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​Emancipation—more than dashikis for a day

Published: 
Monday, August 1, 2016

On the first of August 1985, T&T became the first country in the world to declare a national holiday to commemorate the abolition of slavery. This is a cause for great celebration.

Grenada, Montserrat, St Kitts & Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent & the Grenadines, The Bahamas, Turks & Caicos and Barbados soon followed.

Slavery has always existed and will always exist. It just mutates. Cross-crafting and multi-tasking are excellent examples. One salary for many diverse different areas of work. Overtime is overwork.

Racism was the consequence of slavery. The origin of black slavery lay with economic, not racial motives. It had to do not with the colour of the labourer but the cheapness of the labour. Slavery was economic and not racial.

One african slave could perform the work of three other slaves. Negro slavery was eminently superior when compared to Indian and white labour. Africans, in relation to Indians and Europeans, possessed, they say, a hardy constitution.

Indentureship was slavery by another name.

Emancipation is relevant to all of T&T. Africans were ideal slaves for whites because they were conspicuous by their colour and features. Could whites perform adequate manual labour in the tropics?

Racism is part of human nature. It has always existed and always will. Racism is an institution. The conception of dividing people by race originates with the slave trade. Racism is a systematic form of oppression.

The racially-based slave system was not economic but political. The age-old strategy of divide and rule.

Capitalism created racism and cannot function without it. To end racism is to win a socialist society. The first priority is abolishing all traces of exploitation and racism.

Emancipation is not only about wearing african clothing—dashikis for a day. Emancipation is mental. None but ourselves can free ourselves.

Chains and cutlasses have been replaced with computers. My grandfather and father had to run. I am tired, I am not running anywhere.

Emancipation has brought equality among our people. It has bound our people together for the betterment of our beloved country.

God bless our nation of many varied races.

Let us celebrate freedom to all and freedom for all.

AV Rampersad,

Princes Town

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