Tag Archive for 'Selwyn R. Cudjoe'

Long Walk to Freedom – Part 2

By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
July 16, 2017

PART 2

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeThe Anti-Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg, South Africa, offers an excellent exhibition on the life of Nelson Mandela, the most recognizable person of the twenty-first century. On one of the walls there is a quotation that is attributed to Aristotle, the Greek philosopher. It reads: “Good moral character is not something that we can achieve on our own. We need a culture that supports the condition under which self-love and friendship can flourish.”
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Long Walk to Freedom

By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
July 10, 2017

PART 1

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeI spent four weeks in South Africa and Swaziland at the end of June and the beginning of July. These were some of the most educative and inspiring days of my life. I had followed the South African liberation struggle since the late 1950s when Miriam Makeba sang her freedom songs. In the 1960s I read Alan Paton, Cry, the Beloved Country and cried. Later I read Peter Abrahams Tell Freedom. It did not produce the same emotional impact on me.
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State Capture: Syrian/Lebanese Style

By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
July 02, 2017

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeLast Sunday Anthony Bourdain presented a well-researched, balanced, and superbly crafted depiction of Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) in his program “Parts Unknown.” All the interviewees portrayed T&T as a sophisticated, talented, diverse and intelligent community. Then, without much prompting, Mario Sabga Aboud, reminded Trinbagonians about a truth they know but rarely discuss publicly: The Syrian/Lebanese, a community of approximately 5,000 people, is the most powerful ethnic group in the country.
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Go to Timbuktu!!!

By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
June 27, 2017

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeMany Trinidadians and Tobagonians of my generation can remember when, in a rage or disagreement, an antagonist uttered the insult: “Go to Timbuktu!” It was a term that suggested one should be banished into ignominy and sent into the dungeon of stupidity.

Experience and education have taught me that Timbuktu, an important seat of learning between the 12th and 16th centuries, was one of the most important educational and cultural centers in the world. In its Golden age, the town’s numerous Islamic scholars and extensive trading network made possible an important book trade. There were campuses of the Sankore Madrasah, an Islamic university. At its height, as many as 25,000 students, a quarter of the city’s population, studied there.
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Visiting the Holy Land

By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
June 11, 2017

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeOn May 29 I flew from Boston’s Logan Airport to Ben Gurion Airport, Israel, via London, to attend the bris ceremony of my niece’s son. The flight to Israel was delayed for 15 hours because of a computer problem which stranded 75,000 British Airways passengers worldwide. But for the timely intervention of one of BA’s attendants, I would have missed this important religious ceremony: the circumcision and naming ceremony of my niece’s son.
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Brek-UP, Brek-DOWN Society – Part 3

By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
June 05, 2017

PART 3

Jasmattie live in bruk-
Down hut big like Bata shoe-box,
Beat clothes, weed yard, chop wood, feed fowl
For this body and that body and every blasted body
Fetch water, all day like if the
Whole slow-flowing Canje river God create
Just for she one bucket.

David Dabydeen, “Coolie Mother”

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeAll of us in Trinidad and Tobago were nurtured in Bruk-UP, Bruk-DOWN huts, big like a Bata shoe-box as David Dabydeen’s Guyanese example suggests. Even Eusebio Atanasio Valerio, an exemplary Amerindian ancestor, who documented his life in Sieges and Fortunes of a Trinidadian, lived in a hut in forested Arima. In Tacarigua, up until the 1960s, an Indian barracks stood at the back of the Orange Grove Sugar Estates (OG). Twelve of the first batch of Indians who came to Trinidad in 1845 were sent to OG where they joined the 265 African workers who were employed there at the time.
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A Brek-UP, Brek-DOWN Society – Part 2

By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
May 29, 2017

PART 2

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeSooner rather than later I am going to ask Reggie Dumas to take the Trinidad and Tobago Government (T&T G) to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for their wanton destruction of historic sites in our country. In September of last year the ICC sentenced Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi to nine years in prison for “‘intentionally directing’ attacks on nine Timbuktu’s mausoleums and the centuries-old door of its Sidi mosque in 2012.” The judge hoped such a stiff punishment “will deter other attacks on heritage sites around the world.” (London Guardian, September 27, 2016)
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Spreading Planter Propaganda

By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
May 21, 2017

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeI am sorry I am only now getting back to Kamal Persad’s response to my article, “Getting It Right” (March 26). I noted: “While Indians were treated in a horrible, inhumane manner…, there is no doubt the Indians were brought to Trinidad to undercut the progress that Africans were making at the economic front.”
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Living in a State of No-Whereness

By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
May 15, 2017

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeOn August 1, 1849, the Friends of Freedom sponsored a dinner at Juteaux’s Building in Port of Spain to celebrate the anniversary of their emancipation. Two hundred and fifty of the most distinguished black and colored citizens attended the dinner. Only three government officials (white) attended: the registrar of the Supreme Court, the clerk of the Petty Civic Court and the police inspector. The celebrants were joyous at having been emancipated and proud of the achievement of their race in spite of the obstacles that had been placed in their way.
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Choisir La France (Choose France)

By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
May 10, 2017

Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe“Grâce à Dieu [Thank God!]” many French people cried when it was announced that Emmanuel Macron had trounced Marine Le Pen in Sunday’s presidential election. Aware of the great divide in his society (Le Pen received 34 percent of the votes), Macron declared in his victory speech: “My responsibility will be to unite all the women and men ready to take on the tremendous challenges which are waiting for us, and to act. I will fight with all my power against the divisions that undermine us, and which are tearing us apart” (New York Times, May 7).
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