control can play mas disguised as multi-culture, and as law and order.

  4. No they will not include the crimes that are committed by their kind. The motive behind the zeal for Capital Punishment does not arise from a moral and ethical disgust with crime. It arrives with a cultural bent that salivates over any opportunity to mete out unequal justice when the target is black. It is what it is, and we should stop expecting water from a gourd filled with vinegar.

    1. r u serious, if you are what a shame. ‘target the black”

      how dare you make such an allegation, I love african people and I know of many how live in harmony with indians, chinese , syrians, etc.

      you need to check yourself before you reck yourself

      I dont care what people say, but trinidad and its citizens will always be the most tolerant nation.

      racism sucks !

  5. The term “multiculturalism” has not been carefully defined in a political or sociological sense. In any case, those pushing for it here in T&T are pushing a different, hidden agenda. So the debate starts out a lie.

    So let’s dispense with the false debate, and deal with the real issue. Neverdirty is right that ultimately the debate is about control — political and cultural. In that sense, it is not a debate at all, but a struggle. If the Afro-Creole wins, all have a place, equal or not. If the Indo wins, it is winner take all.

    In the former case, the cultural imperative at work is that of fair play, under which the Afro-Creole will bend over backward to make room for the stranger. That was the cultural motive force behind Eric Williams’ “Mother Trinidad and Tobago” policy formulation. Come to think of it, it is the same motive force behind Mandela’s “non-racial democracy” formulation in the case of South Africa.

    In the latter case, the cultural imperative at work is that of help your brother when you are in a position to do so. Thus the Indo cultural imperative lives out an ethos of nepotism, not out of some self-admitted unfairness, but rather the opposite, namely a sense of love and charity, but toward one’s own.

    It is an inherently tribal dynamic. Africans are not immune, for it bedevils African countries where the departing colonial masters, with mischief aforethought, drew boundaries calculated to engender decades of tribal conflict. It is such tribal conflict that has bedeviled Nigeria, as Hausa struggle with Yoruba struggle with Ibo. Kenya is also affected, as are Rwanda, Burundi, Congo, Uganda, etc. It need hardly be mentioned that where there is such internal division, the erstwhile masters may still rule. And indeed while the African mind remains divided and distracted, the African mine remains open to plunder, as it was during the period of overt colonialism.

    In the case of Trinidad and Tobago, the irony is that it is the Afro-creole who is non-tribal, although relentlessly accused of so being. Eric Williams’ appeal was to a non-racial, non-tribal democracy. This appeal resonated with denizens of the urban areas, but was firmly rejected by the Indo elements who had become rooted in the plantation areas to which they had been transplanted. They had never lost their cultural attachments to mother India, and saw nothing in the deculturated Afro-creole to which they could attach. Nor did they have any sympathy for the latter’s struggle against oppression to join with them. Hence, in T&T, the story since independence has been a tribal struggle between Afro and Indo for the spoils of the state. Both espouse fairness and inclusion. But in the case of the Afro-Creole, they mean it, while in the case of the Indo, lip service is paid, but the reality is bold-faced racial discrimination. That is just the reality.

    What does Yahweh dictate? As I’ve elsewhere argued, the Afro-Creole is in fact Israelite, as satisfying all the curses prophesied in scripture that would come upon Israel for disobedience to the Law of the Holy Covenant, most especially Deuteronomy 28:68:

    “And Yahweh shall bring thee into Egypt again with ships, by the way whereof I spake unto thee, Thou shalt see it no more again: and there ye shall be sold unto your enemies for bondmen and bondwomen, and no man shall buy you.”

    This prophesied our enslavement under the trans-Atlantic slave trade into chattel slavery. As Israelites, we are to return unto Yahweh in the latter day, and are indeed prophesied to rule the world under David The Messiah:

    Ezekiel 34:24: “And I Yahweh will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them; I Yahweh have spoken it.”

    Returning unto Yahweh means simply obeying his Law, as laid down through the prophet Moses.

    The question is what does Yahweh require of his people in the treatment of the stranger?

    1) First, the stranger that walked with Israel was never to be oppressed:

    Exodus 22:21: “Thou shalt neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.”

    Knowingly or unknowingly Eric Williams was obedient to this law. Therefore the Indian benefited equally with the Afro-Creole from PNM policy of free secondary education, as one example. Kamla Persad is one such beneficiary.

    2) But second, the Israelite was never to put a stranger on the throne:

    Deuteronomy 17:15: “… thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother.”

    Here the Afro-Creole (Israelite) has failed to heed the Law, and considers it a point of honor to not engage in tribal voting. Weak-minded Afro-Creoles have been persuaded that to vote PNM is to vote race and is a bad thing. The Indo has no such scruple, and seems to escape moral condemnation. This is the point of Cro-Cro’s calypso, I think.

    Be that as it may, the precept laid down by Yahweh is clear. You do not oppress the “other” that is living among you, but neither do you hand over the reins of power to him. And any ideology that urges such a result is a snare to be avoided.

    At bottom, this was the issue in Fiji when the Indo assumed control, an outcome permitted under the rules of democracy. The native Fijian resisted, and legitimately so in my opinion.

    The issue is not race, nor is it ideology. Rather it is legitimacy. Yahweh created the races and nationalities. And his Law requires that each set its own “kings” to rule over them. Israel should have Israelite kings. India should have their own rule over them. Africans likewise. It is for that reason that colonialism was fundamentally an illegitimate enterprise. And slavery likewise.

    That is why culture is important. For it is the culture of the ruled that provides at least one obvious marker to establish the legitimacy of the ruler. There is only an injunction by Yahweh against oppression of the stranger. Where a “recalcitrant minority” mounts a political challenge, it will be seen at some primal level as illegitimate. We can expect that the illegitimate challenger will seek legitimacy by mounting a challenge in the cultural sphere. The attempt will be to shift the cultural center of gravity of the society over time, indeed ultimately to redefine the cultural norm. Some of this happens naturally, merely by contact, and is unobjectionable. Every cultural group in T&T has contributed in this way, and enriched the mix thereby. That is not the issue here. Rather, there is a strategy being pursued to dislodge the dominant culture politically, and to shore that up by shifting the cultural centre of gravity in favour of the usurping group, all the while claiming that it is discrimination against the usurper to resist this strategy.

    That is what, in my opinion, this talk of “multi-culturalism” in the T&T context is about.

    The “mother T&T” policy called for by PNM after independence did not call for cultural discrimination against the Indo, rather for mother T&T *not* to discriminate amongst her children, and for every group, not to reject their cultural underpinnings, but to hearken to mother T&T and the unique (predominantly Afro-Creole to be sure) culture that was forged here prior to Indian arrival.

    Yahweh in his wisdom has established rules of order. It is a mistake to misconstrue a rule of order as a rule of wrongful discrimination. You can’t come to Britain as an immigrant and claim discrimination because you can’t become Queen. You shouldn’t come to T&T, have the fat of the land be made accessible to you, ride on the back of the Afro-Creole who fought all the battles of liberation that needed to be fought, and claim discrimination because the dominant culture is not the one that you brought from an ancestral land. No. I remember visiting Ghana and coming to find out that among the Akan people, it was a law by custom that the king of the Akan nation, which comprised 12 tribes, was always whoever was the king of the Ashanti, the first of the 12 tribes. In similar manner, the house of Israel comprises 12 tribes, and Yahweh established the covenant that it is the seed of David, of the tribe of Judah, that will rule. As a Benjamite, I cannot claim discrimination because I am neither of the seed of Judah, nor David. It is a rule of order. It is a way to avoid strife and contention.

    Democracy as a (false) ideology invites such contention and associated strife. For the moment, that is the system in place in T&T. By all means contend for power. Let every group act as wisdom seems to them to indicate. But it is fundamentally destabilizing of the peace and good order of the society when a tactic of political struggle is to advance a Big Lie of pervasive cultural discrimination against the Indo by the dominant Afro-Creole society, the better to mount a political takeover. This was (apparently successfully) resisted in Fiji, and will be resisted in T&T. Resistance may of course take many forms.

    I am not advocating any particular course, except obedience to Yahweh’s Law. As scattered Israelites, the Afro-Creole is well advised to return unto Yahweh. The Indo is advised not to set himself up as an oppressive adversary to the Afro-Creole, for prophecy is clear as to what fate awaits those:

    Isaiah 49:23: “And kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers: they shall bow down to thee with their face toward the earth, and lick up the dust of thy feet; and thou shalt know that I am Yahweh: for they shall not be ashamed that wait for me.”

    and not forgetting:

    Genesis 12:3: “And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”

    In the same vein, Cudjoe’s suggestion that we learn each other’s religions seems good, and is certainly well intentioned and comes from a commendable place in a warm and generous heart, but we, the Afro-Creole, are in fact scattered Israelites, and Yahweh requires something different. We are scattered and despoiled precisely because we were disobedient. What we need to do is to return unto Yahweh, and to learn and do his Law. If we submit to that Law, we will both, do well by all strangers in our midst, and, not fall prey to the guile and wiles of any group that sets itself up unwisely as an adversary. Selah.

    1. And Yahweh has pressed us sore.

      Today, without any need to romanticise her in any way, when I think especiaally of my grandmother, a woman who along with other Black women–two generations removed from enslavement, during which their virginity and offspring and homes belonged not to themselves but to whoever slave-owner looked on them–prayed for two possibilities.

      One was that after death, she would see Shiloh in Peace, and that He would lift up His countenence upon her in Grace. Selah.

      She also hoped that at least once in this life, bereft of comforts yet gloriously infused with hope, that she could have gone into a voting booth and remove the shadow of Buckymassa forever.

      She told us stories how, in the first decades in the 20th Century before and after the “Great War” 1914-1918 how pregnancy rates for Black women ended with 50% deaths for the women and their babies.

      This number was even higher adding in those mothers and children who from malnutrition and malaria were cut off early.

      As a local “suffragette” her burning desire was to vote–I recall as a lad born in Laventille and reared to manhood in Morvant, how animated were her eyes and voice–and voting, not only have the right to elect whom she preferred, but also because that right to vote was synonymous with their right to live.

      I pray that her first desire is attained, for her second, she never had, having died decades before T&T achieved Universal Adult Suffrage.

      Without putting it this way, her attitude nonethelesss was that as Black people (Negroes then) we had no apologies to make to anyone; that we had come, and have come by our sentiments, legitimately, and that no one could gainsay us, our heritage and offspring!

      Recalling her, my mother and these indomitable Black women, who illiterate, toiling in the kitchens of whites and expatriates or digging for the yams and the yampie, gave us the desire for learning, for education, and keeping faith with our family’s honour, makes me, a grown, old man weep, literally, for these women, and even more for our collective offspring today.

      Especially in places as Morvant-Laventille; a place I refer to as Morvant-Nazareth (as the Nathaniels of today continue to ask: can anything good come out of Nazareth?)
      now with the right to vote, it is exercised as if it came cheaply, without effort, without struggle, without blood.

      In fact, my father was, as a Butlerite activist, once shot in the leg by the British. He died, 60 years later with fragments still lodged in his leg. All he wanted, as a Trini of African and Irish extraction, was the right to live in an independent country and nation.

      Today, how many Black youth know, or even care about what their foreparents went through?

      As CroCro would say, Blackman is blackman worst enemy.

      Yahweh presses us sore.

      Derided, confused, whored and whorish, dependent, marginalised, criminalized, our men expendable and our women approachable, even though our valient parents didn’t eat the sour fruit, yet are our children’s teeth set on edge.

      Like Job, while I know that my Redeemer lives, and at a latter day I shall see Him in my own flesh and not as another, yet, looking at Blackman conditions wherever he is found, be it on the continent, or outside in the Diaspora: in the US, in India where the largest numbers 200 million, outside of Africa live, that for going after false gods, the prophesies are indeed true.

      Yahweh presses us sore, Beta Israel, Beta Israel, YAHWEH PRESSES US SORE!!

      1. Don’t forget Yahweh’s lovingkindness, his mercy, and perfect justice. For sure he promises us, the Israelite Afro-Creole, redemption, despite the iniquity of our forefathers, and our own iniquity.

        Recall also the scripture at Isaiah 49:23, cited in a previous post, which promises that those who make of us a spoil will be reduced to licking up the dust of our feet. There is also:

        Zechariah 8:23: “Thus saith Yahweh of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men … even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is [an Israelite], saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.”

        Christianity as a matter of creed and ideology violates the first five of the ten commandments. It is precisely the violation of the Law that got us kicked out of the Holy Land and scattered to the four corners of the earth. Nevertheless the Xtianity of the gentiles served the purpose of keeping the true Word of Yahweh close to hand for all of Yahweh’s children scattered to the four corners. But it requires diligent study (and a commitment to Truth wherever it leads) to peel back the layers of misinformation, wrong thought and wrong knowledge wrought by Xtianity.

        How does one begin to tell a Xtian that all they think they know is wrong? A clue is to be found at:

        Deuteronomy 13:1-3: “1If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, 2And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; 3Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for Yahweh your God proveth you, to know whether ye love Yahweh your God with all your heart and with all your soul.”

        At any rate, we are now in the end-time, and all is being revealed. We are to return to the Law of Moses, and it is not a matter of 36,000 Xtian denominations from which we may choose as a matter of personal taste:

        Malachi 4:4: “Remember ye the *law of Moses* (emphasis added) my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments…”

        In all of this, the Afro-Creole Israelite is to understand clearly that his is a set-apart or holy Covenant to which he is bound whether he knows it or not, and likes it or not. Xtianity by creed and ideology is opposed to this, because it is catholic, meaning universal, the opposite of set-apart or holy.

        Xtianity, of whatever denomination, advances a creed of universality for Yahweh’s set-apart covenant. This is an oxymoron. At its base lies the idea that the very thought of a holy Covenant with a chosen people must imply that the non-Israelite (gentile) is being discriminated against. That is wrong thought.

        It is a rule of order, not discrimination. Aaron and Miriam were rebuked by Yahweh for murmuring against Moses don’t forget. That Yahweh has a chosen people does not mean that he rejects all other peoples, any more than it meant he rejected Aaron and Miriam because Moses was the one chosen to lead.

        There is always some nation that Yahweh raises up to be pre-eminent, and some leader likewise. Had we as a people been obedient to the Law, we would have been that pre-eminent nation already. It was our failure in that regard that led to Yahweh setting up the four kingdoms of the gentiles, likened to “beasts” (Daniel 7) sent forth to devour us. The fourth kingdom of the gentiles is now coming to a close (though its New World Order manifestation seems for the moment to be waxing ever stronger) after which it is the seedline of Israel that will rule in peace and justice.

        The forces playing out in sweet T&T actually constitute a prophetic passion play, with momentous import for the Indo in T&T, though I doubt any of them realize it, not even the pundits. Some of them may actually themselves be Israelite (we were scattered to the four corners after all).

        But what happens to them prophetically will hinge on whether and how they set themselves up as an adversary to the Afro-Creole Israelite. Requiting evil for good will hurt them far more in the end than any hurt they inflict on the Afro-Creole. Ironically, pressing for racial advantage will not be to their ultimate benefit.

  6. I don’t think that one pushes for multiculturalism. Multiculturalism is something that happens because many people exist in a defined space. Defining it and trying to work out its limitations is another real story. If we don’t want it then what?? We move to a homogeneous society?? Where is that??
    We go to the corner and have a roti – that is part of a peoples culture that has become T&T. We have bake and salt fish or shark – that is part of peoples culture that has become T&T. The list is endless so lets not deny it. Some would go further and others would not. But the limits and limitations of addressing the cultural norms of T&T is not an exercise in racism. And anyone that believes that one of the major races should adopt its culture over all the others – including the Chinese, Arab, Caucasian – is going to try to dominate in any space.

    1. The Afro-Creole culture is for the time being still the dominant culture of T&T.

      Note carefully that to dominate is not the same as to oppress. Dominance of one does not imply oppression of the other. For example, a judge should dominate his court, but his mandate is to dispense justice, not oppression. Likewise, a prime minister should dominate her cabinet, otherwise we have weak government, and poor governance. Nowadays, it may be politically incorrect to say so, but another example would be that a husband should dominate his wife, but where domination changes to oppression is when you go from a peaceful, stable household to one of unhappiness and trouble.

      No one argues against the common-place multi-culturalism of which you speak. T&T culture is as rich as it is because many cultures have contributed to the mix. No Trini in his right mind will rail against roti and doubles, or against calalloo, bake and buljol. And the culture policy of the PNM — Eric Williams’ “Mother T&T” formulation — did not require homogenization.

      It did however require that we give allegiance to Mother T&T, not to Mother Africa, Mother India, Mother China, or any other ancestral homeland. It did not require that we deny our respective ancestral homelands, but rather that we affirm the new one to which we had arrived or had been brought. Nobody was required to stop wearing orni and hijab. Nobody was forced to play pan and jab molassie. If you had some ancestral recipes to bring to the national table, we all could agree with one voice, “Bring it!”.

      No one was oppressed under PNM rule, and it is a slander to say so. And no late-comer to a society may have a claim of grievance based on opposition to the dominant culture into which it was accepted.

      Multi-culturalism is put forward as though needed to redress a non-existent wrong. The true agenda is to advance a new oppression, but to conceal it skillfully while it is brought up into position. It is also to grab unmerited resources from the state in the name of cultural equity. In this warped view, it is equitable (moreover redressing a wrong!) to give the same $2 million prize to a steel orchestra of 120 members, as to a single contestant singing chutney.

      That is one small example of the theft that is going on in broad daylight. It is hardly objected to, in part because T&T is, was, and always has been “multi-cultural” in the everyday sense of the term, and no one in T&T would argue for “homogenization” as policy. So with these false opposites defining the debate, one is sure at the very least to disarm the opponent, and thereby to neutralize what might otherwise be effective opposition to the real program being advanced.

      “Multi-culturalism” is merely a piece on a chessboard.

      The real debate is not a debate at all, but a struggle for dominance. For the most part, the Afro-Creole doesn’t even know he is in a fight. Some may be waking up, and staring in the face nothing less than a gathering Hindu oppression — not mere dominance — for that is part and parcel of the Hindu caste system.

      By contrast, Afro-Creole cultural dominance may be jealous of its position, but it provides welcome space to all. The choice at bottom for T&T society is Afro-Creole dominance vs Indo oppression.

      Finally, let me say that I am tasked to warn (Ezekiel 33:9). Those who set themselves up as oppressors over the Israelite (Afro-Creole) will pay a heavy price. Those who curse us will be cursed, and those who bless us will be blessed (Genesis 12:3).

      1. A peoples’ culture can be defined as anything they do, have, and think that is peculiar to them.

        The term, multi-culturalism is by contrast, one of those 20th Century social-science, flexible concepts that could be twisted into whatever those in power wishes it be, and mean.

        Among their constants is to consider it an appropriate approach in governance wherever a conglomerate of people of differing races, languages, religious outlooks, festivals, historic myths, etc., live.

        One of the lies foisted on the public by those in power: economic, judicial, military on the unsuspecting public is to claim that every culture found therein exists as an equal among equals.

        While equality, for example, ‘here every creed and race finds an equal place’ is a noble ideal, it is more ideal than realistic.

        Looked at another way, a people’s culture is a narrative, a story sometimes coherent sometimes not, about who they are, who they think they are, and their response to who others think they are.

        Therefore, the term, ‘multi-cultural’ is synonymous with ‘multi-narrative’. That is, every community has its own narrative; some from a narrative of dominance, for example, whites; and others from a of struggle and oppression.

        These narratives, or meta-narratives are contained in their songs, for example. That is why the ‘Negro Spiritual’ is peculiar exclusively to Black people and their sojourn under enslavement.

        For those who say, get over it, such statements are born of pure ignorance and convenient dismissal. This is oft said to Black people, and by other Black people, too: ‘Slavery is passed, get on with life’, and while there is a kernel of realism in this, yet the fact is that history is never dead, nor passed.

        In fact, the past is not itself, past. That is why Indians celebrate Indian arrival, and Jews remember the Holocaust.

        Thus, to the extent that a community has power it is the extent to which its narrative is legitimate.

        In T&T, the narratives of the Amerindian nations were brutally replaced by the Europeans through genocide, enslavement, and ethnocide.

        Enter the Africans.

        The narrative of enslaved Africans, in the personalities of people like Toussaint, Cudjoe, Nanny changed the European narrative to an Afro-Creole (as Yoruba Israelite best defines them) narrative.

        In short, Black people in this hemisphere, unlike Indians, Chinese, Syrians and others, captured the popular imagination and set the cultural parameters, even for those with military and economic power.

        Enter the Indians.

        They, following the iniquitous Gladstone Letter four scarce years after Emancipation, was the vehicle by which Europeans, in particular the British introduced a fifth column into the Caribbean in their battle for dominant narrative with the Blacks.

        The British, Perfidious Albion, did the same thing in Ireland under fascists like Cromwell who, along with his scorched-earth policies in which he destroyed even beehives there, introduced Protestant Scots to combat the Catholic Irish and occupy their lands.

        The series of devastating Irish famines and Irish dispersoin across the globe came from these criminal British strategies.

        For their own narrative, Indian indentureship, while not the crime slavery was, was no picnic. In addition, no Indian individual has the stature for anti-oppression struggle in this heemisphere as have Black freedom fighters.

        Today, in T&T, the cultural dominance cum narrative legitimacy of a people is determined by control, in particular of the media: print, electronic et al.

        Theerore, were one to look at the T&T Parliamentary TV channel program on the history of T&T, one could conclude that Black people, unlike whites and Indians, played no role in the development and independence of the country.

        In addition, as our father used to say, and I paraphrase, ‘equality of the races will arrive when a Black man, in the same way Indians, Chinese and others do in Black neighbourhoods, can set up shop in their neighbourhoods and do so safely and successfully’.

        So, having an equal place is not possible if one race or culture or narrative owns radio stations, controls newspapers, employment opportunities, cultural narratives and the like.

        In fact, not only is the narrative of Black Trinis being de-legitimized, but even parts of their culture or narrative is being adopted, and co-opted by others once hostile to these parts of Black culture.

        Thus, steel-pan, calypso and these manifestations of the narratives telling the story of who Black people are and from where they’ve come are now generalised, especially where these now create immense sums of wealth and opportunities for prestige.

        By these actions are the Black populations diminished, and not only in their narratives, but also in their numbers in the population. This numerical diminishing of Blacks comes from several areas.

        One is the criminally absurd statistic that the major cause of death among Black youth is homicide. Another is the number of Black women whose wombs have been tied against their wishes by doctors–I have a sister-in-law who suffered from this.

        By mid-century the Black presence in T&T might resemble that of the Black presence, or the lack of it, in Argentina where once there were thriving Black populations, now disappeaared from a variety of circumstances, mostly criminal.

        Thus, if one were to define Black culture in T&T, it is one that is self-destructive, defensive, apologetic, and incoherent, and more than likely, on its way to being marginalised into non-existence.

      2. “The real debate is not a debate at all, but a struggle for dominance. For the most part, the Afro-Creole doesn’t even know he is in a fight.”

        What is worse than being in a fight?

        Not knowing you’re in one.

        1. In Argentina, as in Australia, Black populations once dominant in numbers declined from a variety of policies, practices and occurrences including miscegenation, genocide, diseases and warfare.

          In Argentina, where these populations were more than 50%, today they are less than 1.8%.

          In fact, one president, Domingo Sarmentino (1848) the height of Indian indentureship, went into the Argentine Chamber of deputies and boasted that Argentina was now a happy place with no guachos, blacks nor poor.

  7. That is not an allegation it is fact. Whether you are T&T, Guyana or Fiji, When Indians get into power the leadership revert to a common demoninator, and that is target the blacks. May by doing this they hope to vicariously rise into Bramhin status. Whatever the impetus,the result is the same.

    There are a lot of Sat Maharaj’s in T&T, and about the only thing the are tolerant of is cultural prejudice. It seeps from every pore on their body.

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