Messengers of the Invisible

By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
August 16, 2011

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeAugust and anyone who is anyone has left Paris (and other Europeans cities) for the country for vacation. As one looks at the shuttered apartment windows, the empty streets (except for places such as Champs Elysees Avenue) and the barely-filed cafes that inundate the city and its sidewalks one realizes that everything will remain in abeyance until September when Parisians return to work and attend to their business again.

I went to Paris to view “Vodun: African Voodoo,” a path-breaking exhibition at the Cartier Foundation for Contemporary Art where over one hundred pieces of African Vodun sculpture were brought together under one roof for the first time. Thanks to the late Jacques Kerchache and his wife Anne, the Western world had a chance to view these revealing sculptures and glimpse at their cosmological universe.

I have always been attracted to African art and sculpture. In 2008, the same year in which Barak Obama won the presidency of the United States, I visited the Arts Institute of Chicago to view “Benin: Kings of Rituals: Court Arts from Nigeria” where over 220 pieces from Benin’s rich artistic history were being displayed. It brought back sad memories of a time (1897) when Britain invaded the kingdom of Benin and stole several thousands pieces of its arts treasures, much of which ended up in the British Museum and different parts of the world. Such artistic richness speaks eloquently to Africa’s contribution to world civilization and culture.

My traveling companion could not understand what I saw in these pieces. The images created a sense of revulsion in her mind, a show put on for the entertainment of whites in the metropole. “It’s not something they understand. It makes them feel good and allows for good intellectual conversation at the dinner table. It leads to a sanctification of human sacrifices and diabolical rituals.” It was not so much that she disliked African art but she was more concerned about what Europeans do with our art and the function it plays in soothing their guilty consciences.

I do not agree with my companion’s take on things. Seeing these Vodun sculptures–some would say primitive pieces–in a modern gallery in Paris took my mind back to my childhood in Tacarigua, Trinidad where my grandmother, a practitioner of orisha (Yoruba) and Anglican Catholicism, had to reconcile beliefs her parents brought with them from Africa via the other Caribbean islands and those that the slave master thrust upon her.

Vodun, as the catalog states, “is an ancient religious cult and philosophical tradition originating from the ‘Slave coast’ of West Africa and is still active today in the region, as it is practiced by populations from the coasts of Togo to Western Nigeria.” It was brought to the Caribbean and the Americas where it mixed with Roman Catholicism as well as other religious traditions. I did not appreciate the use of the word “cult” to describe the religion of my forebears. It was a way of under cutting the importance of what I believe and a chipping away at my own self-conception.

Vodun cosmology centers on Vodun spirits and other elements of spirits of the divine essence that governs the earth and which reflects itself in the practices of its major deities. “The followers of Vodun believe that there is a link between visible worlds of the living and the invisible worlds of the spirits” that is accessed through prayers, sacrifice, possession and divination.

So that when, in my infant days, my grandmother and Miss Gerald, “the Shango woman,” as we called her, sacrificed their goats and fowl-cocks to the Loa (the intermediaries between the Creator and humanity) they were trying mightily to connect with the gods/spirits they had known in their original homes. When they “ketch de spirit,” as they did in these rituals, they were only trying to communicate with the spirits of their ancestors who had come to mingle with them during these religious rites.

The word Vodun also possesses another meaning. Some scholars link it to the Ewe (an ethnic group in Ghana, Benin and Togo) word vo that means “hole” or “opening,” which can be related to that which is hidden or secret. Du, a Fa term used among the Fon of Dahomey, may be interpreted to mean “signs” or “messengers” which suggests that Vodum can be translated to read “messengers of the invisible.” In other words, devotees of Vodun and Shango can be seen as messengers who seek to communicate with the invisible world of their ancestors.

For years many of us (Africans) walked around feeling ashamed to be associated with words such as Voodoo and Shango and the negative connotations associated with them. Few of us (Africans and Europeans) know or are even willing to accept the positive cosmological significance of these practices. Yet each group of people seeks to explain their world with the tools that are placed at their disposal which suggests the equality of all religious practices which, in the end, are nothing more than attempts to explain the forces that rule our being in this world.

Tacarigua is a long way from Paris. The latter reeks with culture and sophistication whereas the former remains a simple village untouched by excesses of modernity. Through her religious practices, my grandmother was trying to connect with her divinities, a process that allowed her to remain calm and accepting in a world that was not her own.

Somewhere, beyond the waters, beyond the visible, her spirit resides with kindred spirits where they make their own music, practice their own religion, celebrate their gods and dance the dance of their ancestors.

Their calmness and repose in the teeth of oppression and victimization should grant us the necessary flexibility and teach us the indubitable perseverance to maneuver in a hostile world that has little respect for our ways of seeing the world.

As they survived, so too, we will survive and triumph.

32 Responses to “Messengers of the Invisible”


  • … which suggests the equality of all religious practices which, in the end, are nothing more than attempts to explain the forces that rule our being in this world.

    I understand and sympathize with this view, but in a “been there, past that” way. Quite simply, this view is wrong. And I say that as a servant of Yahweh, required to say it.

    For scripture is clear on this point. There are indeed many gods. But there is only one Most High. Practitioners of Vodun understand that most clearly. Practitioners of Vodun also understand clearly that they cannot serve the Most High while also serving any other god. The Most High’s first commandment prohibits it.

    There can be no equality between those who serve lesser gods, and those who serve the Most High. That is a grave error, especially for one such as Prof. Cudjoe, who is, whether he knows it or not, subject to the Law of the Covenant, i.e. an Israelite.

    The Israelites are the Most High’s Chosen People, from whom come his priests and prophets.

    These are the people who are of bloodline descent from Jacob (Israel). They are not the people who call themselves Jews “and are not” (Revelation 2:9).

    The true Israelites are people who have been scattered to the four corners of the earth, where we have been “discontinued from [our] heritage” (Jeremiah 17:4). The Afro-Creole of the Americas are among these true Israelites, for we, uniquely, fulfill all the curses that were to befall the children of Israel if we disobeyed (Deuteronomy 28:15-68) the Holy Covenant under which we were bound to the Most High.

    The central promise of this Holy Covenant is that we would be set “high above” all other nations, to be a “peculiar treasure” unto the Most High, a “kingdom of priests”, and an “holy nation” through whom the other nations would come to know the Most High (Exodus 19:5-6; Deuteronomy 26:19; Deuteronomy 28:1; etc.). We as a people were to be his “witnesses” (Isaiah 43:10) and to be a “light unto the Gentiles” (Isaiah 42:8).

    These are not matters of belief or creed, nor of choice. It is not a matter of being able to take it or leave it. These are matters of Fact and Covenant. The facts in question are empirically testable: prophecies are made, history unfolds, and conforms to prophecy, or not. The issues of Covenant are as with any contract or legal agreement. If you adhere to your obligations, here are the rights (blessings) you enjoy under the covenant; if you fail, here are the penalties (curses) under the same covenant.

    Ignorance, as before the Law, will avail nothing. Certainly it will not exculpate. And for such as Prof. Cudjoe, with the wit and sense to search for and discover Truth, it will hardly even mitigate.

    The principal historical facts in contention are: (i) the enslavement of our people under the trans-Atlantic slave trade; (ii) the loss of heritage — language, religion, culture, names; and (iii) the existence of another people falsely claiming the heritage from which we were “discontinued”.

    The principal failing under the Covenant that triggered these curses was our violation of the very first commandment. We went “a-whoring” after other gods (Deuteronomy 31:16; Ezekiel 23:30).

    We have had a thing for voodoo from the very beginning. Aaron led the people brought up out of Egypt in worshiping the golden calf (Exodus 32:35), an idol symbolizing one of the gods of Egypt (Africa). Later, we adopted the worship of some of the gods of Canaan (Deuteronomy 31:16). Canaan was a son of Ham, and therefore an “African” people.

    There is no question that these “voodoo” gods are real, otherwise there would be no need for the first commandment (Exodus 20:3).

    That is not the point.

    The point rather is that to the children of Israel, worship of other gods is forbidden under the Covenant. That Covenant applied to no other people (except for those who opt in, as for example the people of the mixed multitude who came up out of Egypt together with the children of Israel).

    Scripture assures us that these gods are real, not only by inference from the 1st commandment, but in several of the stories told.

    The most defining story is that of king Saul and the witch at Endor (1 Samuel 28:7-19). When, due to Saul’s disobedience, Yahweh would not hearken to his prayers and supplications, neither by dream, nor by prophet, nor by Urim (1 Samuel 28:6), he turned to a witch for help. At his request, the witch summoned up the prophet Samuel from the dead, who proceeded to prophesy his doom.

    So voodoo “works”. Because it works, it is tempting, like Saul, to have recourse to it, for whatever comfort it might provide when one has problems. But to the Israelite it is forbidden. For Yahweh has chosen the children of Israel to be his people, to whom he, and he alone, is to be their recourse in times of trouble.

    In any case, if we are obedient to his righteous law, he may deliver us from any trouble. He may also guide us in a way that is the envy of all other peoples. Our spiritual gifts are effortless, in contrast to other peoples to whom are granted various spiritual sciences, e.g. astrology, yoga, feng shui, chi manipulation sciences, voodoo, etc.

    This is the essence of the story of Daniel and the lion’s den (Daniel 6:23), of Daniel and the dream of king Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel, chap. 2)), and of Daniel’s companions and the fiery furnace (Daniel 3:26). Neither Daniel nor his companions had to be masters of yoga, feng shui, tai chi, astrology, or any other spiritual science, to see and interpret someone else’s dream, to survive a fiery furnace that burnt up the servants that threw them in, and to spend all night unharmed in a lion’s den.

    As Calypsonian Lord Shorty would say, “who God bless, no man can curse”. Selah.

    My point is that voodoo and etc. is a gift to the Hamites and other peoples. But it is expressly forbidden to the children of Israel.

    And it is our practice of same that led first to our expulsion and scattering out of the Holy Land. And in our scattered state, one of the curses that would befall us is that we would worship other gods, “even wood and stone” (Deuteronomy 28:64). It is not therefore incongruous that we the children of Israel might be found identifying with vodun, and the gods of Africa.

    These might well offer some comfort here or there, but have been completely ineffectual in overturning the larger curse of captivity under which we have labored these last 400 years (1611-2011). Fake Xtianity likewise has been ineffectual.

    Therefore, we, the Afro-Creole, must leave the voodoo well alone, lest we suffer the fate of king Saul.

    This is not an in-principle condemnation of voodoo. Much of voodoo practice is benign, even noble, involving the healing of the sick, the comforting of those who are troubled, the lifting of the burdens of those who are heavily laden. That is immaterial. If we are Israelite, and therefore subject to the Holy Covenant, it is to the Most High, and only the Most High, that we must take our troubles. And the price for his indulgence is simple righteousness, and obedience to his Law.

    In the last observation lies the catch. Too much of voodoo practice in fact involves sorcery. And even where sorcery is not involved, too much of it involves the seeking of divine indulgence by and for those who are unworthy, because unrighteous.

    And too much of voodoo involves the unscrupulous who charge on a sliding scale for their services, where the illegal, the immoral, and the unrighteous requests of petitioners are the most profitable to the practitioner. Yahweh is crystal clear about such practices:

    Malachi 3:5. And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith Yahweh of hosts.

    I should mention also that the same prohibition that applies to the children of Israel in respect of voodoo, whether benign or sorcery, applies also to all other spiritual sciences, which are voodoo also — forms of communication with the invisible — using Prof. Cudjoe’s apt definition.

    As Israelites, we are to stick to the straight and narrow road of obedience to the Law of the Covenant. We are living in the end-times spoken of in Scripture, when these things are coming ever more sharply into view, as indeed has been prophesied (Deuteronomy 30:1). When Yahweh returns, it shall not be to impose equality of religious practice, rather to set up a kingdom that shall last for ever (Daniel 2:44), and in which it is the Israelite, in righteous obedience to the Law, who will rule (Revelation 2:26-27).

    Shalom.

    Ezekiel 23:30. I will do these things unto thee, because thou hast gone a whoring after the heathen, and because thou art polluted with their idols.

  • Voodhoo is the opening of a portal into the world of the invisible where the spirits of that world enter human bodies. There are two worlds, the world of good and the world of evil.

    My great grandfather was an obeah man, he use to make blood sacrifices to these spirits once per year in January. My father continued the practice, one year when he did not do it he had a dream and he got sick. These spirits wanted their blood sacrifice.

    My neighbour used to offer up a goat sacrifice every year. He had powers from the spirit world but all his sons died mysteriously. The practice of blood sacrifice to these spirits has resulted in many Indian family seeing their children die off in the strangest of manner. It would not be unusual to know 5 people die in a family at various times from suicide, road accidents, sickness or ordinary accidents. Satan does make huge demands on business and family. Just ask the business men who made a deal with the devil in exchange for money. Every year the devil would come and take a life in that work place.

    Yes Voodhoo is bit deeper, men have been known to levitate, go in trance etc all in the name of trying to make contact.

    My suggestion stay far away from those things.

  • “Voodhoo is the opening of a portal into the world of the invisible where the spirits of that world enter human bodies. There are two worlds, the world of good and the world of evil.
    Voodhoo is bit deeper, men have been known to levitate, go in trance etc all in the name of trying to make contact.”
    Yeah mammoo something like praying to colored flags , and 12 armed gods ,while sacrificing kids for wealth ,power , and glory, as practiced by certain unmentionables across our blessed land.
    Did I understand that your “…great grandfather was an obeah man, he use to make blood sacrifices to these spirits?”
    Ummm humm,mammoo. That preposterous comment has as much merit , as you saying that your Queen Kamla , has a five bedroom mansion she inherited from grandpa Bissesser, next to the Despers pan yard in Lavantille,or her morally progressive government ,is about to introduce a long overdue law, that would ensure that every single family ,that can trace their lineage to a slave laborer ,who worked on ‘one oh dem European ,barbarians plantations in T&T,’would be entitled to 2 acres of land.
    Pray tell me folks , how can this beautiful country, of ours, ever progress, with the likes of those alleged citizens , who continually ‘practice to deceive?’
    Not pointing fingers mammoo, but if the hat fit, you know what to do.

    • “that would ensure that every single family ,that can trace their lineage to a slave laborer ,who worked on ‘one oh dem European ,barbarians plantations in T&T,’would be entitled to 2 acres of land.”

      Slaves were brought in from the US and the Caribbean. When they saw the sugar cane fields they ran in the opposite direction. (I don’t blame them). Burnham tried your experiment, taking land and giving it to former slaves, the result – a lot of unused land. Mugabe trying the same thing-the result a lot of starving Zimbabwean. The point is this if people don’t want to work the land why abuse them with this culture of entitlement???

  • Mamboo said,”If people don’t want to work the land why abuse them with this culture of entitlement.” Kind of remind me as to why Trinidad today , leads the region in importing food, even with all the land grabs that was orchestrated by Trade Unionist, British styled budding actor ,and lawyer , turned political activist, Basdeo Panday, cuz mamboo.
    What has transpired in reality, is that the young elitist boozoos, starting with Kamal Mohammed reign as Minister of Agriculture , and the promotion of not too secret ADB Loan scams. Folks took out exorbitant loans on the acquired lands, planted 1 mango tree, and put up a 1 room galvanize shack , then as advised ,transferred all the money abroad ,so as to wreck our economy.
    They thus left our officials holding an empty crocus bag, so to speak. Fast forward to 2011, and a few of the said , grand picknies from that tribe , are returning home due to the recession abroad, or more so ,due to a feel good , high expectancy ,”dis is wee time philosophical mindset,” as the tribe is in charge of the political roost.
    Many are pretending to be modern , savvy entrepreneurs , by importing useless ,unpalatable, foreign products, again, while using said lands, as collateral.
    A word to the wise mammoo, ‘beware of a man or woman with nothing to loose,’ my friend.
    Tell your gleeful neo tribalist ,power brokers pals , that they might be able to preserve their tenuous grip on social control , by throwing a lil bone in other quarters. In short , make folks outside the tribe ,into stake holders, as opposed to the typical ego driven , cultural masturbation,as have done much , with so little.
    Then however , who am I kidding? Let the sick tragedy continue unabated , as your suspect intellectuals continue to put their own spin on history , forgetting how this transformation , and economic injustice occurred in the first place. Lands were acquired under the hands of conniving post slavery European imperialist, and ably supported for 40 years under the regimes of black skin , white hearts, political limbo dancing enablers ,such as Dr Deffy Eric,Georgie Chambers, ANR ,de Tobago sellout, and phony christian delusional,geologist turned lifetime politician, Patrick Manning, and de rest we can say is history.

    Nice retort, re that fake Afrikan,and political buffoon Forbes Burnham.
    The CIA did a fine job on him, and his one time buddy, neo Maxis dentist , Chedie Jagan ,for sure, and in the end , we still don’t know which of the two stupid tribes in that country, turned out better, as the script is still being written from Jim Jonestown escapades ,Janet the closet operative shenanigans , to crashing planes on deficient , run down airport, and escaping disgusted citizens ,across the Demerara piranha infested waters , away from any place that Jagdeo is located.
    I think it is a stretch trying to drag Mugabe into the mix, even though . I am no record on Trinicenter saying that someone should have the courage to get rid of that aged fool , and his mentally constipated , low end secretary, turn Gracie Mansion , fist lady , before she ends up sleeping with every Afrikan on the continent, not named Robert Mugabe.
    We should not hold our breath on any of those cowards taking a stand in their own right, to push back against tyranny, as they are only spurred into action when it’s white barbarianism they are fighting. I am working on a theory mammoo, but am not too certain if your small mind ,can embrace all of it -seeing that in your words- you barely was able to finish ABC , or is it Standard 1, in Las Lomas primary school- sorry, South Berbice. Here it is nevertheless.
    The reasons for the laziness, re hard work , and the land FEAR ,for numerous ,Trini African descendants ,is that ‘many’ have Afrikan Royal blood running through their veins, and Yarouba Isrealite might back me up on this.
    Over 80 % of the early slaves were captured ,and exported by rival powers. Well there it is.
    Notice the operative word however- ‘many.’

    • Quoting Neal:

      The reasons for the laziness, re hard work , and the land FEAR ,for numerous ,Trini African descendants ,is that ‘many’ have Afrikan Royal blood running through their veins, and Yarouba Isrealite might back me up on this.

      Sorry, can’t back you up on that one.

      For one thing, the first premise is questionable. Lazy? I don’t think so. Land fear? I don’t think so either.

      In the case of my ancestors, we came here ca. 1815 after service in America in the War of 1812. We were never slaves in T’dad. But we founded the company villages that were carved out of virgin forest.

      I doubt Mamoo and his lot, allegedly not lazy, would have had the stomach for that kind of work … they would have dropped like flies, or switched post-haste to shop-keeping as soon as they could gather together the capital to do so.

      Then there is the second premise, namely that those of royal blood are somehow congenitally incapable of hard, physical work. That I do not accept. Royals and aristocrats do not do hard physical work because they have the means to avoid it.

      All people would avoid hard physical work if they could; that is the whole point of slavery … get somebody else to do the hard or dirty work. It amazes me that people don’t see the cruel irony of accusing the one who has been enslaved of laziness, rather than the enslaver.

      It is a matter of historical fact, that it was the Afro-Creole that did all the hard work necessary to build this land. When the Indos came, the virgin forests had already been cleared, the plantations were already, well, planted, and the ports had already been established for such as the Fatel Rozack, sailing from Calcutta, to dock at. Again it was the Afro-Creole that did all the hard work to establish the oil industry in this country — work so hard they needed to take salt tablets to replenish the minerals lost through sweat under a boiling hot sun.

      So no, I do not accept that the Afro-Creole is incapable of hard work.

      The fact which stares us in the face is rather that we have been a captive people in a land that is not ours, made to serve a people that has afflicted us. This is a fulfillment of Genesis 15:13. In this land we have been cursed in the city, and cursed in the field. Deuteronomy 28:16. Even those of us who were granted land, as in the company villages, have been cursed in our basket and store. Deuteronomy 28:17. We have become always the borrower, never the lender. Deuteronomy 28:44. We have planted, for another to enjoy the fruit. Deuteronomy 28:33. We have built a house for another to live in, betrothed a wife for another to lie with her. Deuteronomy 28:30. The stranger in our midst has risen up high above us. Deuteronomy 28:43.

      Basically, we have been a people brought to our knees, and still struggling to get up from chattel slavery. Deuteronomy 28:68.

      That is the essence of our condition. We were brought low by the Most High … because we were a stiff-necked, rebellious, and disobedient people. Deuteronomy 31:27. Not because we were weak, or lazy, or of “royal blood” or any other such nonsense.

      That said, there is an aspect of our character that one may associate with royalty, aristocracy, and at the very least, knighthood: we have ease, we have grace, we laugh easily, we love music and dance (Psalm 137), we are a warm-hearted people, we are generous, we are magnanimous, and we produce more than a fair share of mighty men of valour. We are not a petty, grasping people. We do not pinch pennies. We are not shop-keepers. The penny-pinchers and shop-keepers among us delude themselves that their avarice should count as hard work, to which they are given and we are not. I don’t buy it, and certainly would not grant such a premise.

      The simple fact is that we have been cursed by our God. He it is — no one else — who has reduced us to our present condition as seemingly a defeated people, albeit with surviving flashes of greatness that serve to remind the discerning that we are indeed the Chosen of God. There is no contradiction. It is the very fact of our chastisement that confirms our status as children of God (Hebrews 12:5-8).

      Our defect is not one of laziness, nor fear of the land. It is certainly not of inferiority (ha!), intellectual, moral or otherwise, rather only of stiff-neckedness, rebelliousness, and disobedience to our Creator.

      On this understanding, the solution should be obvious. We are to return unto Yahweh, and obey his Law. Those who do not, will not be able to abide the day of his coming (Malachi 3:2), which is now not too distant.

      All of that said, it is true that some of the Afro-Creoles of the Caribbean descend from the royal house of king Saul, the Benjamite who was the first king of all Israel, and who came to a sad end. However, I do not grant that truth any or much explanatory power in respect of our condition as a people, or in respect of our capacity or lack for hard work.

      Shalom.

  • “Trini African descendants ,is that ‘many’ have Afrikan Royal blood running through their veins, and Yarouba Isrealite might back me up on this.
    Over 80 % of the early slaves were captured ,and exported by rival powers. Well there it is.”

    This does explain why the civil service in Guyana and Trinidad became the primary employers of your tribalistic cousins. Guyana’s civil service bankrupt the nation. The same with the Trini civil service. Remember the “belt tightening” talk by George Chambers. The civil service budget in T&T at the time was over $2 billion. In Guyana no oil so the nation had to keep devaluating the dollar to keep your cousins employed. Oil in T&T was the off-set, but believe me you Neal T&T would not have fared any better than Guyana. The state run companies such as Petrotrin is in a $2 billion deficit. Had it not been for the PP everyone who have money would have left T&T because every day the private sector felt the brunt of criminality under your uncle Patos…

    • Oh yes , and if we had astute leaders like they did in Sri Lanka , Uganda, and Fiji , the situation might be reversed mammoo, as your tribes would have gotten real reasons to flee with their stolen economic loot , as opposed to the fake ones, that are still been expressed.
      It is clear that mammoo the comedian , babash slurper , thinks he is explaining Caribbean history ,to one of his stupid Germans, Italian , or English pals, excitedly perusing the hills of Tobago ,on their land grab schemes , hopefully before, his PP government steals all for themselves ,to build their storey spiritual temple, for unmentionable ,’20 color flags, 10 armed gods ,converts.’
      No my brother , I as an ardent student of history was way ahead of the game . That was while you were still learning to spell ‘Father of the Nation ,’ Papa Eric ,that ensured a viable ,socio political climate was in place ,for your two PMs to get a solid education, along with the host of other neo tribal ,national ingrates, that make up this regime. Tell me , mammoo , where do you think Raffique Shah , or Rex Lassale , would be today , if Basdeo Panday, or Queen K were in power in 1970? Remember dem Public servants? You guessed it , two bullets in the back of the head , and buried in an unknown grave somewhere .
      Yet you and similar jokers wonder why there have been only two leaders from your neck of the woods in the past 49 years of our independence, why none can never obtain power via their own rights , but only as a result of some tenuous alliance / coalition, and more importantly, why the next time one would change the drapes of the PM residence, after the time fortunately expires on these present bozos ,would probably be in 2050?
      For the record, mammoo . Guyana is your home country, not mind , and guess what? I can also teach you it’s history, much better than closet socialist Jagdeo can.
      My only concern is for the twin island republic of T&T,as long as it can be maintained. Take a cue.

  • Mamoo, haven’t the discussions so far been substantive, forthright and courteous?

  • Dear Dr Cudjoe,

    I have a few issues with your article.

    Firstly, your travel companion said the following: “The images created a sense of revulsion in her mind, a show put on for the entertainment of whites in the metropole. “It’s not something they understand. It makes them feel good and allows for good intellectual conversation at the dinner table”….she was more concerned about what Europeans do with our art and the function it plays in soothing their guilty consciences.” I think you failed to elaborate on this aspect of what museums and exhibitions like these symbolise and therefore to represent her valid concern. Not that it is or should be the focus of your article, but don’t present someone else’s position and then fragrantly dismiss its relevance for it is very relevant.

    For the most part, at least for the last 500 years Europeans have viewed others with a curiosity that is synonymous with condescension, inferiority, backwardness and, most importantly, possessiveness. To me the presence of so many different cultures whose artefacts are housed in museums such as the case of Britain’s rape of Benin which you rightly mentioned and the Louvre in Paris symbolise that continued possession. As you acknowledged in reference to Benin, many places in Africa and throughout the world were looted and striped dry of their cultural wealth which are now housed in far off places where you have to pay to enter like the Louvre and in the rest of Europe. If not that, think of the many people to this day who were dislocated from their indigenous birth lands that are now owned by Europeans throughout the world as these indigenous people themselves live in poverty and marginalised in society.

    Why are you glamourizing going to Chicago and Paris? Why can’t you glamourize about going to Ethiopia and Nigeria to see these works in their places of origin. Well, for one thing, a lot of the richest symbols of African culture, art, civilisation and ‘sophistication’ are no longer housed in Africa but in Britain, Europe, America and the like. And when you go to Chicago and Paris who do you rub elbows with? ‘Modern’ anthropologists and archaeologists – those people who continue on that same condescension and racism in their explanation of cultures, ritualistic and religious objects and practices? You noted that this is the case when you commented ‘Slave coast’ like these Africans did not identify themselves with some sort of tradition before slavery worthy of remembering, that boils their historical artefacts hundreds of years old down to the appendage and property of the white man.

    Ha and the word ‘cult’… I need not explain, but not only is the word cult used in the exhibition, it’s on their website for all the world to read. Hopefully someone makes a formal attempt at correcting the use of that word and the destructiveness of what it has conveyed in the past and continues to convey today. But you, you choose to be forgiving. People need to be more stern about this kind of misrepresentation, because when the so called white ‘experts’ and ‘authorities’ of black culture (how ironic, no?) belch it out, the rest of European visitors vomit it back out into society and help to perpetuate un-understanding and discrimination. This idea of looking at a number of artefacts and becoming a conversational expert in a foreign country always makes me uncomfortable. It’s more saddening that really only rich or well-off persons from the original countries and from ‘developing’ nations get the chance to see them. And then they come back home and only give a tiny piece of the picture, romanticising Europe and their travels there rather than exploding cultural richness and exposing historical misinformation. Sorely, I say I want more, I make no apologies for that. Your article teased and deceived.

    And finally, Paris? Vodun? You went for “a path-breaking exhibition”. They don’t belong together. Paris is so racist; look at their immigration policies. Why on earth choose there to have such an exhibition… oh yeah, so that the Western world could have a ‘chance’… again. And Jacques Kerchache’s ‘private collection’: how did he procure it? The Cartier website said the collection is making its ‘public’ debut, what a slap-in-the-face re-enforcement of what I’ve said above: a white man had this in his private possession. He was born in 1942. What were archaeologists like in that time? Many don’t want to say they were looters but you take property and keep it for ‘your collection’. Whether you smile nicely with the locals of a community, buy it for pennies in a market, or pay-off government officials, that to me is not ‘yours’. It’s the collective wealth of a village, a community, a society, a nation and does not belong in someone’s private collection in Europe.

    These article sheds tiny spotlights into museums and their contents. My mind is greedy for such truth and exposure and championing the case of such issues. http://www.organiser.org/dynamic/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=410&page=15
    http://www.antropologi.info/blog/anthropology/2006/indigenous_non_western_primitive_the_par

  • Another comment you made based on what your associate said was “Tacarigua is a long way from Paris. The latter reeks with culture and sophistication whereas the former remains a simple village untouched by excesses of modernity”. Is this your idea of an eloquently written line? I find you dispensed with Tacarigua, flatly, with no imagination. Maybe you should have left that line out.

    I am from Tacarigua. I have lived there for 13 years. Do you think Tacarigua does not ‘reek’ with culture? What does culture mean to you Dr Cudjoe? What does sophistication mean to you; please enlighten me? I can think of many cultural and historical components of Tacarigua, and I can find many ways to romanticize about Tacarigua the same way you effortlessly romanticize about the shutters of Paris. For one, can you tell me what the name Tacarigua means? Can you tell me who lived there five hundred years ago? I really don’t know, other than that it is an ‘Amerindian’ name. Wikipedia says that there were ‘Amerindians’ there in 1789 who were relocated to Arima. Since you are from Tacarigua coming from the generation before me you might have a few nuggets of historical information that I can benefit from. I as a youth in the community would appreciate such information. That is of course if you think such information is of any value or could ever confer any sophistication because sophistication for you seems to be tied to some far off place in Europe.

    There is an agricultural outpost at the end of Gittens Street when you make a left turn and head north. It is part of St. Michael’s Road and it continues up into the mountains for a couple kilometres. Unfortunately now, it is either poorly managed or abandoned. I recall a woman’s body was found there a few years ago, she had taken the wrong taxi somewhere down south and was raped, killed and dumped there. It’s also a place where people NASTY TRINIDADIANS dump their rubbish and old cars and car parts and where criminals use for their mischief. However, in a magical time called my childhood we used to go up there for oranges, grapefruits, mangoes, pommeracs and a number of other fruits. Imagine the people who must have dug and built that road? And all the similar ones like it in Lopinot, Arouca, Cuara, St. Joseph to Mount Saint Benedict and beyond. They probably were all interconnected at one point much similar to the Bench Trails on the Northern Range believed to be the trails of ‘Amerindians’. These trails were used by Europeans to track down the communities of the indigenous populations leading to their capture, slavery and demise and became many of the roads we now use today.

    The forest that forms the backdrop of Tacarigua consists of a Caribbean Pine monoculture, planted probably between 20 to 40 years ago (this was done to protect the denuded hillsides or those that had grass growing on them that encouraged fires in the dry season). Maybe the history of the pine forest is older… you can accuse me of romanticizing here. I accept my guilt but I think it’s a spirited romance connected to my country and my community. But, tell me, what was there before that Pine? It is highly probably that there were agricultural crops for some colonial ‘master’, cocoa perhaps coffee, I can recall there being some cocoa but I don’t know if it’s from the agricultural outpost station or from a time before that. Imagine the people that worked on that land? Where did the profit from Tacarigua go? What colonial family benefited from it? Who might be their descendants today? Not because you can’t see the structures now means that it’s of no significance. But indeed you do see the structures, in Paris, London, Brussels and you are connected to their sophistication. But you forget what fuelled and financed their construction, where the wealth came from, who they raped physically, mentally, CULTURALLY – people from all over the world including right here in the Caribbean, in Trinidad, maybe even in Tacarigua.

    There is a large Hindu community in Tacarigua and every year they invite the community to Divali Celebrations. I wonder how long they have celebrated Divali there and who were their ancestors. Perhaps if someone interviewed the elders, they might give some rich pieces of historical information on the settlement there in the beginning of the last century. Maybe they still retain some Hindu words like communities in south do, or maybe they teach Hindi there now. Every few months when an East Indian elderly person dies they pass around in the community on one of those cars mounted with speakers and announce the death of a 79 year old woman, an 86 year old man and recall their the umpteen relatives, the ‘roots’ and the ‘branches’ of that person. People don’t do that as much anymore; that is becoming a thing of the past, but it’s is part of our culture in Tacarigua.

    They also have a temple there, I can imagine, the location being on Gittens Street, four cross streets or a hundred meters from the main road, that the selection of this area would have been due to the fact that it was more central to the residents 50 or a 100 years ago. Many churches and mosques (the Tacarigua Mosques are believed to be originally found in 1850 according to Wikipedia) on the East-West corridor hug onto the main road, but here is this temple, considerably old and beloved by the community which is snuggled in what must be to them the heart of Hindu Tacarigua. Maybe you can tell me how old the temple is, but perhaps it is not sophisticated enough to deserve mention or attention by you. Well maybe you were not Hindu and that has no interest to you, but there is also a Presbyterian Church opposite the St. Mary’s Children’s Home, both of which, along with the Tacarigua Post Office, are landmarks of Tacarigua. Imagine the Presbyterian missions and their interactions with the Hindus in an attempt to convert them. Imagine what ‘Amerindians’ remnants might have existed in 1900 and the racial composition of society back then. I am only speculating here, but this one way or the other is part of Tacarigua. I can’t put dates to any structures in Tacarigua because I am typing this passionately from the top of my head but here’s a quote from the Presbyterian Primary School website … “The Tacarigua Presbyterian School was established on June 23rd 1884, through the efforts of Dr. John Morton, the first Canadian missionary to Trinidad. The first building which was a small wooden structure, was called Tacarigua Canadian Mission Indian School (C.M.I) and the first teacher was Ms. Semple, a Canadian Missionary”.

    Judging by the name Cane Farm Junction, we know that the area was a big cane farming community and indeed residents will tell you, if you ask them, is now scraped away by HCL for all the properties and golf course the area has become. The tiny Densely Main Road starting from the gas station on the Eastern Main road and snaking all the way to the Trincity Mall probably was a road for donkeys that carried cane and other commodities one 100 years ago. Now it is a major artery for traffic coming from one of the biggest malls in the entire Caribbean.

    You speak of your grandmother, the Shango Woman. Did she ever go to the river? What resources did she use from the land, what plants medicinal or otherwise did she source from the forest. I find it hard to believe as an African and spiritual woman she would not have had any connection to the land. Just the other day I was recalling my grandmother used to give me a bitter bush called ‘jerry tooth’ to drink. It had bumps on the underside of the leaves and was good for colds. It grew wild everywhere but I can’t recall the last time I saw it. Tacarigua’s biodiversity amazes me. There is the pine forested mountain backdrop, there are some areas that have tropical forest, some with bamboo, there are the grassy hills, there is a river and once I went on a hash (sport involving running recklessly through the bush to follow a trail of variable terrain and reach the end of it first) and I found something like a wetland or marshy area (or probably a dry season river over grown). If Columbus sailed up the St. Joseph River located west of Tacarigua, it is currently in the same condition and depth as the Tacarigua River which runs below the Tacarigua bridge by the St. Mary’s Children’s Home. I wonder if it was utilised by anyone? Count Lopinot, a slave owner, certainly made some use of the river to build his ‘home’ a few valleys east from Tacarigua, if my memory serves me correctly. I wonder what was the interaction of Amerindians with this river, or if you can find any artefacts of their presence anywhere in the mountains.

    In my backyard visitors include black birds, yellow orioles, kiskeedees, blue jeans, palms tanagers, shiny cow birds, white egrets, copper rumped hummingbirds, rock pigeons, ground doves, mocking birds, orange winged parrots, house wrens…there is an occasional tropical king bird, yellow headed caracara among other raptors, I hear pygmy owls at night (jumbie birds) and the list goes on. Do you know what Europeans romanticise about, that biodiversity, that which we take for granted. They pay a lot of money to come to the Caribbean to see and enjoy it. I think you said it right, “I have always been attracted to African art and sculpture,” it’s just something visual, a pass time, an event to absorb, a travel trip for an hour or two over a beverage and then dispense into a cupboard of the brain. It’s not alive and it does not speak to you. Tacarigua speaks to me all the time.

  • There was a man named Paison. I cannot recall his last name, but he was a Seventh-day Adventist fromSan Juan area. He wrote a book, in fact, two in which he recounted the histories a d bio-diversities of flora and fauna in villages like Ticaragua. He self-published the book and it would be a rare find in some library, or research department or other.

    He could tell from the season of the year whether a picoplatr was tawday or janmal.

    He would recommend for people with high blood pressure that they take shadowbene, just a few leaves since this is a potent bush.

    Would you believe tghat shadowbene is a special dish served in posh restaurants in Wales? it reminds me of thge uses Europeans now make of the aloes plant, a plant my parents used to rub us down with after playing football and you’d gotten a bad fall or bruise.

    Your observations, and for someone of any age, but particularly for a young mas as yourself is admirable.

    You must have or had blessed parents and other adults around you.

    Regarding the pine trees, if you climb to the tops of mountain ranges like Cerro Aripo, El Tucuche you will see chenges in the flora from Tropical to Temperate micro-climates. I’d understood as a boy scout climbing and sleeping on these mountains that the pine had come from Canada to reinforce local needs for pitch-pine wood. Because it has a water-proofing resin it resisted rot and insects, and was especially used as flooring. It was because of the resin fire hazards and houses built with it could go up in dangerous fires in no time flat.

    Thanks for your observations and input. I hope you can locate anything by Mr. Paison, or Peison,m or a name with some phonetic spelling like these.

    PS, the orphanage in Tacarigua was staffed by people who taught the children and orphans there to play musical instruments. This resulted in many of T&T’s top musicians and calypsonians–I think Black Stalin is one, but I could be incorrect–who grew there.

    So, forgive me for saying so, but the only place in T&T that is more trini-to-de-bone than Tacarigua is … Morvant-Laventille! LOL!

  • “Morvant, Lavantille , Trini to the bone?” Well I’ll be … If that’s the case, then everyone of our citizens, should be bowing our heads in shame, and begging to be from any place but T&T. I know you are nostalgic , hence the name ,never dirty , but my brother , any government with decency , moving forward, would take a big flaming torch ,and graze the entire areas, after removing the good folks , and giving them a decent plot of government sugarcane , and rice land, now that our agriculture industry is dead.
    If I had my way ,every PNM leader dead ,would have their graves desecrated, and if still alive ,stone on site , for allowing those Brazillian , post slavery Favellas to develop all across the East West corridors.
    Likewise, so call progressive Trini Indian leaders, should be equally revolted , at what they unleashed on the nation during the past 4 decades since independence, as they too ,can point to despicable ,social garbage heaps, that can rival the worst sectors of Calcutta, Port au Prince ,or Soweto ,and that is due in great measure , not only to PNM stewardship , but conniving , unmentionable leaders from within, who saw more merits in keeping the masses in a desperate state , so as to solidify their victimized status , and maintain that well known strangle hold on opposition power – what ever that translates to.
    Dr Deosoran , where are you ? I know , busy writing European ,social criminal psychology books with little relevance on T&T realities.

  • Lighten up, Neal! Remember, he who laughs … lasts!

    • Some say Trinis are so happy go luck , dey ‘don’t care if good friday falls on a Monday.’ Yep, but dat is only half of the population , that falls into that stupid trap.
      Beware neverdirty, and remember dat “all skin teeth, ain’t laugh.”
      More importantly, these are not times for grinning, as,greedy, self serving barbarians, are overrunning the gates, and in the process, destroying what we worked so hard to preserve – some semblance of a democracy.
      What’s your end game?
      Now ,if you are, in the words of the greatest woman dat ever lived , “playing dead ,to catch cobeaux alive,” den , I am on board with you.
      Ah shocks , let me join neverdirty and laugh as our people remain virtual prisoners in their own land , as the economy continues to nose dive , with no relief in sight.as clueless, square pegs in round hole , political leaders, try to push a narrow dangerous agenda,destined to get us no where fast, and worst yet , neverdirty PNM pals, in the unaccustomed opposition shoot themselves in the foot, led by rabble rouser Rowley, and his vindictive, protagonist Patrick.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YZnKHe3BL1E&feature=related

      Sing wit me, and my Black Socrates Brother Maestro ,neverdirty, “all you doing is grinning and skylarking, you come like the ass in the lion skin.”

      • Having an unrestrained sense of anger, and not taking timee out to unwind does not make one wise, nor live healthy, long and useful. I say this Neal, with respect and not intentionally judgemental.

        It is also something I said to Maurice Bishop in 1981, the last time we saw each other alive. He, Bernard Coard, and advised by people like Trevor Munroe would finish one cabinet meeting at 4:00am consuming loads of coffee, donuts, and very little in the way of fruits, and then have other meetings, some with foreign leaders and representatives beginning at 6:00am.

        They had little time for rest, for healthful sleep and absolutely none for recreation. The conditions and pressures of the US and neo-colonialists in the region like Tom Adams and Eugenia Charles kept them imprisoned in political and survival pressure cookers.

        One of the reasons why Fidel and other Cuban leaders survived in my opinion–apart from some of their ambassadors in Canada and the US, I didn’t know any of them personally–was that despite the pressures they were under, they went to see drama, films, and participated in carnival, but as spectators.

        One of our responsibilities as Black men is to live as long and as healthy as we can. It is more than a personal responsibility since each of us, unlike men from other races carry within our memories and sensibilities what it is to live daily in the pressure cookers of rank, unadukterated anti-Black racism, and particularly racism against Black men.

        Whits supremacist culture aims its most lethal arsenal, not at Indian men, not at Chinese men, not at any other men, including Middle Eastern men, but against Black men.

        For example, how many men of other races were, like Black men, lynched? How many men of other racess, like Black men have for centuries filled their prisons? Howw many men of other races, like Black men, have filled the ranks of the unemployed and the unemployable?

        It is for these reasons why we, as Black men must consserve the health of ourselves, our spouse and our families and neighbourhoods. We have been in a war that was begun before there was a British Empire … yet, we are still here! And we will continue, but only as long as we maintain, not only our IQ, but also and equally important, our EQ, orr our Emotional Quotient.

        It is not accidental that among the derogatory cliches used to describe us is as being “militant”; as being angry”.

        Hell, theere is much about which to be militant and angry. But these responses aree that: responses. Theese are not tactical nor strategic assets.

        I have a colleague from Haiti who teaches languages in Taiwan. He described how the Chinese handle Europeans. They never show anger to the European slights. But they send powerful messages otherwise. The Europeans are mystified and at a loss to explain the Chinese ssense of being “inscrutable”.

        Does it mean that these people do not, and here I generalize, get angry? Or never sshow theeir “face”? No. However they make the point of beinbg in control of themselves.

        Genarally specking here, too, as Black people, everyone knows how we feel and what we think, and are lokely to do.

        In a world in which it is valued to have a sense of decency, a sense of shame, and a sense of consequence, such temperaments of openness would be commendable.

        We live, however, in a world in which, while we should not undervalue these sentiments, and especially among ourselves, having an additional sense of anticipation is more strategic and wiser than only having the others.

        And finding more occasion within our families and among our colleagues to unwind is more than necessary. It is an historical imperative.

        Therefore, when I said he who laughs, lasts, I am not speaking of mere jesting, and of being on the block ol’ talkin’. I am speaking of our responsibilities as Black men not to be overwhelmed by events aand experiences, but to hone our spirits to meet these circumstances and with our families and communities to not only survive, but to also thrive.

        My spouse and I aree married this year for 53 years. Our parents made it, too, for more than five decades. My parents didn’t have life easy. Our father, a red-skin, “beke ‘n neige” was married to our mother, a woman described at the time by his family as being “black as five pas’ midnight”.

        In spite of the fact that theey disowned him, he never showed our mother any disrespect. In fact, I remember heer saying that in all their married life he never once “raise his hand nor his voice” to her … and she was no easy woman, as a scholar, writer and community activist and suffragette.

        What I reecall most about them is the amount of laughteer they hgad with each other and with us. This characteristic is also between my spouse and me in our home and wwith our children, grands and great grands.

        Laughter is still the best and least expensive medicine.

        Is this why the pharmaceuticals do not prescribe it, and insteaad push every other type of drugs because they also know, “he who laughs … lasts!”?

        • My Haitian colleague described another colleague of urs who, teaching in a university in North Carolina, would not control himself, but would predictably rant and rave after their white colleagues got under his sskin, something they did quite often almost as a sport.

          My Haitian colleague described, not only how he and others would try to counsel this fellow who by his “righteous intemperance” made it more difficcult for the other Black professors, but alsso how he himself handled a similar slight.

          The University had a summer program in France for its students who were studying French.

          For two years, my colleague went as translator being the most skilled on the staff. The President of the university usually led the team.

          One year, the only person who could go was my colleague. As the senior person, while he sshould now have ledd the team, the President appointed his wife, who didn’t speak any French to lead thee delegate.

          What did my colleague do? Did he rant and rave? Hell no! He waited until the last week before advising the President that because of pressing family matters he wouldd also not be able to make the trip. And was so sorry for that.

          Do you think the white staff and president didn’t get the message? The only message they reaally understood, primarily because it was so unexpected?

          In short, every other race knows how predictable and angered we aare as a people. This makes it easier to ambush us, or to make us asssist them in ambushing us!

        • Very well said.

          “In fact, I remember heer saying that in all their married life he never once “raise his hand nor his voice” to her … and she was no easy woman, as a scholar, writer and community activist and suffragette.” Now this is total respect. Not only him for her but her for him since she recognized the respect paid to her.

          How do we translate that to our communities in T&T??

  • Mamoo

    Burnham tried your experiment, taking land and giving it to former slaves, the result – a lot of unused land.

    There is something rancorous despicable about people who can lie like this. It speaks to a genetic flaw in their psychological make-up, and verify the findings of neanderthal links with certain modern sections of humanity.

    Burnham never gave land to Africans. Africans in Guyana are still engaged in activism for their ancestral lands, the lands they purchased after emancipation.

    Africans did not run the other way when they saw the jungle they had to clear to produce crops for the slave masters. It should be obvious to even a third grader that they could not, they were in chains.

    Africans have a longer tradition in agriculture than any other group. Stand to reason, they were here longer. In addition, there are crops that are traditional foods of Africans that they have been planting since they came to these shores in the Caribbean. The ground provisions of cassava, eddoes, yams, tannias etc have always been predominantly planted by Africans. These are crops that require skilled attention, and do not grow wild like the grasses of rice and cane.

    Burnham’s Agricultural program in Guyana was modeled on a “Feed, House and Clothe Ourselves” campaign for Guyanese. He developed two great construction projects that primarily benefitted Indians who were engaged in commercial agriculture. One was MMA, which I understand to be the Mahaica/Mahaicony Agricultural project, and involved the construction of pumps, dykes and water ways to enhance agricultural irrigation, and the construction of the Demerara Harbour Bridge, which provided 24 hour access to the Indian dominated West Bank, West Coast, and Essequibo Islands geography, to bring their agricultural produce to the city.

    Deceit and mendacity is probably more of a cultural traite than a genetic traite. It’s exhibition in these pages by certain individuals who share a common heritage suggest that its influence across the group is more than sparse.

    I will continue to counsel and suggest to Africans that they do not waste time seeking to mend fences or win the regard of some groups. Some people cannot change. Among them, there will always be the narrow assed testosterone challenged idiots whose ignorance renders any intellectual interaction with them exercises in futility.

    When a nation can sustain the practice of social discrimination based on color for thousands of years, some of its human product will inevitably manifest the character flaws that made such immorality sustainable. And that is the context in which I see these lies and distortions of history being presented by those with an unbroken genetic link to mthat past.

    • “Burnham’s Agricultural program in Guyana was modeled on a “Feed, House and Clothe Ourselves” campaign for Guyanese. He developed two great construction projects that primarily benefitted Indians who were engaged in commercial agriculture.”–Keith Williams.

      Sounds to me like Burnham was a great hero of the Guyanese people, just as Hitler was a great hero of the German people. Keep telling yourself that Williams. People like you have a psychosis that only death can cure.

      • Mamoo, you compare Burnham with Hitler?

        If you do not have any regard for how and what you think–if it can be called thinking–must you also expose others to it?

        • All dictators are the same, some just have more weapons and military to kill more people. Burnham’s policy of using the police and military to terrorise the citizenry was shameful and a poor example of a leadership. Late at night “bandits” would come into villages and kick down the door, they would rape, steal, and do whatever they please. No one was held to account. Every election during Burnham’s reign of terror was stolen. Ballot boxes used to show up all over the place. There was no democracy in Guyana, Neverdirty.

          Yet you have appologist like Keith Williams defending Burnham. Why? Wismar is an example of naked racist attack on the Indo population in Guyana. “The massacre of Indo-Guyanese began at Wismar and lasted for over 38 hours, beginning from Sunday May 24th and ending on Tuesday May 26, 1964. In the 38 hours of brutality, barbarism, and savagery on some 2000 Indo-Guyanese living in villages of Wismar and Christianburg, some 18000 Afro-Guyanese armed with cutlasses, wooden poles, gasoline bombs and guns burnt and destroyed over 230 Indo-Guyanese homes and businesses. Indo-Guyanese who thought they could find shelter in their own homes were confronted and beaten by large mobs of Afro-Guyanese screaming “kill de coolies” as their homes were burnt to the ground. One family whose home was burnt was confronted by a large mob who beat the wife unconscious, repeatedly stabbing the husband and then continuing to kick and molest two smaller children. This occurrence was by no means isolated. Some families who managed to escape from the villages into the nearby forest were also hunted down like animals”.
          That my friend is why Burnham was no better than Hitler. Only difference Hitler had more resources.

          • Mamoo, that is not Burnham’s actions, but Goebbels speaking through you.

            It is easy for you to go online and paste these lies.

            Would you likewise be citing Hulsie Bhaggan in the 1970s saying Black men were raping Indian women?

            You will more than likely not want to see the pasted video of a Hindu man who murdered his Black daughter in law while she was pregnant.

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PsUc3f7F7cY

            This is no propaganda by Cheddi’s “apan jhat” vote race crew, but from American news and American court of law.

            You need to lie since your truths are so pallid defending your claims you must use lies to make your truths stick.

    • I agree with you. Look at what happened after Burnham. The naysayers will all contribute that to Burnham but when Burnham left Guyana there was no debt. His goal was Guyana’s independence. Not interdependence. The constant devaluation was due to the debt load after his demise.

  • Who cares about Guyana? Take a bow mamboo. Burnham was an uncaring neo imperial socialist fool, that was more palatable to big brother America , than his partner in crime Chadi Jeagan, and so was allowed to survive, and turned his country into a post colonial failed state.Tell us something we did not know.
    Take another bow , if you think they have made much progress , with the help of Chedi , his CIA Euro- American wife Janet, and the Kremlin trained joker Jagdeo, that controlled the ship of state since. By the way we are watching the very liberal interpretations of our immigration laws , as promoted by unmentionables to ensure that the voting numbers pan out in their favor into perpetuity.
    Seriously , how do you guys sleep in this country, T&T , as your men continue to treat our women, in this horrendous way? I though this ended when our country voted it’s first woman PM from within your neck of the woods MAMBOO, and social enclave? There is obviously much work to be done Madame PM , Hmmmm?
    Ah tell you , it matters very little , what class they emanate from , but these, culturally depraved , barbarians ,are so disgusting! If this is not a blatant case of Human Rights abuse , then , I don’t know what is.
    AG Ramlogan ? Your call. Prove that you see women from the tribe , as more than mere voters. Get rid of that South Asian, and backward Middle Eastern , elitist penchant , for only protecting the women of your family,AND CLOSE HIGH END CRONIES , while showing no concern about other low caste classes.
    Finally,prove that you are more civilize than dem alleged, savage Afrikans ,who folks like mamboo , and his British PM Cameron, naively think ,only love to maim, murder ,and plunder, at every opportunity, since they have a criminal DNA.

    http://www.trinidadexpress.com/news/Rape_charge_dropped__couple_married_now-128054143.html

  • “This is no propaganda by Cheddi’s “apan jhat” vote race crew, but from American news and American court of law” Neverdirty.

    Neverdirty Burnham was the better practioner of “apan jhat”. Cheddi was NO follower of apan jhat. That is where you are wrong. Burnham understood Nehru much better than Cheddi did. Cheddi was a follower of marxism. His American wife was Marxist. To this day the PPP in Guyana would not talk about race or racism, they deny it even existed. Burnham however was different, he promoted racism. But that is history for you, you can interpret as you believe.

  • Mamoo, I knew Cheddi and Janet. And some ministers in the currect government like Gail Texeira (she might have changed her name if married) and another minister who was recently murdered by unknown assailants, Sash Sawh.

    They all worked along with a lot of Black Guyanese, as well as with other Caribbean and Africanss opposed to racism, colonialism and tyranny. Many were supporters of Walter Rodney. Many also supported anti-Burnham and PNC organizations in North America like the Organization of Concerned Guyanese.

    Many, if not most of these were also Marxists and Socialists, some even Maoists.

    You couldn’t tell these any of Black Guyanese, Jamaicans, Trinis, and others today anything about Cheddi or about Jagdeo who turned out in the end to be treacherous to the interests of Black Guyanese.

    This because there were many Black Guyanese who were in the Civil Service, not all supporters of the Burnham regime. All, 100% were summarily fired by Cheddi!

    Did the PP in T&T do likewise? And at every level, from sub-Cabinet Permanent Secretary postings to that of low-level CEPEP and URP?

    The subseqent treatment in Guyana, a sort of victimization based on anti-Black racism was effected toute suite by these Marxists.

    It was also the same Marxist Cheddi who openly opposed the West Indian Federation on the grounds that it would, with including so many Black people, negatively affect and reduce the political and cultural clout of Indians.

    It is a continuance of his government under Jagdeo who about two years ago was brought before the United Nations by the US, Britain and Canada after Guyanese police killed more than 200 Black youth (see Starbroek News, though on a virus watch with Google).

    It is the same UN that had to force the government of India recently to pass laws in India making it illegal for upper caste Hindus to stop forcing lower caste Black Dalits to eat, and in public, “noxious substances” or sh*t.

    Even the government of Nepal passed laws making it illegal to rape and murder lower caste Dalits, something the government of India still balks on doing.

    These United Nations positions against practices of the government of India had previously come under pressure from Dalit organizations in America.

    One of these, the Dalit Freedom Network even at present in 2011 has public statements which condemn these practices, which while publicly condemned by the government is still widely practised and which according to Dalits in opposition “no one wants slavery to continue except those who profit from it … and from Dalit trafficking…”.

    In fact, it was because of pressure from Dalit organizations in the US, supported by members of the Black Congressional Caucus why Obama, on his last visit to India when addressing the Indian parliament praised Dr. Babasebha Ambedkar, an Untouchble chosen by the British to write the Indian independence constitution.

    Finally, like Cheddi many Indians–not all–also praise Gandhi. He was a man ahead of his time on his opposition to using war to settle conflicts. However, he was no less racist than Churchill in his attitude and statements describing Africans.

    In India he would later go on a hunger strike against Dr. Ambdker’s inclusion in the new constitution allowing Dalits the right to select their own representatives. Dr. Ambdekar, on his deathbed said, that given the subsequent state of Dalit oppresssions and humiliations and rapes, agreeing to Gandhi’s demands was the worst mistake he had made in life!

    In fact, during the Boers war in which the Zulus–a people identified by Yoruba Israelite as among descendants of the Israelite peoples–Gandhi created an Indian Corps who went on the battlefield to rescue wounded Boers … but not Zulus!

    For this “Meritorious Service”, he was twice awarded medals. These he later threw away dramatically after the same Boers began to force Indians into the same state of submission and subjugation into which they had already had the “Kaffirs”.

    The word, “kaffir” comes from Arabic/Islamic and is a racial slur on Africans in South Africa. It means, “someone unable to discover the truth … an unbeliever …”

    So, many Indians–not all–praise people like Cheddi and Gandhi. And they did praiseworthy things. However, when both came to defending or upholding the interests and rights of Black people, they equivocated, Mamoo, they equivocated, stumbled, and in their own narrow racial interests, joined the ranks of our historic oppressors.

    This is so unlike Black heroic figures like Dr. ML King and Maandela who publicly and privately defended the humanity of all peoples, bar none.

    It was this same magnanimnous openness why so many Black Triniss supported and campaigned, and voted for Kamla’s government. Most of these, following the brazen and dismissive attitudes of Indian triumphalism now suffer from voters buyers regret.

    Many of them, ashamed to say they supported the PP, were terminated and saw their jobs given to Indians!

    So, let’s talk Mamoo!

    But talk truth which, like virtue, is its own reward.

    Truth is also the time and space wherein Eternity arranges our meeting as mortals with the Divine, and ultimately with each other!

    • Your psychological wounds are so deep.It has lead to an inability to identify the true enemy..Like Don Quixote your battles have become imaginary and faced with such impotence your frustration can lead to self-destruction and violence.I think you’re better than that.

  • I knew Cheddi and Janet. And some ministers in the currect government like Gail Texeira (she might have changed her name if married) and another minister who was recently murdered by unknown assailants, Sash Sawh.

    They all worked along with a lot of Black Guyanese, many supporters of Walter Rodney, in organizations in North America like Organization of Concerned Guyanese.

    Many, if not most of these were also Marxists and Socialists, some even Maoists.

    You couldn’t tell these Black Guyanese today anything about Cheddi or about Jagdeo who turned out in the end to be treacherous to the interests of Black Guyanese.

    This because there were many Black Guyanese who were in the Civil Service, not all supporters of the Burnham regime. All, 100% were summarily fired by Cheddi!

    The subseqent treatment, a sort of victimization based on anti-Black racism was effected toute suite by these Marxists.

    It was also the same Marxist Cheddi who openly opposed the West Indian Federation on the grounds that it would, with including so many Black people, negatively affect and reduce the political and cultural clout of Indians.

    It is a continuance of his government under Jagdeo who about two years ago was brought before the United Nations by the US, Britain and Canada after Guyanese police killed more than 200 Black youth.

    It is the same UN that had to force the government of India recently to pass laws in India making it illegal for upper caste Hindus to stop forcing lower caste Black Dalits to eat, and in public, “noxious substances” or sh*t.

    Even the government of Nepal passed laws making it illegal to rape and murder lower caste Dalits, something the government of India still balks on doing.

    These United Nations positions against practices of the government of India had previously come under pressure from Dalit organizations in America.

    One of these, the Dalit Freedom Network even at present in 2011 has public statements which condemn these practices by the Indian government as “no one wants slavery to continue except those who profit from it … and from Dalit trafficking…”.

    In fact, it was because of pressure from Dalit organizations in the US, supported by members of the Black Congressional Caucus why Obama, on his last visit to India when addressing the Indian parliament praised Dr. Babasebha Ambedkar, an Untouchble chosen by the British to write the Indian independence constitution.

    Finally, like Cheddi many Indians–not all–also praise Gandhi. He was a man ahead of his time on his opposition to using war to settle conflicts. However, he was no less racist than Churchill in his attitude and statements describing Africans.

    In fact, during the Boers war in which the Zulus–a people identified by Yoruba Israelite as among descendants of the Israelite peoples–Gandhi created an Indian Corps who went on the battlefield to rescue wounded Boers … but not Zulus!

    For this “Meritorious Service”, he was twice awarded medals. These he later threw away dramatically after the same Boers began to force Indians into the same state of submission and subjugation into which they had already had the “Kaffirs”.

    The word, “kaffir” comes from Arabic/Islamic and is a racial slur on Africans in South Africa. It means, “someone unable to discover the truth … an unbeliever …”

    So, many Indians–not all–praise people like Cheddi and Gandhi. And they did praiseworthy things. However, when both came to defending or upholding the interests and rights of Black people, they equivocated, Mamoo, they equivocated, stumbled, and in their own narrow racial interests, joined the ranks of our historic oppressors.

    This is so unlike Black heroic figures like Dr. ML King and Maandela who publicly and privately defended the humanity of all peoples, bar none.

    It was this same magnanimnous openness why so many Black Triniss supported and campaigned, and voted for Kamla’s government. Most of these, following the brazen and dismissive attitudes of Indian triumphalism now suffer from voters buyers regret.

    Many of them, ashamed to say they supported the PP, were terminated and saw their jobs given to Indians!

    So, let’s talk Mamoo!

    But talk truth which, like virtue, is its own reward. Truth is also the time and space occupied by eternity within which we as mortal can meet with the Divine, and ultimately with each other!

    • Neverdirty wrote “Even the government of Nepal passed laws making it illegal to rape and murder lower caste Dalits, something the government of India still balks on doing.”
      “So, many Indians–not all–praise people like Cheddi and Gandhi. And they did praiseworthy things. However, when both came to defending or upholding the interests and rights of Black people, they equivocated, Mamoo, they equivocated, stumbled, and in their own narrow racial interests, joined the ranks of our historic oppressors.”

      While you beat up on the poor dalits and indians who rescued Africa from colonialism, this is what has happened in Africa amongst your own people.
      African versus African.
      (1) Angola– 16 years of fighting, killed up to 300,000 people, a peace deal led to elections.
      (2)Burundi–Hutu-Tutsi violence in which an estimated 300,000 people, most of them civilians, were killed
      (3)Sudan–over 2 million killed in a very long civil war.
      (4)Rwanda–over 850,000 killed Hutu/Tutsi unrest.
      (5)Ethiopia–Mengistu had as many as 1.5 Million of his own people executed in just four years between 1975 and 1979
      (6)Uganda–Uganda’s first president, Milton Obote. His reign was marked by brutal repression, torture and other violence. ‘Bodies were found with genitals, noses, livers, and eyes missing. Prison camps began filling up with common citizens, where prisoners forced to bludgeon each other to death with sledgehammers’. Most sources suggest that around 300,000 people were killed by Amin’s forces
      (7)Congo–Kabila became president of the Democratic Republic of Congo when he led forces that overthrew Joseph Mobutu in 1997. Although he does not rank in the same league as Mobutu as a dictator, Kabila’s four year rule coincided with the deaths of around 3.3 Million people in the DRC.
      (8)Chad–Habre — His personally directed secret political police are also believed to have assassinated tens of thousands of political opponents
      (9)Guinea–when Guinea became independent in 1958 Toure said that ‘the Guinean people preferred poverty in freedom to riches in slavery’, but upon becoming its first president ‘Toure gave them both poverty and slavery’. Gulag style death camps were established by Toure in the early 1960’s and continued to operate for the whole of his twenty year rule. Many of Toure’s own elite class ended up being tortured and shot in these camps, such was Toure’s paranoia and his determination to maintain ‘a high level of internal repression’. Around one million Guineans fled the country during Toure’s rule, for both political and economic reasons. When he wasn’t terrorising people, Toure liked to write poetry.

      Neverdirty, you are a proud black appologist, can you name me one incident where Indians oppressed black people as you claim, taking into consideration the history of the African contenent.

      Here is how India deals with your African family…

      Taking its burgeoning ties with Africa to a new high, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Tuesday announced a massive $5 billion aid for the next three years and an additional $700 million for setting up new institutions and training programmes across the African continent.

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