Editorial: African liberation is our liberation

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Today is African Liberation Day, and if we accept the notion that we are all one – that Africa is our ancestral home – then the liberation of that continent from Chinese control, foreign exploitation, and tyranny, nepotism, mismanagement and ‘sell-outism’ by black leaders, is our liberation as well. We cannot escape that fact. Be it in Brazil, England, the Dominican Republic, Sudan (thank God the Sudanese just got rid of Omar al-Bashir after 30 benighted years) Haiti, Cuba, Alabama, South Carolina and Antigua and Barbuda, we are all one. And, in varying degrees, we are all subject to the above-mentioned outrages. We are all of the same extraction. And as John Donne once said of our common humanity in NO MAN IS AN ISLAND, we will say of our common ancestry, (We have substituted the word ‘African’ for the word ‘man’.

“No African is an island entire of itself; every African

is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;

if a clod be washed away by the sea, Africa

is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as

well as any manner of thy friends or of thine

own were; any African’s death diminishes me,

because I am involved in Africa-kind.

And therefore never send to know for whom

the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.” 

So a pox on insularity and selfishness. Which is the tool that colonialists used to subjugate us. And which they are still using to manipulate us. Trump’s recent cynical Mar-a-Lago meeting with Prime Minister Holness of Jamaica, Prime Minister Chastanet of St. Lucia, and the leaders from the Dominican Republic, Haiti and the Bahamas is proof positive that the imperialists still aim to divide and conquer. We are weak when we are divided and isolated from each other; we will accomplish a great deal more when we band together. We need to be liberated from the Jamaica/St. Lucia thinking!

Meanwhile, we also pronounce a pox on pernicious and haughty notions of “shades of lightness” and “good hair” and “Indian and white in the family.”  Those are vestiges of self-loathing from our horrendous colonial and slavery past. Those who brutalized us, made it a point to indoctrinate us with what they said was our aesthetic and intellectual inferiority. We need to be liberated from that kind of thinking as well!

Much was stolen from us by a diabolical people who were wired for brutality and theft. We endured much – centuries of psychological trauma, dispossession and deprivation, but we are still here, and we are now demanding that which is rightfully ours. Much like the many African countries that were plundered and left underdeveloped by Europe, and that are now demanding a return of the loot, we are demanding reparations. French President, Emmanuel Macron, a visionary in that regard, recently declared at a university in Burkina Faso, “I cannot accept that a large share of several African countries’ cultural heritage be kept in France…Within five years I want the conditions to exist for temporary or permanent returns of African heritage to Africa.” Many British institutions are now of the same mind. So too, some of the Germans.

      Africans in the Motherland, and those in the diaspora, must be made whole and further liberated by way of reparations. In the words of the Permanent Court of International Justice, “[Reparations] must wipe out all the consequences of the illegal act and re-establish the situation which would, in all probability, have existed if the act had not been committed.” Hence the call by the Caricom Reparations Commission in its 10-point plan, which is increasingly resonating in capitals around the world, for “A formal apology, repatriation, an indigenous peoples’ development program, the nurturing of cultural institutions, [major help] with public health (a lot of our health issues are the result of our stress and poor diet during centuries of enslavement), illiteracy eradication, psychological rehabilitation, technology transfer and debt cancellation.” The late Cuban President, Fidel Castro, was a pioneering and tireless advocate for that last.

Clearly, our present conditions are the result of our dastardly past, as well as many of the dreadful leaders with which we are now cursed. We need to be liberated! And much of that liberation begins with a freeing of our minds. To that end, on this African Liberation Day, we will offer by way of encouragement, the words of a beautiful ‘jahlypso’ by Ras Kiyode Erasto dubbed, STRENGTH AND POWER:

1834, 1st August, Emancipation Day, oh yes

Ah-de struggle, struggle, struggle remember, don’t you dare forget

Ah-de struggle, struggle, struggle remember, don’t you dare forget

Honor to be black, honor to be black, honor to be black, sing dah song yah

Honor to be black, honor to be black, honor to be black, praise him

So we go fight, fight, fight de battle, ah-so we win de victory

Fight, leh we build on our ancestors’ legacy


Strength and power, when you know yuhself and yuh history

Roots and culture, straight from Africa, ain’t no mystery

Strength and power; we are who we are, not who you want we be

Roots and culture, absolutely, ah-so we set ourselves free

History tells a people where they must go

History tells a people where they must be

So we nar highlight the things that divide us

Forward leh we I-lebrate what unites us

African creativity, fortitude and bravery

African liberation – be free from slavery

Nar sell-out, sell-out, for de Babylonians are de enemy

That’s why I’m following his majesty, hear me, hear me

Play me some conscious music, play me some hopeful music

Play me some music to touch my soul

Watch me ah-dance pon meh two feet

King Short Shirt him did do it; King Obstinate him did it

King Swallow sing bout African liberation; yes, ah-true it

So don’t get caught by the beast; vanity, vanity, come on please

Globalization is just a big, big bag of cheats

Just like a thief in the night, destruction ah-go make them piss.”

Happy African Liberation Day! The struggle continues . . . .

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