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Thank you Peter St Paul

A big "thank you" to the magnificent research that Peter St. Paul has been doing on our ancestral Grenadians. Unless I have a scholastic paper to write, I find it difficult if not impossible to sit and research original documents. So again sir, big-ups" to you as the youths would say.

One of the more revealing and interesting articles that you posted was "Myth and History. A must read for WE." From my perspective the most telling point of Gerard Besson's is:

“It can be argued - and has been argued - that all written or recorded history is essentially a form of myth. Any historical account is oriented towards the needs, attitudes and values of the time in which it is composed, not the time to which it refers. Any historical account is necessarily selective, including certian elements, omitting others.
History consists not only of facts and events. It also consists fo the relationships between facts and events and the interpretation, often imaginative, of such relationship."

So-called scholarly works are often praised for their non-bias and ability that separate truth from fiction. While that should be the ultimate goal, I like Mr. Besson did, will argue that it is a goal that's virtually impossible to reach. The mere fact that there are differing versions in History books of the story of slavery for example, should help us to understand that while a fact may be indisputable, how it is told cannot be devoid of opinions, references and yes, myths too.
Read Lerone Bennett Jr.'s historical writings on Abraham Lincoln and you'll be reading an entirely different perspective of the so-called Great Emancipator. For while Lincoln is generally praised for freeing the slaves, Bennett asked how can anyone be praised as a great emancipator when that same emancipator commented that if he can save the Union without freeing the slaves he would do so, just as if he can save the Union by freeing the slaves he would do that too. "Wey he heart de dey?" as we Grenadians would query.

Why is it so hard if not impossible to find that telling comment from Lincoln in most History books that sing his glory? Why did they choose to leave it out? It's not difficult to conclude that the point in the story they were writing would have been impossible to maintain if that comment was included. They therefore had to leave it out.

Bennett's point is that the greatness of Lincoln was that he was the Great Savior of the Union, rather than being the Great Emancipator. Nothing else was as important to him as saving the Union. That was his singular interest. Therefore freeing the slaves was merely incidental to making sure that the Union was kept together regardless of the means used to achieve it.

Another example of facts being indisputable occurred after the fight between Mohammed Ali and the Argentinian boxer Oscar Bonavena. One Toronto newspaper reported that Ali won, but it took him 15 rounds to do so. Another newspaper reporting on the same fight wrote that although it took Ali 15 rounds, he still won.
The same undeniable fact was reported, but two differing versions of the appraisal of the greatness of Mohammed Ali emanated. What then is written History?

Thanks again Peter, for those beautiful historical articles, but an especial thank you for Gerard's Besson's "Myth and History."

Re: Thank you Peter St Paul

Thanks Tony. It is wonderful when discussions on these VERY sensitive matters can be discussed with such civility.

I agree totally with Bennett’s view that Lincoln’s goal in the Civil War was keeping America the United States of America and Emancipation was just a side action to achieving that goal. It was the guilt and dirty stain of Southern Slavery that required the need to manufacture this image of Lincoln so that the United States could move forward united and try and leave the past behind. It is a historical event that defies the old saying “The Truth shall set you free”.

Political expediency is deeply rooted in any nation’s drive to develop an image of itself. Today a new breed of Southern Politicians in the USA find it politically useful to get elected and stay elected with calls for removal of all Confederate Rebel symbols we find all over southern states of America. But it is yet politically valuable to call for the removal of all statues and monetary images of the great George Washington who is well known that have had numerous numbers of enslaved Africans as he and his wife’s personal property.

Last week with the stroke of a pen, and surrounded by all white men, one old woman, and Little Maco, Trump signed away two years of constructive engagement created by Obama between the USA and Cuba involving millions of lives in Central America and the Caribbean who struggle daily to make ends meet simple because he HAD to fulfil a campaign promise. Imagine that! And the world stood by silently. The human rights of these world citizens who meant nothing to them. What has happened to all the solidarity and Third World progressivism we claimed to have accomplished in the struggles of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s? Rich developed European nations can send their military in ANY of what we use to call Third World Countries and remove by any means necessary their leaders and political and religious system. Without opposition. Even as the contradictions are blinding supporting the reasons for their actions. Dictatorship in Egypt is acceptable while in Syria it needs to be destroyed to let freedom reign. Where is the United Nations of the world judgment of Justice and morality? I find this situation to be extremely frightening for non-Caucasian nations. So contradictions have become a global phenomenon. And even more depressing it’s all happening at a time when we are all linked together via the WWW to be witnesses to these social atrocities and injustices.

On Gerard Besson. I had stumbled over his Caribbean History website before but never really gave him much study until this week. It turned out that he descended from a Jean Francois Besson from Grenada who was hung by the British on October 12th, 1797. All his surviving relatives were banished to Trinidad. He is considered one of T&T most prolific writer on Afro-French-Creole history and cultural heritage. His book “The Cult of the Will” has made him a controversial author and has generated a new more in-depth interest in Eastern Caribbean People’s and their Afro-French-Creole heritage. I intend to get a copy and read it so I cannot pass judgment as yet. I have read the www discussions on it but I will reserve my opinion until I read the book myself.

Review of Gerard Besson’s book – The cult of the will