Africa, Ancient Egypt, Ethiopia and the Emptiness in the West

ancient egypt hieroglyphics

The topic of black identity in the West is something that has been furiously discussed for decades though not in the mainstream media. Nonetheless the literature is there, it points in numerous directions but leads to one certainty. The identity of Africans in the old new world is so diluted, artficial and ridiculed that many blacks or anyone else for that matter can’t define what it means to be black.

To be of African heritage in the West means you define self through a historical context not written by your own hence self image and perception by others lie in the historical work of racially charged and turbulent history under Western regimes.

The point a lot of people miss is that opinions often are not simply based on how you just get up one day feeling. No instead it is as a result of series of observations and readings which have lead you to believe in particular ideas from which you craft your own reality.

Now imagine the reality of a people oppressed and starved of vital intellectual and cultural capital for 500 years.

Now acknowledge the fact that all the writers of history in this society were thought to be racist and behaved as such.

Think about the fact that in the midst of all of this the printing press came into full force to deliver poisonous vitriol to all corners of the Earth and the readers teaching their descendants these same foolishness.

Even more scary is the fact that an enslaved bloc of people who have no sense of self reserve these feelings towards their children and themselves. Just think how twisted the psyche of these people were, in fact recognize the fact that many still hold these beliefs today, even black people.

This is where understanding of Africa, Ancient Egypt and Ethiopia helps tremendously to fill the void in black people in the West.

African Queens Painting - African Queens Fine Art Print - Glenford John

African Queens Painting – African Queens Fine Art Print – Glenford John

The reading and understanding of African history written by Africans can serve as a tremendously empowering experience, so much so that some of the people of Jamaica and now the world have come to a point where they seek fulfillment and knowledge by exploring a cultural space once though lost.

In Rastafari the understanding of history “through ones own spectacles” manifest in the ideas, identity and lineage of His Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia. The rastaman uses Haile Selassie as the nucleus of their existence; in doing so they can redefine themselves as Africans independent of the colonial experience. This is paramount in the Rastafarian frame and is worlds away from the strange misunderstandings that many people hold of rasta as only pot heads.

The same reinvented thinking can be applied to Ancient Egypt which serves as an in your face testament to the fact that Africa was never a poverty filled wasteland; not then and certainly not now. Not only in Ancient Egypt but all throughout Africa where in the 1500’s European sailors commented that African iron smelting was on par with and in some instances ahead of the practices in Europe. In Uganda many were surprised to the fact that naked Africans were performing what would come to be known as the Caesarean section. During the procedure the woman was wide awake and felt no pain thanks to the powers of traditional herbs.

The examples are all over Afrika like in the Sudan or the Land of Kush where smaller scaled pyramids stretched across the land. The issue with the fact that Africans for the most part were scantily clad makes no sense and is nothing but mere manifestations of ethnocentric views; if the sun is so hot what the hell would you be doing in a three piece suit?

All of these facts can aid the cultivation of lush thinking in the otherwise empty spaces of black people and everyone for that matter with respect to real black history. From what I’ve seen from the text books. Black children from the Caribbean, North and South America are taught that their history begins with slavery which can be overwhelming damaging to the self esteem of these children who already feel insecure about the fact that they are societies literal, “black sheep”.

Regardless we press on arming ourselves with knowledge on the way.

Buju Banton – Til I’m Laid To Rest Lyrics

‘Til I’m laid to rest, yes
Always be depressed
There’s no life in the West
I know the East is the best
All the propaganda they spread
Tongues will have to confess

I’m in bondage living is a mess
I’ve got to rise up alleviate the stress
No longer will I expose my weakness
He who seeks knowledge begins with humbleness

…..

Advertisements

Jamaica, a State of Contradiction

poverty in jamaica caribtorch

As we draw to a close of our 50th year of “independence” one simply cannot ignore the fact that we are a country filled with a myriad of contradicting views, lives and sense of nationhood and identity. From the luxury of Tryall Estates to the God forsaken poverty of the Rivoli dump the pages as you skin through Jamaica’s social composition seem to be mismatched and organized by an intoxicated infant.

Jamaica was the envy of small and medium sized countries in the 1960’s, Jamaica’s economy was growing at highes of 10% annually. The  labourites under Bustamante, Shearer and Sangster were in good command of economic policy. The problem with this growth was that it was going to the few, the few who had been in control of the masses of capital for centuries. Recognizing this political opportunity Michael Manley declared that a “black man time”  and it’s time for a change and “betta mus come”.

In reflecting on Manley’s rhetoric compared to his actions it is abundantly clear that he was just another politician doing what politicians do. While his heart may have been in the right place, this man was a complete failure even Ian Boyne a PNP speech writer had to admit this fact in the midst of one of his glowing columns in the Gleaner about Manley being Jamaica’s greatest leader. *hiss teet, move an gweh*

He built a cabinet which was lacking utility and sustenance. He was lost and didn’t know what the blutclaat he was doing. So he begged the Cuban Fidel Castro for assistance. But as we all know the United States and Cuba didn’t have any relations then and Jamaica and Manley had to be punished by Washington’s hegemonic whip for seeking aid in nation building by someone they didn’t like.

So amidst all the talk of communism in Jamaica the electorate began to stray from Manley and in 1980 the JLP’s Edward Seaga, a pro American, Harvard educated and very stern capitalist took the mantle. What resulted was the invasion of American firms and the re-institutionalized US dominion of  Jamaica. Sweat shops followed, and disturbances to the structure of trade unions.

Strength of trade unions what had built the initial JLP which had swayed from it foundations to suite global one way flow of revenue. After Manley retook Jamaica in 1989 with new capitalist initiatives he made a prophecy that would actually hold, “as long as I’m alive you will never see power” in reference to Seaga. Seaga never regained power.

What followed next was Mr. PJ “Black Prince” Patterson who effectively destroyed Jamaica’s financial sector, including his own bank. 😆

He also contributed to another self destructive saying in Jamaica,”Black man can’t do business”. He was yet a another FAILURE!!! But the people loved him and gave him power for 18 years!

Today after several more leaders the economy has been anemic for 40 years, we hate our culture, the way how we speak and the masses both educated and non-educated are suffering from severe identity crisis. The uptown, downtown foolishness has lead to serious and sustained class division and most of us have foreign mind. Not to mention the severe income inequality in the country.

Tryall Mansion

Tryall Mansion

Look here nuh. Capitalism and attempts at Communism has failed. It’s full time we look internally and access wehere we are at and where we want to be. This consistent importation of idealism, which were designed for different places and time is destroying us. It’s full time we stop the ism, skism and thinnk reality like the rastaman seh.

Red Rat – Nuh Live Nuh Weh Lyrics

Gallery

2012 in Review

This gallery contains 1 photo.

After all the hype, the buzz, the talks of mythical alignments of the cosmos as civilization had reached its dawn, 2012 turned out to be less than spectacular for most of us. I mean even I had to be weaving through conspiracy files testing the correlation between Bible prophecy and Nostradamus. Too much History Channel … Continue reading

Classism in Jamaica: The Case of Dancehall, Ragashanti and Ghetto

Beauty

For the longest time I’ve been troubled by several things in the Jamaican media diaspora. These things are not new, they are old very old. From the days of Bob Marley and the Wailers or “dutty dread/bearded men” as they were called to Vybz Kartel, Ragashanti and Dancehall there has always been this incessant need to make the popular people from the cane piece the scape goats for Jamaica’s ills.

These masquerades are exquisitely painted with a fine brush and rubbed across the faces of Jamaicans too blind to see the bigger picture. When talk of “poisoning the kids” are reeled the same masks appear, “O its those dunce entertainers”. You know Mavado, Cham, Bounty Killer – a fi dem fault. A fe dem fault seh we poor, have low morals and a withering economy.

Really now?

A Dancehall mek yuh pitney bad, a Raga give you son gun ina three pice suit, a Potential Kidd a raise interest rate? Nope. None a dem ano yes bwoy to Jamaica’s oligarchs.

In Jamaica the architects of society have always been the sharply dressed, “well spoken” and very wealthy few among us. The way we see ourselves is a derivative of how they see us. From I was small I was taught to hate the way I speak, “a how yuh chat so bad”, the way I looked, ” a how you so black”. The brilliant minds of the Jamaican youth was from an early stage contaminated with the bitter seeds of self hatred. So can you imagine my surprise when Vybz Kartel a get blamed for “influencing the youths to bleach”

The youths don’t need Vybz Kartel to hate themselves. From I lickle me a hear “ugly black pitney”, from me likkle me a see chrome face. Anno nothing new. So what do you do when supply high and the real “cake soap” becomes cheap, accessible and widely used? Start pointing finger at the nearest scape goat.

The whole idea of the so called “ghetto culture” being of any use or value to Jamaica is mocked, rebuked and ignored. As it would seem Jamaica is the only place in the world where the art of the garrison is not treasured. Just take a look at the Reggaeton and the Dancehall themed party which is becoming widely popular and endorsed on the Japanese cultural scene.

Japanese Dancehall Queen “Junko”

In Jamaica such moves are looked down on and even demonized. In the more cosmopolitan and far more conservative Japan these are seen as economically viable means of entertainment, attraction and expansion of cultural forms and art. The fashion, identity and esthetics of Jamaica’s poor folks are marketed and sold for enormous profit in the land of the rising sun while in JamRock they are dismissed as filth not fit for our o so pristine murder capital. Crime which is as a result of the guns of the politrictians and the Dons they pay to secure their stained votes.

In Japan as opposed to Jamaica you are taught to love and respect culture. This is evident in  the video above as they adopt the moves of Jamaica’s poor, they creatively find means of making it their own.

They ban Ragashanti because him talk up the tings dem bout day to day life in Jamaica in the most Jamaican fashion and because of that he is not deemed worthy for the sanctity of the o so holy radio. When Bob Marley seh, “I feel like bombing a church” he cuts at all layers of the pretentious in Jamaica who dash out at carnival to Soca disrupting people in mid-day and call police to lock off a little dance that people depend on to send children to school in the night.

In Jamaica, identity, class and colour are still powerful means of segregation. These phony ideals penetrate the minds of the youth in the home and schools. Instead of teaching our youths the truth about whats really a foot in our marginalized society we use ghetto man like Cordell Green and Hopeton Dunn to stifle the voice of the youths.

*Its truly amazing how field slaves get boasy when dem reach ina great house.

Corporal Punishment in Jamaica

This is certainly not a new topic. Whether it be political, social or in home forums, the subject of ‘beatings’ is a very pressing issue in the island.

Recently the Minister of Education Reverend Ronald “Ronnie” Thwaites formerly announced that administering lashes as a form of punishment in public schools is strictly prohibited and could have reprocussions for the accused.

Many threw support behind the minister, while others were not as satisfied with the declaration. “Me get beaten in school and home and it nuh affect me” said a mother who responded to a query posed by a news crew.

From the reponse its obvious that she like many J’cans feel indifferent regarding the beating of children.

Beating of children in home, schools and at times public places is as old in Jamaica as could be. In fact a lot of scholars and locals believe Jamaica morbid beating habit is a residual of slavery and the severe beat downs which were the norm.

These gruesome assaults would be carried out against men women and child. Since enslaved Africans were recultured after there identities were purged, it would be rational to assume they saw this beating habit as ‘right’ if not the only way to resolve issues.

Due to this historical context many are lead to believe that the “quick to beat” mentality was engraved in our ancestors hence the our situation today.

Another belief is that the physical punishment is as a result of poverty in JA. Regardless of reason we love beat pitney and I’ve been on the receiving end of a belt. For me I have no absolute position on the matter in fact I just feel we are trying to conform to external norms.