By Makeda Mikael
Yesterday, May 25 2020, was African Liberation Day, now recognised by Africans in the diaspora and on the continent as Africa Day. As the only Africans in the diaspora who enjoy political independence and self rule, the Caribbean has often been a beacon of hope especially in the struggles for independence on the continent of Africa.
During the colonial days, it was Caribbean luminaries who established jurisprudence and institutionalised it by aiding in establishing law faculties in the budding universities in East and West Africa. Our own Antiguan, Justice Cecil Hewlett shone in Ghana, and so did our Justice Alexander of Grenada in Kenya, and later, our Sir Dennis Byron of St. Kitts in Tanzania. On nation-building and rejecting colonialism, we have our George Padmore of Trinidad, the father of Pan-Africanism, along with Edward Blyden of the V.I.; Dr. Walter Rodney of Guyana in Tanzania; our Marcus Mosiah Garvey of Jamaica; our Robert Nesta Bob Marley of Jamaica re liberating Zimbabwe, Angola, South Africa, and Mozambique, our own Tim Hector and all those unnamed of the Caribbean whose thrust for repairing what we have inherited from slavery, colonialism and struggle were directed to our continent, Africa.
Those of the reparations movements are having a rough time educating those who benefitted from our labour, and who after sugaring themselves and their bank accounts with our blood, sweat and tears, and who now refuse to acknowledge the debt. Clearly the time has come for the evidence to be presented whereby the dreadful past endured by our ancestors, and the abject wickedness of the white planter class and their off-spring, was handed down to their mulatto children who held economic power in the colonial days and passed it on to the politicians of today – we must name and shame their descendants who are alive and rich and powerful.
This British wickedness to enslaved Africans is actually written in perfectly kept records at the Public Record Office in London, and the libraries and many locations in the UK where the British were known for their excellent record-keeping throughout slavery – from the ships’ records, to the plantation records and the colonial period. So convinced was the planter-class and their overseers that they were correct in their abuse of humanity on the basis of colour and muscle, that they recorded their atrocities which posterity now can peruse in the Public Records in London. And yes, the copious records and personal papers of the gentry who owned enslaved Africans are all there. It is time we claim our name as registered in the records – Africans! Jews remain Jews wherever they go, even when enslaved and incinerated by the millions; Chinese remain Chinese as the expand all over the world. It is time for the Africans in the Caribbean to claim Africa as our home.
Four hundred years have developed a new people in this Caribbean today where the great-grandchildren of the slaver, the children of the planter-class and the wicked overseers known for proficiency with the cat-o-nine tails whip, and the colonial owners and their cartel from the other slave-trading First World, have all returned to Antigua and the islands of the Caribbean via tourism. This new generation of our evil past all now sit at their bars, restaurants, hotels and private homes in exclusive areas as they plan their New World Order.
Lest we forget the four hundred years that murdered millions of our African people like unto those of Pharaoh’s mud pits, and lesser so, those of Hitler’s crematories, we remind our African people that we may forgive, but never forget the worst of slavery for the longest period. The time has come for Africans in the Caribbean to demand Africa Day as an official holiday, and say to our lazy leaders, “Open the files and let every African know what atrocities were done to our ancestors! Let the truth be told of the savagery perpetrated against our people! Let us say loudly, ‘Never Again’ will we allow ourselves to be enslaved and colonised by another people!”