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GC 08/01/2007 & Bharrat Jagdeo’s Emancipation Day Message - such hogwash

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  • M'lilwana Osanku
    I am of the opinion this editorial is nothing but hogwash – utter foolishness – pure poison. It is politicizing an event and demeaning Africans and a
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 2, 2007
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      I am of the opinion this editorial is nothing but hogwash – utter foolishness – pure poison. It is   politicizing an event and demeaning Africans and a blow against nation building in Guyana .
      Frankly; the article and Bharrat Jagdeo’s  Emancipation Day Message are  both inaccurate and garbage. That is simply stating the  fact of the matter.  Both portrays poor research and documentation.
      I believe it would be best if the editor of the Guyana Chronicle, Bharrat Jagdeo’ and his writers did not expose the disrespect felt for the Africans experience in Guyana . They are ridiculous at best.
      “On the 1st August, 1838 (Emancipation Day) the praedial labourers of British Guiana became absolutely freed”.
      Dr.  John Edward Godfrey (b. 1858), Surgeon General of British Guiana , 1912.
      “In 1834 the system of Apprenticeship created a great change in the feudal relations of master and man; the latter were no longer slaves. This partial freedom did not, however, satisfy them. They desired to be absolutely freed, and gave much trouble to their employers.” Dr.  John Edward Godfrey (b. 1858), Surgeon General of British Guiana , 1912.
      Source: Godfrey, the Hon. Dr. J. E., M.B., C.M., (E.D.), SURGEON GENERAL
      Village Administration and Local Government in British Guiana TIMEHRI: The Journal of the Royal Agricultural and Commercial Society of British Guiana ([Vol.2 Third Series - December, 1912] pages. 337 - 355) Publishers: The ARGOSY Company, Limited.)
      The Emancipation of Slavery in British Guiana took place on Wednesday, August 1, 1838.
      Reverend James Richard Moore delivered the major speech marking the 50th anniversary of The Emancipation of Slavery in British Guiana in August 1888 in Georgetown .
      Please respect Damon and the others on the Essequibo Coast .  Our history is documented.  consult Cameron and Rodney.  Read the Daily Argosy and the Daily Chronicle of 1888 and 1938. stop the inaccuracies and demeaning of our heritage – will you?
      H.E. President Bharrat Jagdeo on the occasion of the Emancipation Day, AUGUST 1, 2007
      Emancipation   Day is a celebration in recognition of the 173rd anniversary of the abolition of slavery. This is certainly a momentous event that symbolizes the dawn of freedom and a time to experience and practice essential humanity. This day should always be remembered since our ancestors were robbed of their fundamental rights to dignity and respect as human beings; a right that we now enjoy, full and final freedom!
      Today, there is much to celebrate; we will focus on the 200th anniversary of the Abolition of the Trans Atlantic Trade in Captive Africans.  Earlier in the year, on 26th March, at the national bi-centennial commemoration, I committed my government to addressing the sensitive issues of the trade, captivity and human abuse which characterized the system of plantation slavery by ensuring that the dastardly experience is never forgotten, not just by the affected section of our nation but by all Guyanese. Emancipation was also the beginning of another abominable system, that is, African apprenticeship and indentureship that brought the Indians, Chinese, and Portuguese to these shores.
      Hence, in the words of the late national poet, Martin Carter, we are all involved.  Also on that occasion, I committed my government to zealously pursue, both within the region, at the level of CARICOM and at all international fora, the case for reparations.  The first world has found it prudent to offer effusive apologies. Now they must be persuaded, and if necessary, pressured to honor their obligation.
      Africans have made their mark on the social and cultural fibre of Guyana . The African story is one of resilience and strength.  But the most important lesson that we as a nation can learn from them is that in Unity anything can be overcome and great gains won.
      On the occasion of this national anniversary, the Government of Guyana joins with the rest of the Guyanese society to salute the struggles of our African ancestors.  It is fitting that we, as a nation, should seize on this moment to reflect on their pain, suffering, and sacrifice. But even, as we re-visit the horror and share in the pain, trials and tribulations of the past, we should commit ourselves to a collective resolve to consolidate the gains of freedom, to live in the future and together create a society in which all are equal and all can share equally.

      jpdtrjude@... wrote:

      From: jpdtrjude@...
      Date: Wed, 01 Aug 2007 23:58:01 -0400
      Subject: [descendantsofsancho] GC 08/01/2007
      Guyana Chronicle Editorial
      August 01, 2007
      Welcome to the Editorial Page for Wednesday, August 01, 2007
      Emancipation 2007
      Welcome to the Editorial Page for Wednesday, August 01, 2007
      www.guyanachronicle.com/editorial.html - 20k - Aug 1, 2007
      It is a particular quirk of Guyanese history that every major Emancipation celebration in Guyana did not begin after Independence , but in fact coincided with the ascendancy of the People's Progressive Party/Civic (PPC/C) into power in 1992. 
      Prior to this, the only significant Afro-Guyanese focused organization was Eusi Kwayana's African Society for Cultural Relations with Independent Africa – and despite the presence of "cultural" in its title, this particular society was more political than cultural in nature.
      The post 1992 African cultural renaissance did not begin as a state-sponsored event but grew out of the efforts of grass-roots activists like Lori Alexander, of the National Emancipation Trust (NET), and Violet Jean-Baptiste of the African Cultural and Development Association (ACDA), among others.
      The timing here is clear.  African cultural awareness on a coordinated national scale had, ironically enough, its genesis, in the coming to power of a political leadership supported in overwhelming majority by Indo-Guyanese.
      If it was an indictment of groups like the ACDA and NET that they did not see the need for the celebration of African cultural prior to 1992, they have in the past fifteen years exonerated themselves beautifully.  Because of their efforts, Afro-Guyanese – the ethnic group whose awareness of cultural origins suffered most from blunt force trauma of our collective colonial past – have seen the rekindling of a ghost of the memory of what they had lost as a people. 
      It is time to take this journey a great leap forward however.  For those who ascribe to the notion of a perpetual Emancipation of the descendants of Africans in Guyana , the time has come to develop a self-contained, self-sustaining sense of identity.
      An identity defined in opposition to some threat, real or perceived, is no identity to speak of.  It either collapses with the removal of the perceived threat; assumes a complacency when there is the perception of a favourable environment, as obtained in the post-Independence era; or more ominously, specifically because of its inherent malleability, is easily transformed into a vehicle for misplaced hate and violence. 
      African Emancipation in Guyana therefore must focus not on the empty mimicking of customs imported and labelled on an ad hoc basis, not on the annual donning of ethnic garb that serves as entertainment, as opposed to true cultural awareness, or even ritual and ceremony.  The only way that substance can be given to all that takes place today and over the next month is if Education becomes the underlying theme of Emancipation 2007 commemorations.
      The Emancipation of Slaves in the former British West Indies occurred almost two hundred years ago.
      The national acknowledgment and commemoration of this Emancipation is unfortunately only fifteen years old. 
      We have roughly a century and a half of catching up the bridge this divide.  Today is as good a day to start as any.

      Guyana's 1905 Rebellion - Nigel Westmaas

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