Making a Truce with Reality

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
July 21, 2020

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeI have been following the “the polytricks” taking place in Guyana, a land that “has been a torn and tortured terrain with divisive seeds sown in the colonial waters” as Sir Hilary Beckles described it (Express, July 13.) It’s not an overreach to say we are witnessing a replay of a traumatic encounter that took place years ago.

In 1970 Forbes Burnham declared Guyana a Co-operative Republic. I visited Guyana in 1972, the year in which the first Carifesta and the Non-Aligned Nations’ conference took place under the aegis of Comrade-Leader Burnham. It was a new and exciting time.

I first met Martin Carter, author of the Poems of Resistance (which included his famous poem “I Come from the Nigger Yard”) and A. J. Seymour, editor of Kyk-Over-Al, one of the pioneering literary magazines of the Anglophone Caribbean in Georgetown. I will never forget my astonishment at seeing a hand-written letter that I. A. Richards, a major English literary critic, had written to Seymour.

That was a big deal. I had been accepted to Cornell University’s English Department to do my doctorate on literary theory. Years later, I welcomed Cheddi Jagan, Burnham’s colleague of an earlier time, to speak at Harvard University where I was an assistant professor. I visited Jagan many times thereafter.

I also became friendly with Wilson Harris who spent two weeks at my residence in Wellesley as he worked on a new version of History, Fable and Myth in the Caribbean and Guianas (1995) to which I wrote an introduction. I also visited Harris at his Chelmsford residence in Essex, England, where we enjoyed many hospitable afternoons.

Harris was of mixed African, Scottish, Amerindian and possible East Indian origins. He was one of the Caribbean’s best speculative, literary and cultural minds. For fifteen years, he explored Guyana’s interior as a surveyor where he encountered “the enigmatic silences of remnant Amerindian cultures and the haunting landscapes of the rainforests” (London Guardian, March 9, 2018).

In 1942 he joined a government surveying expedition into the Cuyuni River region in Guyana, which he said was “a revelation to me. Multitudinous forests I had never seen before, the whisper or sigh of a tree with a tone or rhythm I had never known.” Harris always emphasized the intimate connection between the land (nature) and its social inhabitants (people).

In 1953 the British invaded Guyana and nullified Jagan’s electoral mandate. Interred at a local base for three months, Carter captured Guyana’s political trauma in his poem, “This Is the Dark Time My Love.” He lamented: “It is the season of oppression, dark metal, and tears. It is the festival of guns, the carnival of misery.”

Guyana held its election on March 2, 2020. Simple arithmetic suggests that PPP/Civic was more likely to win but Keith Lowenfield, Guyana’s chief election officer assigned 31 seats to that party and 32 seats to APNU, the present government.

Andy Johnson wrote two brilliant articles implying that Guyana was again about to suffer the fate Jagan suffered 67 years earlier. He noted: “All foreign election observer missions have abandoned their assignments, each one recognizing that the process is being stymied by interests inimical to the production of results consistent with the will of the Guyanese people” (Express, March 24). Canada, US and the OAS have taken a similar position.

Indians, it seems, should not be allowed to hold power again. Even one of my Trini friends could not envisage that reality. He exclaimed: “The Indians are going to rule again!” His mouth dropped when I said, “But they are the majority population there. Why shouldn’t they rule the country?”

T&T will hold its election in August. A possibility exists that an Indian-led party could rule the country again. If it does not do so this year, it will do so the next time around. Yet, the same irrational fear reigns among many Afro-Trinbagonians. PNM’s political leader has called UNC’s leader “a traitor” because she held a different view from his. One can expect such pejorative comments to continue until August 10.

I do not know why Afro-Trinbagonians fear the inevitable rule of Indo-Trinidadians at least for the foreseeable future. The numbers do not lie. In 1946 Indians consisted of 35.1 percent of the population, Africans 46.9 percent, mixed 14.1 percent. In 1962 Indians were 36.47 percent, Blacks 43 percent, and mixed 16.2 percent. By 1990 Indians were 40.3 percent of the population, Africans 39.6 percent, and mixed 18.4 percent.

In July 2017 the CIA World Fact Book noted that Indians consisted of 35.4 percent, Africans 34.2 percent, mixed 15.3 percent, and African/Indian 7.7 percent. Based on linear regression modeling, two of my university colleagues estimate that by 2030, the Indian population will increase to 40.5 percent; Africans will decrease to 36.1 percent, and the mixed group will be to 23.2 percent.

In his Autobiographical Notes James Baldwin argued that Blacks in America, a minority population, had “to make some kind of truce with reality” even as they continually contest internal racism and economic oppression. Blacks in T&T and Guyana will have to reconcile themselves to their minority status even as they struggle for economic equity.

Although many Afro-Trinbagonians fear being a minority, we can take comfort from Harris’s theory of cross-cultural existence: “It means one faction of humanity discovers itself in another; not losing its culture, but deepening itself. One culture gains from another; [while] both sides benefit from opening themselves to a new universe” (New York Times, March 16, 2018).

Although this approaching existentialist reality will produce some psychological anxiety, it doesn’t mean Afro-Trinbagonians will lose their identity. It suggests that all of us can be richer because of this changing cultural condition.

54 thoughts on “Making a Truce with Reality”

  1. The Intellectual Fraudulence of Selwyn Cudjoe. There are two disturbing aspects of Selwyn Cudjoe’s article that strikes the reader immediately. Firstly, Selwyn Cudjoe is an intellectual fraud, and secondly, a psychopathology that seems to be increasing as the election progresses. Let’s look at the disturbing psychopathology first. In a previous response, I wrote about the “ressentiment” that he shows, particularly towards Dr. Eric Williams and the PNM, as an expression of frustrated “will to power”, using a concept of Friedrich Nietzsche. “Ressentiment is a reassignment of the pain that accompanies a sense of one’s own inferiority/failure onto an external scapegoat. The ego creates the illusion of an enemy, a cause that can be “blamed” for one’s own inferiority/failure.” Furthering that analysis, Nietzsche spoke about the consequences of that frustrated “will to power” – when the will to power is blocked, one would rather will nothingness than not will. In other words, it leads to nihilism and a destructive self-hatred. So Cudjoe is envisioning a mathematical regression for the number of “Africans” in T&T so that they will disappear slowly from the landscape. It is an expression of that will to nothingness, a will to not exist, that Cudjoe displays. And it is totally bogus. But I will get on to this later. Those afflicted with this nihilism would rather destroy themselves and their kind than give up on their will to power. It is this type of psychopathology that describes those who sold out their brethren to the slave traffickers in the old days. That and the opportunism that went along with it, because the self-hatred brought along economic opportunities, selling out your brethren was lucrative, and it is still lucrative today. Franz Fanon was one of the most perceptive psychologists, and he described how suppressed anger turns to self-hatred in The Wretched of the Earth. Fanon detailed the psychopathology of colonialism and of racism and its effects on victim and oppressor. “If this suppressed fury fails to find an outlet, it turns into a vacuum and devastates the oppressed creatures themselves. In order to free themselves they even massacre each other. The different tribes fight between themselves since they cannot face the real enemy – and you can count on colonial policy to keep up the rivalries…” Fanon has described it accurately, the concept of nihilism can be used to update this understanding. The psychopathology of Selwyn Cudjoe is something that has to be left to psychiatrists, what is sad is that he injects it into the body politic of the nation, with the help of the Express.
    As to his intellectual fraudulence, Selwyn Cudjoe divides the population into Africans, Indians and mixed. What are these categories, where do they come from? How is African determined? Is it those whose ancestors were born in Africa and who are pure African with not a drop of blood of any other race? What does “mixed” mean? What does the concept “black” mean, as in black lives matter? Barrack Obama is biracial, I supposed that means “mixed”, have you ever heard him described as the mixed President rather than the black President (or the blank President as some in T&T would call him). Kamala Harris is multiracial, nobody calls her “mixed” in her quest for VP status, rather she is defined as a possible black VP. The categories that Selwyn Cudjoe uses are very unclear in their definitions, they are scholarly untenable. To talk about them as if they were clearly accepted, scholarly defined categories is to be intellectually fraudulent. While “Indians” has been defined in terms of purity by various people, in other words, if you have a drop of African blood, you can’t be Indian, the term “black” has not been defined that way. “Black” is not about purity of race, Senator Cory Booker calls himself black, so too do many others of “mixed” ethnicities. So to put it in a nutshell, the 58% of African and mixed populations that Cudjoe projects for 2030 can be black, but they don’t pass the purity test for being “Indians”. The PNM has always been a political party that aspires to represent all Trinbagonians, “every creed and race find an equal place”. It is not a political party that has a purity test you have to pass if you want to be represented. Dr. Eric Williams had already said there is no mother Africa, no mother India, the only mother we recognize is mother Trinidad and Tobago. Selwyn Cudjoe wants to mirror the racism on the other side by a racism of his own, that is his beef with the PNM. Such dueling racisms solve nothing, they are rather the wide gate and broad road that leads to destruction. It is only by transcending hate and finding our common humanity that we can find a way forward.

  2. My god…listen to this man sellout! Selwyn Cudjoe (Tman?), gaslighting african people in guyana and trinidad about indian racism! He was never about african people,he was just a PNM…Now he’s a UNC and guyanese PPP all in one! Well, here’s an actual indian (born and raised) and current harvard professor explaining WHY africans are not crazy :
    (1) How Racism And Casteism Feed Into Each Other In India | HuffPost India

    (2) Why Hinduism And The Violence Of Caste Are Two Sides Of A Coin | HuffPost India

  3. Did UNC use cambridge analytica to blackmail selwyn cudjoe into this shameful buffoonery of gaslighting african people about their justified opposition toUNC racially demeaning and abusive governance? Africans globally are quite comfortable with non-africans in positions of social, economic and political power. What they do have a problem with, is R-A-C-I-S-M, whether under cheddi jagan’s racism in his first term (this caused the rift with burnham) or between 1995-2001 under UNC and 2010-2015 under ‘UNC &Friends'(People’s Partnership)
    What happened to THIS guy? :

    (1) Selwyn R. Cudjoe – Afro-Trinbagonians, Racism and the Education System

    (2) – Selwyn R. Cudjoe – The Limitations of Multiculturalism in Trinidad and Tobago

    1. It is very obvious that Birdie and Inconvenient are thoroughly pissed off that the Professor is willing to admit that anti-Indianism may not be in the country’s best interest. It takes a very big man to admit in public that maybe he was wrong.

      Hopefully one day soon both Birdie and Inconvenient will come to the same conclusion and find peace within themselves. I am not holding my breath.

      For the record I would like to say I am very proud to be a born in Trinidad
      and very grateful to all the wonderful people of all races I had the privilege of meeting, my boyhood friends, my teachers in highschool and my coworkers.

      August 10th 2020 is a very important day in our lifetime. Choose wisely and we all prosper.

      1. Anti-Indianism definition ; The identification, discussion or criticism of (anti-african) racism within indian society, which is religiously ingrained. Here are some examples below;

        Being Black in India can be deadly

        The dark face of Indian racism | India Gulf News

        Majority of Indians are racist: Malema | eNCA

        On the Indian Question in South Africa: A response to m…

        Anti-Black Racism Protests Should Prompt Introspection for South Asians – New Canadian Media

      2. No, your analysis is wrong. I am against racism in whatever form it takes, whether it is disguised or in your face, and what I am concerned about with the “Professor” and by extension his epigones, is what Plato calls the “lie in the soul”. The lie in the soul according to Plato is the most dangerous affliction of the soul, because it prevents the very possibility of truth. We can say anything about reality, but only when there is a faculty in human beings that is capable of recognizing truth will we be able to see reality. The “lie in the soul” prevents that possibility of seeing truth. Finding peace can only come with finding truth. In Indian philosophy, the same word “sat” is used for truth and for being or reality. My advice for you Tariqandalus is search for truth, you may find your self by accident.

    1. Mr Inconvenient. Very sad story about this Torrib Trace business and the racism against these young children. Have you done any follow-up on these incidents to ensure that this situation is not still occuring?

      Best of luck

  4. Seems the Professor’s safety may be in jeopardy…. A founder of The National Association for the Empowerment of African People (NAEAP)… The Professor wrote this during that UNC/PP’s SoE.

    “Jack Wept
    By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
    September 06, 2011
    I have no doubt that this racist pogroms, called a state of emergency, will result in the further criminalization of the black population, promote greater ethnic divide, and brutalize the society even more.
    History will record that an Indian government built the first built detention camps in our country, thereby initiating the first stage of making Afro-Trinidadians a permanent underclass. In years to come many of the enablers will weep at having assisted the PP in their diabolic design against black people.”

    Today he tells us, “Although this approaching existentialist reality will produce some psychological anxiety, it doesn’t mean Afro-Trinbagonians will lose their identity.”

    Anyway Professor, why did Kamla’s UNC lose the last election in 2015, if the Indian population is so dominant? The facts of the stats are, THE INDIAN POPULATION IS ON THE DECLINE (-7% in 20 years) and if trends continue, it will be about 28% in the next 10 years..
    That 22 percent ‘Mixed’ they claim Professor….. it is just fake news..

  5. It is quite interesting to note that responders to Cudjoe’s article do not seem to be interested in the fraudulent attempts being made to steal the election in Guyana and the ethical, racial and moral bankruptcy being played out extensively.
    It is apparent that their primary interest is in expressing some warped sense of African dominance in the Caribbean at any cost.
    Psychoanalytically, there are signs and symptoms of insecurity and inferiority complexes.
    Whatever happened to free and fair elections and the rule of law. Are these inconveniences at this time in Guyana?

    1. “Psychoanalytically….” 🙂
      Tman is trying to sound like an intellectual…:).
      Ironically, he exposes his inferior complex by his obvious, switch in vocubulary while projecting his issues on others. 🙂

  6. The myth of Guyana continues like Haiti embroiled in the Africana world view. Burnham maintained a powerful grip over Guyana sustained by the cult. Granger was one of his military officers and did not come up the ranks as an intellectual but rather as a military man who understands only brute force.

    Granger dream is to become Burnham II. Under Burnham over 300,000 fled the brutality of his regime. Mostly Indians who were transplanted like paddy all over the world. I remember attending a function where an entire village of 38 families migrated to Canada. They had fled the “mud land” and built for themselves and families a better life.

    A nation is never too far from its past. History always repeats itself. We saw it with the Hutu and Tutsi except the last event saw over 800,000 Tutsis butchered. The slaughter was well planned and executed with such efficiency. Romeo Dalare the UN commander was tormented by what he saw and endured such horrible psychological trauma. Survivors guilt he wished he had done more to stop or protect innocent people.

    Guyana’s history is a sad one. It is littered with much pain and sorrow. A people dispossessed of their patrimony. The result is a nation that became the second poorest Caribbean nation. Propped up by Dr. Williams who gave Burnham $500,000,000 US ($2 billion TT back then) in oil. Much of it was forgiven by the UNC under Panday. Granger needs Rowley to survive. He cannot have a grip a strong grip on power unless the PNM help him. The current PNM will have no problem seeing they are aligned with Maduro. Tribal cords if severed by a Rowley loss will not be good for Granger. All criminals, despot and crooks needs friends, they cannot operate alone the world would be a very lonely place.

    With US and other nations gently prodding Granger to amend his ways, it remains to be seen if Granger will relent or strengthen his grip on power bringing back the “golden era” of Burnhamism. Guyana certainly have some dark days ahead…..

    1. Pay Attention to the cognitively dissonant mindstate of people like mamoo…he is accuses the PNM party in “aiding” and propping up the PNC of guyana, because of african comradery, but sees nothing of the sort when the UNC were in office 1995-2001 and 2010-2015. But wait… According to former president and prime minister of T&T ANR Robinson, the man wholly respinsible for GIVING T&T its first Brahman-ist “Hindu” Government, led by then prime minister Basdeo Panday, robinson said in his autobiography, that the reason N.A.R. broke up in 1988, is because :
      e.g. He says basdeo panday demanded the ministry of ‘external affairs and international trade’ portfolio and so he gave it to him. Subsequently, robinson says he received (intelligence) reports, that INDIAN GUYANESE were conspicuously flowing into T&T through customs at a RATE OF 70 PERSONS PER DAY! then 7 years later, robinson single handedly made panday PRIME MINISTER of T&T (1995)!…in exchange for a presidency…! Imagine that…70 per day in 1986…490 per week…1,960 per month….At least 23, 520 racist, anti african hardened indian guyanese migrated (or were snuck?) into Trinidad between 1986 and1987 alone! How long did that go on for? How many since then to 1995? Til 2010? Between 2010-2015?

      1. The Sparkle Rai case and the CORE of Indian-African relations:–law/how-the-ajc-covered-the-sparkle-rai-case-from-atl-homicide/rf800QWBfyOAtttUZrVbjJ/
        How was Dr. Williams, Forbes Burnham, the PNC,the PNM or any african person expected to assuage or reverse this mindset??? One cannot quash this kind of deep-seated, RELIGIOUSLY ROOTED malice, hiding behind perpetual victimhood….with natonal anthems, feel good calypsos and good will politics!!!

        Imported Racism Leads To Murder

  7. In his own words, these are the characters, personalities an d mindsets that the good doctor is now pretending isn’t troublesome! Sellos the sellout??
    Selwyn R. Cudjoe – Sat Maharaj’s Two Percent Fiction – Selwyn R. Cudjoe – Criminal Neglect at Gulf View Medical Center

  8. Sacred Duty: Hinduism and Violence in Guyana: Kean Gibson: 9789768082275: Books

    1. My comments are in response to statements by Birdie McClean and Inconvenient Truth and also to share with our readers some of my own experiences as they relate to elections, election fraud and racism.

      1. In most democratic countries before an election the is an official list of registered voters. This list is prepared by an independent Elections Commission. This is first stage where fraud can be introduced in the system.
      In T&T, PNM has been in power for more than fifty years and statistically have had more opportunities to rig the elections in their favor through voting machines, altering election boundaries etc. If you examine the election results for 2015, on average the PNM held constituencies have 2000 fewer registered voters than the opposition held constituencies. What this translates to in an election is that with equal number of votes nation wide for PNM vs Opposition, PNM will win more seats and retain power.
      2. The second level of fraud can occur at the polling station. Party staff are on hand as scrutineers to weed out any false voters but the final word always lies with the Election Officials to eject people from the Polling Station. Election Officials, most likely appointed under a PNM Government may not be impartial in a dispute.
      3. The third level of fraud occurs with the counting of votes and reporting the official count, total votes, invalid votes.
      The final authority for this is the Election Officer in charge of the polling station. Josef Stalin is alleged to have said “it doesn’t matter who votes but who counts the votes”.
      We see this playing out in Guyana where 115,000 votes were deemed invalid.
      Stealing an election is among the worst crimes in society on par with genocide, ethnic cleansing etc. It not only cheats the current generation but all future generations.

      4. On racism against “Indians” and the Blacks vs Mixed race definitions that that have been sprinkled about by Birdie and Inconvenient, most countries have a national census where each citizen self-identifies as to their race, religion, age, income etc. The key word here is self identify. If a person self-identifies as “Indian” what right does anyone else have to say they are not.

      I went to highschool in San Fernando the 1960s and there were a number of boys of mixed race in my classes and one thing I noticed is that boys whose mothers were Black were more likely to associate with Black boys whereas those with Indian mothers were more likely associate with the Indian Boys.
      I invite our readers to let me know if I am out to lunch.

      I think it is time that we Trinis recognize that we are unique nation blessed with a diverse rainbow society and we don’t have to shape our views by US, Britain, India, Africa, China or elsewhere because we better than them.

      1. Tariqandalus is highly bothered by my comments…Is he also bothered by this as well?? Any anecdotes from the 1960’s about THIS??
        Selwyn R. Cudjoe – Racism at Torrib Trace Presbyterian School

      2. The point I am making is that these are not scientific ethnic categories.The most recent United States Census, for example, recognizes five racial categories (White American, Black or African American, Native Americans and Alaska Native, Asian American, and Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander) as well as people of two or more races. If you are (East) Indian in the US you will have to identify yourself as Asian American. That’s the reality. The first census I 1790 classified people as free white, all other free persons, and slaves. So the categories used are changing constantly to reflect sociological mores. They are not scientifically based. You can’t self identify as what you would like to be, you have to choose a category. I would like there to be a category as “human race”, that is what I self identify with, however, there is no such category, maybe one day there will be.

  9. PPP Region 1 Fraud Plan Unraveling; Elections Fraud Pervasive Guyana Politics 2020

    East Indian Population Decreased By More Than 100,000 since 1980; 2020 Victory Unlikely Guyana Politics 2020

  10. Understanding how race, politics and power works in Guyana Guyana Politics 2020

    “Long ago they have synthesized a reasoning that allows them to redefine racist as people whose views they do not like, whose views exposes target the Achilles heel of their psychology and psyche, whose actions are designed to free the minds they spent 23 years enslaving.” Guyana Politics 2020

    1. The publication, “GUYANA POLITICS” which is the primary, “trusted” source being used by Inconvenient Truth is a political propaganda publication which supports the Granger government.
      In other words it is fake news.
      Who is the editor?
      Who is the owner?
      Why is the contact page nameless?
      This phoney publication cannot be used to support arguments or to provide supporting details and evidence because it has no credibility. It is not a trusted source. It is a dangerous, political tool which presents a point of view to promote the racist agenda of people like Inconvenient.

      1. 🙂 of course it is T-man…any news, history or information that contradicts the racist, Brahman-ist (“hindu”) and indian nationalist, ethno-socio-political agenda is “fake”! Yes….This is the tyrannical, imperialistic mindset that has been obsessed with governing over africans in Trinidad, Guyana, Suriname, Fiji, Mauritius etc for over hal a century!

  11. There are about 300 million people of African descent in the Americas, about 100 million in Brazil alone. In South and Central America and the Caribbean, there are at least 250 million people of African descent. There are not 2million Indians in South and Central America and the Caribbean. In Guyana and Trinidad there are about 1 million Indians. Who is really a minority in the Americas? And who really has to make a truce with reality?

        1. Did not expect such a stupid reply from someone who makes so many intellectual and intelligent comments. i post this comment with great hesitancy because I am not really interested in pursuing this level of debate.

          1. No, it goes to the heart of the matter. Why restrict yourself to T&T and Guyana. Why not T&T and the rest of Caricom? Because if you do, then the majority population will be black and Cudjoe’s argument will be reversed. And the deeper issue is what type of nation we would like to emerge from plural societies. The ideal that was upheld was multicultural societies, where different ethnic groups could preserve their identities and forge a nation that accorded to each group its human and civil rights and politics was not a zero sum game. The ideal of multicultural society is being challenged by the ideal of ethno-nationalist society around the world; one can see the emerging popularity of white nationalism in Europe and the USA. The white nationalist argument is also concerned with the preservation of the race in the face of what is perceived as the threat of multiculturalism. Cudjoe’s argument succumbs to the ethno-nationalist ideal and has led to destruction and suffering wherever it has be instituted. And although the quest for multiculturalism has not been without its faults, the challenge, which is a worthy one, is always to try to bring about what Barrack Obama emphasized over and over – a more perfect union.

  12. PPP Region 1 Fraud Plan Unraveling; Elections Fraud Pervasive Guyana Politics 2020

  13. East Indian Population Decreased By More Than 100,000 since 1980; 2020 Victory Unlikely Guyana Politics 2020

  14. Selwyn R. Cudjoe – Racism at Torrib Trace Presbyterian School

  15. The great irony of Trinidad & Tobago’s warped society. Since 1956, the indian community in particular, aided by whites, chinese, syrians and some privileged mulattos/phenotypically ‘mixed’ persons, have ceaselessly slandered (Gaslit) the african population internationally, as being their racist oppressors, using the PNM as a proxy. Every election cycle, Indian Arrival day and in between, this ahistoricalmculture of gaslighting, with an entitlement to victimhood, gives rise to panic and confusion when contradictary narratives and evidence emerge. Africans are not allowed to have feelings and freedom of speech and expression as well…only the aryan race is born with that privilege!
    Why would non-racists cuddle, HIDE and protect racism from criticism?…unless it is a religiously sanctified practice and core aspect of their cultural identity!
    Racism is Every Bit a Part of “Indianness” as Religious Bigotry, Sexism

  16. Good advice below. Focus more on yourself and less with competing with Indians.

    MANY YEARS ago, NJAC asked that the country celebrate Emancipation Day at home (and in our communities). This is without prejudice to the Emancipation Day activities organised by the Emancipation Support Committee and others whose public events are now clearly constrained by the covid19 pandemic.

    The reason being that Africans should have a day set aside for themselves. The late calypsonian Superior (Andrew Marcano) sang We Want a Day. The late Chief Servant Makandal Daaga said we should dedicate Emancipation Day to ourselves and “light a candle, say a prayer, play a drum.”

    With Emancipation Day just two weeks away, I want to remind the African community to put aside the time to celebrate Emancipation Day at home appropriately, before, after or on the day itself.

    The real point is that Africans need to have certain observances, including using oral history (or written history), whereby the spirit and endurance of Africans are recognised. Our children should hear and know what it means to be an African. Africans need to have a time to reflect on their health and their social well-being.

    Last year I had prepared a ritual which had as cardinal features giving thanks to the Creator and ancestors as well as aid to the less fortunate.

    This year I have designed an Emancipation Day greeting card to spread the message about the festivity.

    Africans should use Emancipation Day as a family commemoration so that they can become more knowledgeable about their several African achievements. Remember, Africans are now halfway through the UN-declared International Decade of Persons of African Descent (2014-2025). It is also the era of a resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement.

    There are many narratives within each African family about successes in education, business, science and technology, church, mechanical and other skills, cooking, housecraft, agriculture, politics and social work. But Africans don’t recall them often enough.

    For example, African teachers had founded a number of colleges before there were secondary schools other than QRC, CIC, the convents and the Naparima high schools.

    We should use Emancipation Day at home to pay attention to our health, covid19 notwithstanding. Africans are plagued (like the rest of the country) with an epidemic of non-communicable diseases, especially diabetes and hypertension, which we have to deal with more resolutely than we are doing now.

    African males also have a serious problem with prostate cancer. The report of a May 2008 cancer conference stated that “there is growing literature on the disproportionate burden of prostate cancer among…Black men of West African ancestry in the Caribbean islands, United Kingdom and West Africa.”

    It was further stated that the imbalanced problem of prostate cancer among Black men follows the path of the transatlantic slave trade.

    All African families in the Caribbean should have some understanding of what the presence of sickle cell trait and sickle cell disease may mean and therefore should take whatever action is necessary to mitigate complications.

    At the social level, African families, in certain marginalised communities where people are stigmatised, must take action against the decline of their living, trapped as they are within dysfunctional families, subjected to inferior schooling and abused by criminal elements.

    Africans have to pay attention to mental health as the stresses of daily living have weakened their resistance to illnesses that they could have dealt with more easily.

    In that context, the Prime Minister’s recently appointed recovery committee is doomed to failure unless citizens in the affected areas are allowed to implement whatever recommendations are proposed.

    Emancipation Day at home 2020 must become yet another stepping stone toward an African Renaissance which includes reparations that the community deserves since the European assaults on African civilisation during the slave trade, colonisation and imperialism.

    Africans must seek the responsibility to honour themselves at their homes.

    1. Your post is confusing TMan… I guess it’s from NJAC’s own AIYEGORO OME… The dashiki wearing, sandals wearing thing doh fool ‘we’ anymore.

      Wasn’t NJAC a party to the UNC’s/PP SoE that… Well, let The Professor tell what NJAC was a party too. (Rather, the Professor failed to mention that NJAC was part of this…)

      Dr. Selwyn Cydjoe: “History will record that an Indian government built the first built detention camps in our country, thereby initiating the first stage of making Afro-Trinidadians a permanent underclass. In years to come many of the enablers will weep at having assisted the PP in their diabolic design against black people.”*

      1. NJAC is an Indian party. Look at the images at rienzi complex on election night 2015…only indians wearing NJAC T-Shirts and waving NJAC flags.NJAC has always been a psuedo-african political party, that is now a pseudo-radical, pseudo-african, Indian political misinformation mill and AFRICAN-VOTE TRAP for the UNC! They’re a JOKE…but a corrosive one, to african social and political health! NJAC used the issue of traditional african identity, the way other political parties use economic advancement, jobs, heathcare and security…as a political ‘hook’ to reel in african voters!….against EUROPEAN racism, while cuddling up with, endorsing, and defending INDIAN anti-african racism! NJAC spreads mis-information about 1970’s african movement, to attack and demonise it’s political opponents (PNM), while deifying the indian community and throwing african people under the bus!What type of self respecting africans, would organize an event celebrating indian arrival day, a political holiday given by an indian prime minister (Panday), while excluding africans from receiving the same holiday? Where’s NJAC protest for African Arrival Day? Then, NJAC invited specific (UNC)indians to speak at the event, to slander their african ancestors with mis-information about african-indian relations? All for (UNC)politics! Take a look at what those dashiki wearing puppets really are about and encourage:

        NJAC’s Indian Arrival Day Observation

  17. Since we are quoting, here is Dr. Eric Williams Independence Day speech that has great relevance.
    Fellow Citizens,
    It is a great honour to me to address this morning the citizens of the Independent Nation of Trinidad and Tobago as their first Prime Minister. Your National Flag has been hoisted to the strains of your National Anthem, against the background of your National Coat of Arms, and amidst the beauty of your National Flower.

    Your Parliament has been inaugurated by Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal, the representative of Her Majesty the Queen. You have your own Governor General and your own Chief Justice, both appointed on the advice of your own Prime Minister. You have your own National Guard, however small.
    You are now a member of the Commonwealth Family in your own right, equal in status to any other of its members. You hope soon to be a member of the World Family of Nations, playing your part, however insignificant, in world affairs. You are on your own in a big world, in which you are one of many nations, some small, some medium size, some large. You are nobody’s boss and nobody is your boss.
    What use will you make of your independence? What will you transmit to your children five years from today? Other countries ceased to exist in that period. Some, in much less time, have become totally disorganised, a prey to anarchy and civil war.
    The first responsibility that devolves upon you is the protection and promotion of your democracy. Democracy means more, much more, than the right to vote and one vote for every man and every woman of the prescribed age. Democracy means recognition of the rights of others.
    Democracy means equality of opportunity for all in education, in the public service, and in private employment–I repeat, and in private employment. Democracy means the protection of the weak against the strong.
    Democracy means the obligation of the minority to recognise the right of the majority. Democracy means responsibility of the Government to its citizens, the protection of the citizens from the exercise of arbitrary power and the violation of human freedoms and individual rights. Democracy means freedom of worship for all and the subordination of the right of any race to the overriding right of the human race. Democracy means freedom of expression and assemble of organization.
    All that is Democracy. All that is our Democracy, to which I call upon all citizens to dedicate themselves on this our Independence Day. This is what I meant when I gave the Nation its slogan for all time: Discipline, Production, Tolerance. Indiscipline, whether individual or sectional, is a threat to democracy. Slacking on the job jeopardizes the national income, inflates costs, and merely sets a bad example. The medieval churchmen had a saying that to work is to pray. It is also to strengthen our democracy by improving our economic foundations.
    That democracy is but a hollow mockery and a gigantic fraud which is based on a ruling group’s domination [of] slaves or helots or fellaheen or second class citizens or showing intolerance to others because of considerations of race, colour, creed, national origin, previous conditions of servitude or other irrationality.
    Our National Flag belongs to all our citizens. Our National Coat of Arms, with our National Birds inscribed therein, is the sacred thrust of our citizens. So it is today, please, I urge you, let it always be so. Let us always be able to say, with the Psalmist, behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.
    United at home in the common effort to build a democratic Nation and ostracize outmoded privileges, let us present to the outside world the united front of a Nation thinking for itself, knowing its own mind and speaking its own point of view.
    Let us take our stand in the international family on the basic principles of international rectitude. When our time comes to vote, let it always be a vote for freedom and against slavery, for self-determination and against external control, for integration and against division.
    Democracy at home and abroad, the symbol of it is our Parliament. Remember fellow citizens, we now have a Parliament, we no longer have the colonial assemblies which did not have the full rights of a Parliament of a sovereign country. The very name “Parliament” testifies to our new Independent status. By the same token, however, we at once become the object of comparison with other Parliamentary countries, inside and outside the Commonwealth.
    This is a consideration which involves not only the Members of Parliament but also the individual citizen. The Members of Parliament have the traditional Parliamentary privileges guaranteed in the Constitution. The Speaker, the symbol of the power of Parliament, has his status guaranteed in the Order of Precedence. We shall soon have a Privileges Bill protecting and prescribing the powers of Parliament itself. Measures are being taken to establish the responsibility of Parliament in the field of external relations.
    The Constitution recognises the position of the Leader of the Opposition and the normal parliamentary convention of consultation between Government and Opposition are being steadily developed and expanded. The Constitution itself, Independence itself, represent the agreement of the two political parties on the fundamental question of national unity. The ordinary citizen must recognise the role of the Parliament in our democracy and must learn to differentiate between a Member of Parliament, whom he may like or dislike, and the respect that must be accorded to that same Member of Parliament ex-officio.
    I call on all citizens from now on to accord the highest respect our Parliamentary system and institutions and to our Parliament itself.
    Democracy, finally, rests on a higher power than Parliament. It rests on an informed and cultivated and alert public opinion. The Members of Parliament are only representatives of the citizens. They cannot represent apathy and indifference. They can play the part allotted to them only if they represent intelligence and public spiritness.
    Nothing has so demonstrated in the past six years the capacity of the People of Trinidad and Tobago than their remarkable interest in the public affairs. The development and expansion of that interest is the joint responsibility of the Government, the Parliament, the political parties and relevant civic organisations.
    Those, fellow citizens, are the thoughts which, on my first day as Prime Minister, I wish to express to you on Independence Day. Your success in organising the Independence which you achieved will exercise a powerful influence on your neighbours with all of whom we are likely to have close associations in the next few years, the smallest and nearest, as part of our Independent Unitary State, the larger and more distant as part of the wider and integrated Caribbean community. Problems of difficulties there will be. These are always a challenge to a superior intelligence and to strength of character.
    Whatever the challenge that faces you, from whatever quarter, place always first that national interest and the national cause. The strength of the Nation depends on the strength of its citizens. Our National Anthem invokes God’s blessings on our Nation, in response to those thousands of citizens of all faiths who demanded God’s protection in our Constitution. Let us then as a Nation so conduct ourselves as to be able always to say in those noblest and most inspiring words of St. Paul, “By the Grace of God we as people are what we are, and His Grace in us hath not been void.”

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