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VJL I am happy to see that you are alive and well and still reporting from the Belly of the Beast, with all your marbles intact. It is testimony to the undeniable strength of your African ancestry, who survived the horrors of the middle passage and produced offspring who not only survives but thrives in the dysfunctional society, ruled by Ivan the Terrible.
I rise at the behest of my good friend and comrade TS Selwyn, not to be confused with T S Elliot, with whom you may share cross Channel European ancestry. Selwyn is not feeling so well, having foolishly decided to try to become, what you learned fellahs will term a "teetotaler". Not being accustomed to blood of such low 'proof", his kidneys and liver rebelled, and he was forced to retire hurt, and resort to a diet of "Bus tea" morning noon and night.
That having being said, he was buoyed by the fact, that you remembered him even in the midst of basking in the glow of the spotlight, trained on your Louison ancestors, by the resident Historian Peter St Paul. For a minute there the intensity of the focus was rivaled olly by that of the Chumpster himself. Not being French or L'ansian or students of history, we the fellahs in de shop, decided to mind we own business and stay out of the fray, not having anything of value to contribute.
It was not until our sacred shrine, "The River, The River Antoine`, was mentioned that we sat up and took notice. I totally appreciate your response to those who have drank the "Kool aid" and wishes the horrors of slavery to "GO AWAY". Its a similar attitude to white Americans in the USA who do not want to be reminded that their forefathers, "did that", and spend a good portion of their lives sweeping it under the rug, along with racism, white supremacy, Jim Crowism and the oppression of blacks today. The irony is that they feel forced to deny history at the same time that they strive to celebrate and promote their history, The Founding Fathers, The Pilgrims, Thanksgiving, Columbus, The Flag, The Anthem, etc. etc.etc.
That your fellow Americans think in those terms is one thing, that Black Hen Chickens in Grenada is clucking like that is almost inexcusable. I say almost because like their Paler counterparts, they have all being the victims of mis-education, promulgated by those evil geniuses, who were intent on bending history, to suit their cultural, social and economic ends.
Having being relegated to the confines, described by Two Rivers, The Seine and the Thames, for most of my adult life, I am hardly in a position to pronounce on the "true History of Slavery", but an old school friend Joe, who paid attention in school, made something of himself and travelled widely, has a very interesting take on what the teacher was feeding our young minds all these years.
Starting with Columbus, Joe described him as a "genocidal Maniac, who brought a nightmare down on the Taino population of Hispaniola, wiping out almost the entire indigenous population. Then he talked about his travels in West Africa, where he spent some time observing the Juxtaposition of attitudes about slavery in Senegal and Ghana.
For those who mistakenly believe that the reincarnation of slavery will drive tourists away, you could not be more incorrect. Exhibitions based on slavery has done brisk business for years. The difference is that Senegal in which Goree island is located, the Gateway of the middle Passage through which millions of African slaves were shipped West, treats that Holocaust with scant respect.
When Joe visited several years ago only one small slave house which once housed less than 100 slaves, was used to tell their version. According to Joe, they displayed only two pairs of shackles which the tour conductor, stated was donated to them by the wife of the French president, Madame Giscard Distang. Totally ignored were the two massive fortresses whish dominated the small island and were rented out for storage, and small shops. That notwithstanding , tourists made the pilgrimage from the mainland by ferry, walked past the beaches and the tourist traps to see the pitiful display that the Senegalese offered. Not too far away in the very centre of the island is located a massive Cathedral, which protected the souls of the brave sailors and slave traders, which was administered by our own revered, throughout the Caribbean, Sisters of Cluny. Rings a bell?
Joe then recounted his experiences with Ghana's approach to slavery. He chose to describe it in Disneyan terms. Ghana he said, faced the "Slave experience head on. They spent millions restoring the slave Castles, and employed scholars and professional tour guides to tell the story, it was like "Slavery the ride". Ghana earns millions from tourists to "EL Mina and Cape coast castles annually, as well as the Prah River site, and many others. For those who do not think that iit is worth commemorating, take a trip , stand in the dungeons, and at the door of no return, like Joe did, then talk.
But thatc was only a few of the things they did not tell us. I was a big man before I learnt that the British method of repatriating those Africans who didn't want to stay to drink rum and coconut water on our lovely Caribbean beaches were summarily dumped in Sierra Leone, a place that none of them came from originally. Ah have to take one for meself and annodder one fuh me padner Selwyn. Oh, and long live de Louisons.