Wednesday, September 10, 2008

WHAT A SHAME, what a shame...


ometimes I wonder about us as a people, I wonder to myself why are we so messed up? Is it a case of post dramatic slave disorder, that we pay absolutely no attention to our past? In the past weeks I have posted entries on the violent history of the Notting Hill Carnival. The daughter of Trinidad’s Carnival, Notting Hill shares a similar history of resistance, and rebellion for West Indians, against an all powerful all oppressive establishment.

Like I said in the past, Carnival is not just about Jam and Wine, soca and pretty mas, it is also about oppression, and resistance and a celebration of the heroes who led this small West Indian community against the might of the old colonial masters for rights and freedoms, not in the heat of the West Indian Islands, but on the cold streets of the old masters backyard and won.

Even names like that of  the woman who founded the event we now call the Notting Hill Carnival, Claudia Jones while known by some is sadly not recognised or respected by others. Are we Caribbean’s the only ones who forget our heroes of the past, and present?

 

The reason I ask this question, is because of an incident that took place during the Notting Hill Carnival this year, onboard one of the floats. Toyin Agbeto was distributing, flyers campaigning for a 3 minute silence to be held in the memory of Trinidadian Black activist Claudia Jones who is also known as the founder of the Notting Hill Carnival, I myself got one of these flyers and thought it was a great idea to pay tribute to the heroes of yesterday whom without their sacrifices, and contributions, we as a people could not enjoy the freedoms we take for granted today.

Now Toyin Agbeto is also a hero of the people, for those who don’t know him he is the brother who last year, walked into the Slavery Bicentenary service at Westminster Abbey, where the then Prime Minister Toney Blair and the Queen of England sat in attendance and demanded from the two an official apology for England’s leading role in the slave trade and slavery in the Caribbean and the Americas.

Of course after such a stance against the summit of this countries establishment Mr Agbeto has been harassed by the Police, and other forces, as expected, close in on him.

So I was quite shocked and gravely disappointed, to read that during the Notting hill Carnival, this 21centry African voice, was attacked on a BBC 1XTRA float , what makes it worst are  the photos that show the t-shirts of the individuals on the truck...LAGNIAPPE .

 My question is, how can the very beneficiaries of Afro/Caribbean activism in the UK, in all ignorance, and without doubt arrogance   have a part to play in the attack, and humiliation of a present day hero of the afro Caribbean community?

This my friends is what happens when historic value and cultural knowledge   is replaced by chronic ignorance and hubris, when all we see in our selves is a good time, a sexy costume, and jam and wine, we implode attacking and rejecting the very root of our existence.

Forget about culture vultures, the people on that float in those red LAGNIAPPE t-shirts, are sad examples of the cancer that is eating away the very soul of our culture, what a shame.

 

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