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Ohhhhh snap! Now he gone and done it! When outgoing PSC Chairman Nizam Mohammed spoke before the joint select committee of parliament, he struggled to convey an appreciation for the sensitivity of race. His own political party condemned his statements, senior police officers concluded that he must resign, unions demand the same, the opposition, the clergy, the Kiwanis, Greenpeace and so on.
Other insidious elements thriving beneath the cloak of online anonymity used the fire ignited by Nizam to rekindle their own parochial agendas, even to foment some smatterings of bigotry which can still be found if you wipe the ‘rainbow’ from your eyes.
I personally believe that honest debate about issues of race is needed so that we can finally trash this ‘all ah we is one ethos that is administered like a suppository at every turn. Let us just be open and honest about the cultural misgivings that hide behind clenched teeth masquerading as a smile! Let it all out! The pressure has been since the birth of our nation with the arrival of indentured East Indian labourers and ‘dentured’ Africans who were forced to endure the horrors of early, unrefined dental practices. No one talks about the Syrians who were brought here and sent into haberdashery exile, forced to roam the country, going house to house. Their only desire was to inject a little sophistication into our drab, post colonial lives by offering the finest drapery materials and household knickknacks.
And how did an ungrateful nation reward them—while we enjoy lives of relative ease, members of the Syrian community have been condemned, through generations, to a life of unceasing work. They are yoked with the unrelenting toil of tending to their empires which have overtaken the land like climbing vines, nourished by our insatiable demand for high top sneakers and brand name jeans without which a Movado concert simply cannot take place. In recognition of the plural nature of our society our politicians don garments (fabric supplied graciously by the Syrian community) reflective of Indian observances or African celebrations. But where is the clothing to represent our Syrian brothers and sisters?
On emancipation day the Prime Minister’s head looks like the wrapping of a fruit basket, but she will not clothe herself in the attire of the Syrian community? Why is it that she will not wear Anne klein, Donna Karan, Givenchy, Michael Kors suits in honour of these people in our midst? Why will she not allow herself to be driven in the customary carriage of these people…..the range rover sport vehicle? Is our Prime Minister above them? Honesty is the only real means to confronting the race bogeyman. What about the residual French creole? The planter class came to this country and sowed the seeds of our veritable economic boom in agriculture. Were it not for them, we would never have known the feeling of still being enslaved, long after emancipation.
That’s gratitude for ya! No appreciation for heritage. Throwing the baby out with the bath water! Just make sure that you pick up that baby before the boss lady comes by. Slavery may be over, but that proclamation said nothing about a whippin’ under the caimate tree. French creole transplants gave our country early infrastructure and even culture. Where do you think the Dame Lorraine came from? Workers were entertained by the French getting all gussied up for evening soirees at their grand estate houses, while the cocoa pickers looked on from the comfort of ‘structurally sound’ accommodations across the way.
Today the French creole influence is alive and well! Without them, the term, ‘down the islands’ would simply be ‘the islands’. You may ask, “But where are they? I never see them.” Well that just means you live on the right side of their wall. If however, you are really interested, just check out tribe at carnival time, they come out like termite with wings after a heavy downpour.
They also gave us the St Joseph’s Convent accent: are yawl-a going to zen tonite-a? Are you mad-a! They let everyone in there-a you know-a. Aw shucks, I’m not good at it; don’t have enough of that ‘good hair’. That brings me to ‘late for school hair’, why are our African brothers and sisters so vilified in this society? Sure they comprise the majority of the work force (the word ‘work’ as applied here is to be loosely interpreted) in the public service and no matter where you go in any department in the Board of Inland Revenue for whatever form you seek, you can rest assured that that particular form resides with the person, who only moments before, you had asked for said form. Oh dear! Those crazy cats will spin you around in a brand of bureaucracy so refined that by the time you unravel it, it’s 3 o’clock and you will be chewing your pressure tablets and answering your own echo because everyone is long gone.
What do you want from people who have it imprinted in their genetic code that the only incentive to work is the surprise of a whip landing on the back as a sweat-beaded slave pauses in the midday sun to catch himself after tilling the rock laden soil? It is not their fault that no one is willing to wield a whip anymore and consequently, we can’t get any work done. Hey, the colonial powers set it up that way. At any rate, you try carrying around a placard in the blazing hot sun for a couple hours and see how productive you would be after all that marching! As for the East Indian community, one can appreciate that they have been able to dominate in the spheres of law and medicine, so it is no doubt a source of consternation that something as simple as the police service they have not been able to excel in as well. Perhaps Indian parents might want to consider lowering their expectations for their children and have them choose the police service over the medical profession if only for the sake of getting Sat Maharaj to shut up.
For too long we have failed to acknowledge the needs of this sector of our society. All of the oil money that has flowed through this country and we still cannot have benches installed at intervals along the nation’s highways so that when our Indian brothers and sisters are heading to the beach on the weekend and the curry duck callin’ out to them from the trunk of the car, they can sit on comfort to eat instead of the indignity of leaning against the crash barrier with sweet plate in hand. For better or worse we are stuck with each other and like Benjai said, for the most part, we make good company. Think about it, we are cussing each other out on the radio shows; in another country it would be civil war. By Friday we are ready to reason over a bottle of puncheon—and you know how dem Indian like dey puncheon! So what! Ent Guinness is black man kryptonite and whose does smoke more weed dan...
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