MIXED UP PRIORITIES -
By Monte Pratt
"I believe in the old because it shows us where we come from - where our souls have risen from. And I believe in the new because it gives us the opportunity to create who we are becoming." ~ Abigail Washburn
Over the last decade the 'Columbus statue removal' has from time to time 'popped' in relationship to another noted 'historical event', such is the case in Dr. Gilbert Morris' post here. As he noted, it began with his earlier post: the “Decolonisation of the Bahamian Mind”.
I note 'there has never been to any concerted effort for a 'focused movement' for ... as Doc notes "mean nothing if our people’s thoughts were aligned against their own interests'. Based on Doc's pontification on this gnaw away 'subject matter' goes beyond the 'Columbus statue removal'.
Also, "to be considered, the demand to remove monuments, apply to lawyer’s wigs, to knighthoods, to QCs, to The Commonwealth, Anglican Church and the Queen? Or does our voices of defiance trail off to shameful silence when the true implications of what we demand come into view?"
This leads to my point of 'mixed up' priorities. Instead of 'tearing down' should we, Bahamians should be focused on 'building up' by embracing two key historic events that should be embedded in the annals of our 'Black' Bahamian history?
The first historical event, as a key component of the 'Majority Rule' Movement, In 1962, on the eve of a general election, at the request of the Party, it was Dr. H. W. Brown, who invited Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to serve as the guest speaker at a “mammoth service on the Sunday night before the election”. Coinciding with the historical 1962 general election was the 'first-time women were allowed to vote' in The Bahamas.
The PLP did not win the 1962 election, but this was the 'embryonic stage' of the 'Majority Rule' Movement, in the nation ending over 300 years of white minority rule.
The second historical event, the 'Bahamas Standing By Nelson Mandela'. At The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in 1985 in Nassau' The Bahamas Prime Minister Sir Lynden Pindling, as chair, steered the meeting to that end. It was sanctions - started by the Commonwealth and pushed into the United Nations - that eventually crippled the South African apartheid regime, drying up loans from the international market and deterring investment.
The Bahamas is remembered by historians as the 'turning point' of the Commonwealth's struggle with Britain's Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in her obdurate opposition to 'sanctions' against apartheid South Africa.
Sir Lynden Pindling, as chair, steered the meeting to that end. It was sanctions - started by the Commonwealth and pushed into the United Nations - that eventually crippled the apartheid regime, drying up loans from the international market and deterring investment.
Led by Prime Minister Pindling, The Caribbean's drive for Mandela's freedom and the end of apartheid came in other forms - like from the region's leading musical icons, for example, 1976 Jamaica's Bob Marley (War) and 1977 Peter Tosh (Apartheid).
The concluding point that I am making here, do you 'rip a book' out of the Bible if you don't like its contents?
Should our focus be on 'Columbus' notorious history' and his statue? But rather on publishing the chronicles our 'direct' historical relevance to two of the most internationally revered 'Global Heros'... Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Nelson Mandela?
In most cities of the 'free world', there is an erected Nelson Mandela statue and/or a 'Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr Boulevard'.
Yet most of these country/cities have no tête-à-tête 'historical connection' as we do in The Bahamas with these 'Global Heros'.
Yet, the focus is on the 'Columbus statue removal'. Indeed we as a 'people' have MIXED UP PRIORITIES.