Tag Archive for 'Selwyn R. Cudjoe'

Rogues & Lumpens

By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
September 24, 2017

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeThe Oxford French Dictionary defines “mentalities,” as “the attitudes of a group of people toward the world and their conception of their place within it; the modes of thought, beliefs, morals, etc.” My colleague Barry Lygate of Wellesley College’s French Department reminds me “first and foremost, this plural is a sociological term in French.” There is “no single English equivalent to ‘mentalities.'”
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Love a Donkey: Besson’s Independence Fables – Pt 3

By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
September 18, 2017

PART 1PART 2 – PART 3

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeBesson argues that Trinidad and Tobago’s independence venture failed because more than 30 percent of the African population left the country since1962. “These emigrants,” he says, “were mostly urban, secondary school educated, more or less middle class….At the same time, about the same amount of people or more than that of those who left, have come from the islands of the Caribbean.” He elaborates: “Those immigrants’ background were mostly rural and primary school educated. This unique demographic transformation has impacted on Trinidad and Tobago politically, socially and culturally, and has significantly diminished the identity of the AfroCreole [read black] sector.”
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Love A Donkey: Besson’s Independence Fables – Pt 2

By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
September 10, 2017

PART 1 – PART 2 – PART 3

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeIn “Independence Legacies,” Gerard Besson offers his reading of Trinidad’s modern history. He says: “From 1783, Europeans and Black people who were not enslaved… arrived mostly from French islands. Many were refugees, political enemies and strangers to each other.… After the British conquest of 1797 to this milieu were added Chinese, Portuguese, and African freedmen. Then after much miscegenation, some decades later, Indian indentureship commenced, and latterly [sic] the Lebanese and Syrians arrived” (my emphasis).
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Love a Donkey: Besson’s Independence Fables – Pt 1

By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
September 03, 2017

PART 1 – PART 2PART 3

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeI always marvel when relatively intelligent people say silly things about Africans and our past because of their color or class position. In “Independence Legacies” Gerard Besson offers a mishmash of information, which suffers from factual, interpretive, and definitional flaws. Besson is more concerned with trotting out an ideological position rather than with offering an analytical argument to support his contentions. It’s almost as though his “Creoleness” exempts him from treating his subject matter with the academic rigor it deserves.
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Forgetting and Remembering

By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
August 28, 2017

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeOn August 31, Trinidad and Tobago will celebrate fifty-five years of independence. As per usual, there will be an inspection of the members of the armed forces, perhaps a fireworks display (I really enjoyed this as a boy); and many people will troop off to the beaches.

We will also witness the passing of venerable tradition: the conferral of national honors on deserving citizens on Independence Day. Our President has decided he could get more bang for the buck by honoring deserving citizens on Republic Day. Dr. Robert Williams argues: “Handing out national awards on Republic Day is truly symbolic and more meaningful in building and strengthening nationhood” (Trinidad Guardian, August 23).
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Incompetence and Bad Judgment

By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
August 20, 2017

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeI had promised that I would not involve myself with the Ferry Imbroglio (an extremely confused, complex and embarrassing situation, full of trouble and problems) if only because the situation was/is so uncalled for and revealed such extraordinary incompetence on government’s part. The longer the problem persists, the more the government’s incompetence and the uselessness of its bureaucrats displays itself. I had hoped the government would remedy this situation by letting sunlight shine into the darkness.
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In Solid Support of Ancel Roget

By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
August 13, 2017

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeI am a child of labor. In any struggle between labor and capital, I locate myself solidly on the side of labor, since my family labored on the Orange Sugar Estates, Tacarigua, for almost two centuries. Their labor power was exploited ruthlessly by the owners of capital, which is nothing more than dead labor accumulated through the suffering and emasculation of millions of laborers. In Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844 (first translated into English from German by C. L. R. James, Raya Dunayevskaya and Grace Lee Boggs) Karl Marx pointed out capitalism estranges or alienates the laborer from the fruits of his labor.
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Beautiful Are the Souls of My Black People

By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
August 06, 2017

Ara romi o
My body is in pain
Ara romi Shango
Shango, my body is in pain
Ojo romi e e
The rain is falling on me [I am experiencing hard times]
Ojo romi Shango
Shango, the rain is falling on me [I am experiencing hard times.]

— Ella Andall, “Ara romi o”

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeI want to modify the title of Jeanne Noble’s book (Beautiful, Also, Are the Souls of My Black Sisters) to describe the wondrous display of African couture (exquisitely designed African dresses, elaborately textured head wraps, and intricately woven male fashions) that graced Port of Spain streets on Tuesday as black people wound their way from the Treasury Building to the Queen’s Park Savannah to celebrate the 179th year of their emancipation from slavery.
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Keith Rowley’s Glorious Moment

By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
July 31, 2017

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeLast Sunday, Jonathan Fenby, author of The General: Charles de Gaulle, suggested that Emmanuel Macron, President of France, was following closely in the footsteps of Charles de Gaulle, founder of the Fifth Republic, by using his office with the same majesty, grandeur, and decorum that de Gaulle did. He clarified: “Both are (or were) very well read, formally courteous and with an attention to detail. Though not as rousing an orator as the general, Mr. Macron uses speeches, as his predecessor of a half a century ago did, as instruments of pedagogy, notably with his address last weekend on the 75th anniversary of the round-up of Jews in Paris, when he did not hesitate to criticize de Gaulle by name for the pretense that the French authorities were not responsible” (Financial Times, July 22).
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The Four Ks of Our Destruction

By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
July 24, 2017

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeFor the past seven years the two Ks (Kamla and Keith) have ruled the land. On Tuesday they introduced two other “Ks” to the unsavory mix: Kamauflage, another kamikaze-like maneuver designed to hoodwink our people. Basdeo Panday, characterizes their approach as “playing smart with chupidness.” One could also use the French aphorism to describe their carryings-on: plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose: the more things change, the more they remain the same.
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