A Struggle Kept Together Taken From Sis Makeda Web Site : Brother Cikiah,
Bless you for a wonderful letter. I want to tackle it in detail. It is, in fact, the contribution which is needed for this 'hasty and fast jump approach' to the creation of the mass base of support needed for the Reparations movement in Jamaica. After all -- it was in Jamaica 70 years ago that the Rastaman first uttered the word and presented the then-bold demand for righting of the immense wrong done to African people worldwide. In fact, when I became a Rasta 30 years ago, the message continually chanted at that time was:"Repatriation with Reparations".
It is accurate to say that the work for Reparations in Jamaica had lost emphasis, though not forgotten. Several efforts had been attempted, but the Rastafari movement had grown since inception to embrace many other causes-within-the-cause that needed attention. Much attention has recently been paid to the cause of legalisation of the Rasta sacrament, ganja; issues such as children not being allowed to wear their locks to school; and the basic need to stay alive, have diverted our main focus. But nevertheless the foundation remains, like embers in a fire waiting to be re-kindled.
This year -- for reasons known only to JAH -- I have had three opportunities to present the issue of Reparations in important international forums -- the World Archaeological Inter-Congress on the African Diaspora, held in Curacao in April; the Conference on Caribbean Culture, held in Vienna Austria; and the WCAR in Durban. Durban has stirred up the embers of the Reparations fire internationally, and the opportunities I have been given to speak as a Jamaican, have given me the energy and the idea to take up the fallen banner, and use my technical knowledge and widespread connections to do what we all know is vitally necessary.
Should we wait? Or should we begin the critical work necessary. Your letter exactly describes the work that the JaRM will have to do. To quote:
what we are going to do next.
Where is the research that have to be done and who is going to do it?
The legal professionals have done some research.
What about the economist and the work that is needed.
A group of economists will have to go to England, USA, Canada,
other parts of the Caribbean and parts of Western Europe and do research on
all of the Companies that are still in existence, or have subsidiary, or
transformed their business into other types of entities that were started in
Jamaica or benefitted from the Slave Trade and Plantation system in Jamaica.
This must also be accompanied by work to be done by social anthropology,
psychologist and psychiatrist to look at the damages done to blacks on the
plantation system.( Granted there is no monetary compensation for the savage
beatings, killings, rapes perpetuated by the slaveowners) One of the reasons
why we as Jamaicans must look at this question, is that we must try to
understand the past, present and the future and see the linkage between the
inhumane treatment on the plantation on to day's Jamaica. One of my
recommendations for Reparations in Jamaica, is the establishment of the
Institute of conflict resolution and meditation in every parish along with
the training for every school teacher, pastor, Rastafarian and every faith
leader in the country. This is to address the issue on national
reconciliation. The scope of this issues is larger than what I am now
addressing. It's part of the larger question of violence in the society.
We then need to get our accountants working with the economists, to
establish some cost estimates. The reasons for this is not to make claims
for compensation, because no amount of money can provide an adequate
compensation for the exploitation and humiliation of the Blacks in Jamaica.
We need to know the price to be placed upon the unpaid wages and the
accumulated interest and why we are dispossessed and why the industrialised
nations are industrialised. This knowledge must be part of our educational
system and group therapy at the same time.
THEN, I TOTALLY AGREE WITH YOUR NEXT PARAGRAPH:
There are several other aspect to the reparations movement that we have not
yet begun to touch upon. For example, there is a need for a national
dialogue on race in Jamaica. We have not discussed race as a concept in
Jamaica, and most Jamaicans are afraid to discuss the question of Blackness
in any kind of meaningful way.
THIS DIALOGUE WOULD BEGIN AS WE START TO DISCUSS REPARATIONS. IT IS ALREADY HAPPENING. THE COMMENTS BY MUTTY PERKINS AT THE UWI FORUM HAVE BEEN COMMENTED ON IN THE MEDIA ALMOST EVERY DAY, SHOWING THAT THE DIALOGUE HAS BEGUN. THE FACT THAT -- NOW THAT I HAVE STARTED STIRRING UP THE EMBERS -- SO MANY PEOPLE/GROUPS ARE COMING FORWARD TO PARTICIPATE, SHOWS EXACTLY WHAT WILL HAPPEN AS WE START THE MOVEMENT. INDEED .... IT HAS ALREADY STARTED.
THEN, TURNING TO YOUR FINAL PARAGRAPH, THANK YOU. THESE QUESTIONS WILL BE PUT TO THIS GROUP AT THE APPROPRIATE TIME AND PLACE.
Finally for today; the group that said that the UN gave them permission to
be Reparations representatives in Jamaica. (this quotation is not verbatim).
I would like the group to disclose the following information to the public.
What body in the UN gave them such permission? Please name the department
and unit within the UN. Who is the head of the unit/department? What
processcess involved in getting such accreditations and when did they apply
to make such representations on behalf of the Jamaican Reparations movement?
BROTHER Cikiah, THANKS AGAIN FOR YOUR LETTER. I HOPE IT STIRS UP MUCH COMMENT. THE JaRM HAS INDEED STARTED WORKING.
ONE BLESSED LOVE!
From: whenhiphopdrovethebigcars [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: December 18, 2001 9:36 AM
Subject: [IRSGroup] Re: Organising JaRAM
You are doing your work very well and we need you.
I can imagine it is quite difficult to put as much into this process
as you do, always organising this board, answering, encouraging, and
all that with a lot of optimism.
Donīt let your courage go, there is still such a lot to do, and I
know it can be very tiresome, just for the stress that you may have.
When you feel this, maybe it is good for your personal inner health
to make a break; so give this break to yourself, maybe just relax for
2 days, if you can, and then you will wake up with fresh power and
see the struggle like it is. Imagine you get a big box by mail, full
of power and positivity.
You are a great coordinator and organiser.
Sorry that I have no answer to your questions, because I am not the
one to unite the Reparation movements, I canīt be, simply for the
fact that I donīt know enough about this and that I am white. I can
only contribute a little, but maybe one day I will have the money to
fly to beautiful Jamaica to see you, or to go to Africa.
You shouldnīt hand your work over to anyone else. If everyone agrees
that all groups have to be united, there should be the possibility
for you to coordinate, maybe with others, right. But do we really
need "chiefs"? I think if everyone sees himself like a coordinator,
thatīs fine. But leader - roles are none of my business, this has to
be decided by others.
Keep up your great work!
> Greetings All!
> I may have bitten off more than I can chew in trying to organise
> launch and subsequent work of the Jamaica Reparations Movement.
> As I explained, I think it best to have a very small Steering
> Committee which will mainly be symbolic of the various people on
> whose behalf we work. The main work will be done by Parish
> Committees set up for Public Education, Discussion of a Reparations
> Position Paper, and collection of signatures on a Reparations
> Many people are showing signs that they want to be involved with or
> even be the chief co-ordinators of the Jamaican Reparations
> Movement. These include the Prince Emannuel BoboShanti Rastafari
> Bull Bay (who inform that they have been given official recognition
> as Jamaican Reparationists by the UN), The History Department of
> UWI (which recently organised a Reparations Forum that gained wide
> publicity because of the negative comments by talk-show host Mutty
> Perkins), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (which is following up on
> WCAR), and individual Rastafari such as Ibo Cooper (formerly of
> World) who have worked on Reparations committees in the past.
> My questions to the IRSGroup are:
> 1. Who can unite these groups to assist in launching the JaRM, when
> each is determined to proceed on its own?
> 2. Who of the above-named groups/people should head the JaRM if a
> coalition is formed?
> 4.As I have NO resources of my own for such a launch, other than
> computer and internet access, should I consider the work I have
> thus far as my contribution to the Reparations Movement, and hand
> over to some as yet-unnamed person or group to continue the work
> towards the launch and ongoing JaRM?
> I await your comments.
> ONE LOVE
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