Annual ‘lip service’ day known grandly as ‘Emancipation Day’…

            ….Reparation is about confronting and dismantling the illegal acts of established and corrupt thinking around questions of ‘statehood’. In fact, it is the very notion of statehood, that perpetuated this crime, ‘legalized’ it and gained from it. Legally, they argued at the time, (and still do today), destroying lives, wiping out generations, (think genocide of the Indians) and deeming it fit to ‘protect and serve’ an idea of citizenship and humanity that was Euro-centric, ie false scientific knowledge from which the word ‘race’ and the destructive racist ideology surrounding it came. Why are so many black people I know personally, professionally,  so unclear about this? Is the state still not acting in illegal ways? 

(Posters courtesy of the Internet)

It’s official. Emancipation Day is like Christmas Day. A once-a-year journey into make-believe and all is well. One is the made-up date of the ‘birth of Christ’ the other is the end of ‘slavery’ (enslavement is the preferred word but many still automatically say slavery….conditioning I guess…and there is a difference in case you are wondering)…

Let me begin, with what many may see as disrespectful, my post on the plethora of ‘lip service’ blacks of all ilks out there that partake in the black-events calendars that now have pride of place in our so called assimilated and ‘multi-cultural/multi-ethnic societies’, that have gifted their ‘minorities’ a little ‘cultural space’ to acknowledge their marginal presence in white dominated (racist) societies.  I would also like to acknowledge the same for the ‘lip service’ brigades festering out there in post colonial, post enslavement small societies, like the Caribbean.  Annually, they acknowledge being black, African and  ‘aware’ that the very countries and/or islands they live in, that their ancestors, their bloodlines, came to those very shores chained and beaten. Good for them but isn’t there something fundamentally wrong with this picture?

I looked at the film…..The Birth of a Nation, by chance, again, last night. Because the diet of films that we traverse is about all kinds of western-centred angst, films like this have to be looked at…over and over..and taken apart and critiqued and examined… for a decade or so…until another one comes along and we go again. Diluting, questioning, probing, second-guessing, intellectualising and worse of all accepting this method…ie like voyeurs to gaze historically at something so macabre and bury it back into our scared subconcsiousness until the next film, documentary, whatever brings it up for us to chat about, get caught up in, usually for the length of the film and then forget it and move on. Some people might feel incensed to post a picture or meme about black/African affirmation and then move on.  I posted about Reparations on my blog, knowing full well that my ‘unpopular’ taste on topics, means no one will read it. So when I write about what I want to write, and not what ‘masses’ of sheep and goats out there want to read, then my chance of being ‘read’ are virtually non-existent.  Welcome to my world.

So I wonder why me, an Indian with a brown face, could have so much passion and belief in the question of Reparation of the illegal and dehumanised system of African enslavement and all..ALL of the black folks I know personally could at best manage a little lip service?? So African Enslavement is pre-history. Like Greek mythology. Pulled out, gazed at every so often and put back in the drawer..to be forgotten. Until that time again, when a ‘right-minded’ thinking, sometimes a white influential person or persons DECIDES it is a topic to be aired…again, we turn up and oooou and ahhhh…Why?? I am beginning to realize that true EMANCIPATION is perhaps the hardest thing for most human beings, no less for black people, who really, at this stage in human history, development, whatever the jazzy term is….NEED to master it. 

Why doesn’t any black person I know demonstrate passion, belief, commitment, interest in Reparation…but will go on about Black History month, eating green, finding God, ‘discovering one’s stolen African heritage’…and whimper along when the word, the idea, the possibility, the need, the supposedly complicated, difficult, minefield-ridden ….question of Reparation is mentioned?

Then I say wait. Hold up. Africans, whites, and in between …all, have signed up, accepted, unquestioningly received the ‘righting’ of Jewish atrocities. We all have! Too right. We can talk about it with ease. It is not a ‘socially unacceptable’ topic, to be aired only when a film is out, or some overt act of European nazism is shown or talked about or reported on…incessantly. YET….when naked anti black racist behaviour is exposed, it is only then we open our eyes, from our wasteful sleepiness….and then when it is over, we put back on our African Enslavement History ‘snooze button’ and wait for the next buzz. 

So I am asking myself….again….Why do I as an Indian (aware as I am of some African, blood in my DNA, hidden, but there) can feel this way, and I have never, ever encountered a black person, as a friend or even acquaintance…who feels this imbalance, this unresolved question, this unjust, damaging, in denial masterful deceit, trailing back from centuries, accommodated in our modern day hypocrisies like a grotesque lie? How come…my African heritage sistren and brethren? Is there something in the water I am drinking? Did it not happen? Did it not go on for hundreds of years, with no recourse? Is ‘lip service’ and an African head-tie all you can muster?  How come you don’t mention it, except occasionally yet you post and post and post and talk about health, wealth, being saved, living incredibly healthy and expanding your intellectual capacity through reading.

Why me as an Indian? Why Manville, as a half-white, believes? As he churns out his pleas for the Supreme Court, each time, turning him away, as we soldier on with research and putting together material, for a black ‘reporter’, to ask him, not what are you doing, but instead ask the monumentally stupidest, disrespectful question of all …’why do you go on about Reparation? “Why do you breathe”? He retorted. 

So I ask again, why have I not one single black friend (or foe, for that matter), who feels this historical imbalance, even some who live it, or are aware of many who are trapped in it, and still never feel the deep under-tow of this massive lie, this spectacular deceit of white establishment denial, of Reparation’s?  Why not even a willingness to wrestle with the complexity of it….yet preferring instead to topicalise, be pro-active, act ‘passionately’ about safer topics?  None of that makes the troubling question of Reparation go away. And it won’t. As someone said…or was it a dream…the world remains unbalanced if a crime goes unpunished…Enslavement, African Enslavement was a crime. A hideous, unforgettable, dehumanising crime that went on for hundreds of years. Spirits out there are waiting for their little share of justice. All descendants of enslavement need to be shown that their heritage and contributions to the first world nations is legitimate. That their lives, past and present have mattered. 

Ordinary white folks will never be able to make that extraordinarily brave leap into intellectual interrogation to question the very mythology of their own societies. Reparations is not about convincing them of that which they will not see, or accept, let alone embrace.  Reparation is a long delayed confrontation with a sustained set of STATE ideas that embodied deceit, hypocrisy, institutional criminal acts against a particular group of people for no other reason than the texture of their hair and the colour of their skin.  The real essence of it as a set of ideas, represents a break, a decisive cutting off of the inhumanity suffered, and which continues today. It is not just money or compensation.. And all kinds of contemporary adjustments and flare-up’s in the form of ‘civil rights’ and protest movements will never quench or reach down to the deepest, darkest, annals of the core underpinnings. The dirty, decayed birth seeds of the depraved pillars upon which, our racist contemporary societies of today exist. 

Reparation is not a diluted, watered-down, reducible ignorant infested debate about who pays whom, and who gets what, financial compensation is the ONLY WAY that many whites and blacks, ie lost blacks….(like what we have in the Caribbean intellectual field), have seen fit to sabotage and damage and dismiss the question of Reparation. Or those who say before African, the whites who were slaves. Or Africans sold out each other! Those same whites would echo more depraved statements about blacks today! Showing concretely the long, history of inherited racist thinking that still, however subtle and not-so-subtle, many whites believe and will not change. Reparation is not about engaging with them. Reparations is not against white people.  Who says that?!? 

Why too are so many NON-AFRICAN conscious activists, humanists, out there who also REFUSE to see this as a broadly humane question, and instead OPTING to stick to their particular ‘ethnic’ preoccupations? Will accepting and acknowledging the brutality of  African enslavement make the ugliness of Indian indentureship for example seem like a walk in the park, is that even a rational argument? Why not see it like this: because they got away then with African enslavement, the brutality of it, they developed a new way of carrying on the game of white supremacy. They re-enacted a diluted but dirty repetition of the brutality of enslavement which they were able to ‘manage’ better under ‘indenture ship’ because they had the experience of the preceding Africans before, on which to moderate and temper their bigoted thinking? Think about Reparation as a humanity issue not as ethnic by-standers that wants to enter into a debate about ‘my enslavement -v- your enslavement’….gross stupidity. 

Two historical dehumanising acts are too much for the world to accept and too dangerous to pretend that they ‘don’t matter’. 

The native north American Indians and the descendants of Africans cannot keep apologising and accepting ….”it’s in the past.” Being ashamed, coward, uncomfortable about something as horrifying and deceitful as genocide and enslavement is like giving up. The Jews did not do that. Their humanity is no greater than anyone else’s. They believed they should get justice and reparations and they did and they were right. They showed the world their pain. Their tragedy was our tragedy, as it should be. What is going on with the Middle East today, has nothing to do with the righting of the human depravity they suffered in Europe back then. 

Until blacks en masse could reach up to the standard of human decency defined by themselves, for themselves, for the historical inaccuracies and the unwillingness of white, racist thinking societies, via their state machinery to acknowledge and correct the way they have institutionalized practices towards the African presence in their midst, back in the history books up until now. Reparation’s main objective is to correct once and for all, this imbalance, this legacy of brutality that haunts us to this day. 

Why is such an objective something all the blacks and browns and one-between, but mainly the blacks….so at odds with this? Why only your annual ‘lip service’? Is your humanity less than that of a white, brown, or whatever colour we can come up with? 

It seems, given this stasis, this ‘fear’ this denial by so many..that Reparations is indeed dire.  I am here to say it will not go away and it will come to pass. It is the most pressing issue facing 21st century former slaving nations. Many will find this hard to accept or believe, but it is a fact.  So if you need a reason to celebrate, to overcome..walk the walk, not once a year, but everyday. We owe it to our forefathers and for those generations to come to demand reparations for that which was stolen, denied, and dehumanized in the most abhorrent and vile way. Stand on principle whatever your ‘race’ and believe.

Emancipation Day…

An open letter on Reparation – Legal proceeding update

“I am very glad that you have shown an interest for the action we are dealing with despite the initiative to sensitize the people of CARICOM about our problem which is to undertsand in the specific context of France and the French law system, the question of Reparation. The Commission of CARICOM for Reparation seems not to be very interested by the proceedings we are making to the French state. I have some difficulties to understand this, but it is a fact we have to deal with.  After eight years of a juridical fight we have come to a point where we need to give an international dimension to our action which concerns in reality all the Descendants of deported or enslaved Africans all over the world. As soon as you can prove that you have an ancestor who had contact with the French slave trader,that has spread all over the world, you are entitled to act against the French state. In the first place, naturally the people of the Caribbean countries where the French during more 300 years have been everywhere at least for a short or a long time.

France is very sensitive about its image and has always tried to censor all actions in direction of Reparation.

The paradox is that the actual Minister of Justice is one of the promoters of the question of the Statute of Slavery and has worked toward it being treated as crime against humanity, and yet she seems to be very reluctant to take the acion we are making against the French state pretending in contradiction, with her former Declaration that the law would be purely ‘memorial’. This state of affairs demonstrates clearly that often, politics and politicians are for the most part opportunist.

A few years ago, I wrote a personal letter to the PM of St Vincent and the Grenadines Minister, Ralph Gonsalves, who is leading the Reparation trail, in the English-speaking Caribbean. I met PM Gonsalves 20 years ago as a lawyer in a common case to explain to him our problem but he seemed not to have the will to know more about our legal actions here in the French Caribbean. Why…is a mystery to me, for whatever reason.
I must say, I was astonished to learn that CARICOM pretends to dismiss any claim of Reparation by France and instead, hired a London law firm for such a task, ignoring blatantly, the French lawyers who are acting in this direction and toward this cause for more than fifteen years. I think that the International opinion has the right to be informed about all that to be able to make its mind about the question of Reparation. In this regard, I am to your disposal to bring you more information and all the material you could need.

France presents this particularity among all the criminal states of Europe to be the only country in the world to have voted a law declaring slavery as a crime against humanity and as such, treat it as a crime. This law, (known as the Taubira law), was iniated by Miss Taubira who was, at the time, the Minister of Justice in the ruling French socialist government.

I must stress that this is the only legal precedent that currently exists around the question of Reparation and more importantly, the legal recognition of slavery as a crime and the implications of this for the French state to be sued for this inhumane historical act. Its particularity and specificity is to give a juridical and judicial basis to legally sue the French state and to support, a trial for Reparation.

The proceedings were introduced in May 2005 and for the past eight years we have been going to court to debate with the French state about the legal rights for Reparation and the damages resulting from the two crimes – the Slave Trade and the systematic Enslavement of Africans.

The Hearing which is a historical and unique case in the history of justice, was held on the 12th November 2013 before the court of Fort de France, in Martinique, which has been the centre in the ‘West Indies’ for the whole slave trade and system of enslavement of first Royal France, then later that of the French Republic, ironically claiming to be the defender of ‘human rights’ in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.

The judgement of the court was given on the 12 March 2014. We are still proceeding and will continue to appeal until this is dealt with.  During the hearing the position held by the French state was to deny its responsibility in the commission of the two crimes and to oppose the prescription of the action.

Another argument was that the Tuabira law was purely a memorial law without any juridical dimension. This position has been stated by the French Supreme Court in a case concerning a criminal proceedings and the judges who have decided are themselves the object of a criminal proceedings for discrimination. The French national press censored all of these proceedings from the beginning, nor did the local press out in the departments of France, made any mention of the proceedings against the judge. MIR is planning to introduce a new proceedings before the same court with Descendants of deported or enslaved people coming from different countries of the Caraibes (Caribbean) to internationalize the litigation

We are a group of lawyers fighting for the recognition of the judicial and juridical and legal rights of all descendants of the deported Africans who were captured into slavery to claim reparation legally. We are working to force the French state to repair not only in a symbolic way but materially as any criminal has to do when a victim is claiming reparation for his/her injustice.

We are looking at two main points:

1) In first place, the condemnation of the French state to finance an expertise to evaluate the full extent of the damages resulting from the two crimes on the basis of the memory duty which is clearly enounced by the law; and
2) In the second place, an approximate provision of €200 billion Euros on the global prejudice, claiming that the responsibility of the French state is not questionable, neither historically, nor legally as the Law Taubira proclaimed it clearly.

Should you require more information about our actions on this historical event or have any further questions arising out of this email, please do not hesitate to contact me.”

The dwelling

Thinking of all the research I’ve done before setting up my blog. Do’s and don’ts and posting indiscriminately is one of them. Not everything is worth posting..they say. I know that, so for all the things I do post imagine the amount I don’t!😐 So I’m saying sometimes you just post..regardless of what the ‘experts’ say. These days I have less to say and more to show (you wish😲)..because I am thrown in at the deep end in a house and yard resurrection…and by catching the ‘before’ and ‘after’ I’d have a good record of the value of work undertaken. And the frustrations and moments of  sudden joy at being enveloped in its ambiance too.  It’s an old house, longing to be reinstated to its palatial setting. Decades of full-on sea breeze, unrelenting tropical sun, humidity, storms, harsh weather often brought about by passing hurricanes. Ravished, neglected, faded. Not to mention the onerous life of the occupier who spends a great deal of time away from the house. So yes, sometimes forgotten…

On top of all the ‘nature’ assaults, a plethora of ‘man-made’ disasters added to the house’s burdens. Absent maintenance staff have added their bits to the house malaise. A small infinity pool with green water and other problems, because the ‘Pool-man’ is not committed to up-keeping his regular visits, thinking it seems that the pool is sensible enough to self cleanse and self-maintain. 🙄The yardman, the housekeeper. My thing is this: seeing as there are no residents, I wonder if she brings dolls into the house and plays dolly-house?!😵 I am painting a bad picture because it is what it is…

The malaise of bad work ethics afflicts us all …in the private and public sphere. No amount of socialising agendas, schooling, civic training can remove that innate sense of ‘unfairness’ that people inflict on each other, whenever they can. Human beings are so bad-mind it is not funny! The house will survive..not sure I will though..😟..and I can say after this experience…not I. Been there done it!

 

 

 

500 years…the birth of bad, bad thinking..

It occurred to me how many films they have made on the wars of Europe. About America’s post enslavement agitations, mostly, the myth of white pioneering spirit that was more barbaric, coarse and full of lies, than anything else. The exercise in deception continued, as they tackled 19th century conflicts. Conflicts caused because of their inter-greed and rivallry. The demonising, for example of the Russians, the Germans to name two…whom they were at ‘war’ with. Fighting among themselves…so many films were made about this sordid insight into their own civic and social unrest. Hundreds.

So I ask…. for the 500 years of African enslavement….centuries of human degradation…despicable acts carried out by white people, so called religious white folks, calling themselves  ‘godly’ ….inhumane acts and thoughts, specifically targeting enslaved African men, women and children, generations in captivity…you can count the films made about this period on two hands. Yet it was a period that lasted 500 years. And when I think of the plethora of ‘westerns’…that in itself became a staple in the US..so much so it birthed an European influenced version that we know as ‘spaghetti westerns’. They churned out these types of movies like hot cakes. Lies. Very few dealt with the genocide of the Indians. Instead they perpetuated the deceit. The wicked whites. Maybe in today’s quasi-equitable, covertly racist social settings, we are not supposed to talk about the collective white psychosis that unleashed so much atrocity (and continues to do so), on the world, on nations, on blacks, and other peoples of colour. Maybe we like to fool ourselves because we see the successful black faces here and there. But that’s not an indication that all is well. It’s the opposite.

White racist thinking is pervasive. Take the US…Trump can only be sitting ugly there because of the cracks in their false veneer of ‘we-are-no-longer-a-racist-society’ and that is just the US living their own special brand of delusional thinking. Europe and elsewhere they too remain wedded to white supremacist thinking, because whether they accept it or not, their modus operandi is to remain dominant at whatever cost….and racism and dominance are two sides of the same ugly coin.

Forgive me if I say that in my view, the white western psyche is a delusional set of thinking that has caused so much disharmony and distrust in the world. Look at the long history of war-mongering and its effects. Unfortunately, for us all, they are still in wilful, ignorance. There is no group or ‘community’ of people as consistently deceptive. Sorry for the fragile, self absorbed, nay-sayers out there, who might have a problem with this. Go off and cry. Boo-hoo… false modesty and denial, because many are misguided, and misinformed and that is what is the biggest impediment to progress. Part-time activism too is a joke. Racism continues to flourish because whites are not psychologically able to deal with the ugliness of historical and present day racist thinking and practices. Heaven help us as we continue to co-exist with their armour of wilful ignorance.