Help Sir Hilary Beckles build a better, more authentically democratic reparations case
Help Sir Hilary Beckles build a better, more authentically democratic reparations case
Consciously or unconsciously, University of the West Indies (UWI) Vice Chancellor Sir Hilary Beckles and many of his Pan Africanist colleagues are treating the issue of Caribbean people's entitlement or not to reparations for trans-Atlantic slavery like their personal intellectual property.
Beckles, lawyer David Comissiong, ethics advisors Dr Anna Perkins and Dr Sandra Richards and other UWI employees and associates seem to be building their own self-righteous, racially biased knowledge trading brands at more modest, simultaneously self critical and self affirming Caribbean people's expense.
Consciously or unconsciously, they are treating the reparations debate like their own personal injury claim.
This hijacking, since 2001 of many Caribbean peoples' stake in the region's ongoing reparations debate is grotesquely unjust and undemocratic.
Scandalously, it perpetuates the proprietorial, ancestral African-exploiting-African slave owning and trading instinct that Toussaint Louverture, Nanny of the Maroons, Rachel Pringle and other freedom fighting and enterprising former slaves demonstrated after they had been liberated, as they struck or proposed questionable "slave management" deals, among other things, with the British and French.
The more often militant mouthed, less often conciliatory, mercurial economic historian Beckles seems incapable of or unwilling to appreciate this pattern of conscious or unconscious betrayal in Caribbean and world politics.
He also dismisses the merits of the less combative, more diplomatic politics and pedagogy of Barbadian "Father of Independence" Errol Barrow, Grantley Adams, Eric Williams, Alexander Bustamante and others who have laid the foundations of Caribbean liberation and self-sufficiency.
The superb subtlety of Barrow's "friends of all and satellites of none" diplomacy especially, seems lost on the Marxist analyst Beckles and his fundamentalist, evangelical atheist colleagues - including the morally bankrupt Aaron "Buddy" Larrier who masquerades as a minister of religion when it suits him.
At its best Barrow's politics combined bold initiative with measured rhetoric, the kind of balance dictated by Barbados' temporal and spatial realities, and to which I am alluding in my song "Small Beginnings" in the video at the start of this petition.
Beckles bashing British (and Europeans) bigly
Beckles' reparations foreign policy is more like the bigly bile spouting of United States president Donald Trump.
It is reminiscent of the deeply divisive, religious written language manipulated and manipulating Guyanese dictator Forbes Burnham's moral-mental infirmity.
In fact, the economic historian Sir Hilary's in some ways brilliant mind seems infected by an excessively backward-looking, superficially black people favoring, but actually blacks stereotyping or "super-scripting" and bullying neuro-bacterial disease.
His capacity for race transcending, empathy and forgiveness informed academic analysis seems suppressed by a Christian principle perverting, subtly atheistic, Marxist "group think" contagion, characterized mainly by historical hallucination.
And in this regard I note Sir Hilary's revelation, as he delivered the 7th annual George Lamming Memorial lecture last year, of deep rage inducing emotional trauma he suffered at his father's apparently physically abusive hands (from 19:30 in this video).
Significantly, this information about the last time he was angry, was shared as Sir Hilary tried to deny the influence of anger on the reparations narrative he has been propagating.
This and other evidence of Beckles' distorted, delusional self-image that I have shared previously suggest that he is a deeply damaged, self-alienated individual, sadly.
Sadly, as with Burnham, whose sister Jesse warned of his political "slickness" and "sly glibness", it could be said that Sir Hilary's conscience is to some degree dead, or perhaps, mortally wounded.
Unsurprising then that his reparations narrative validates and mirrors the "evil whites" anthropology of the Nation of Islam, and recalls Louis Farrakhan's and Burnham's widely attested complicity in the assassinations of Malcolm X and Walter Rodney, respectively.
Unsurprising that like the gender, race and religious racketeering Burnham, Sir Hilary and his allies are undermining Caribbean democracy, peace and stability.
Propagating a simplistic, binary "General Bussa" based freedom fighter versus wicked whites and their black "house niggas" narrative, Beckles, Richards, Larrier and others are in fact sowing seeds of demonizing, demoralization, disaffection and distrust among Caribbean and other third world people, at a time when, given the blow-back against both the successes and excesses of Barack Obama's presidency, we need to unite around time tested principles of truth, justice and peace.
When we should be forming meaningful, well grounded alliances to check president Trump's and others' white and black supremacist excesses, Beckles', Farrakhan and others are denouncing moderates like me, Obama, Kofi Anan and Thabo Mbeki as "sell outs" who should be made to "feel the wrath of the common man" as Farrakhan, inspired by Beckles' one-sided reporting on the 2001 United Nations World Conference Against Racism put it in 2014 (from 25:30 in this video).
Even as the alarming ravages of gun and knife crime in the Caribbean and its British, American, Canadian and other diasporic communities are alerting us to the need for peaceful conflict resolution skills and social cohesion building strategies, Beckles, Revs Harcourt Blacket, Gerry Seales and other often well meaning clerics are propagating a mind poisoning pedagogy that seems rooted in a conscious or unconscious conflation or confusion of their personal frustration focused truths with reality.
In the mean time the traditions of balanced, simultaneously self-critical and self affirming Marxist, Christian and other strains of holistic Afrocentric inquiry that CLR James, CS Lewis and others have modeled, and with which I and others align ourselves broadly are being ignored.
Beckles defiant, ignoring cautions
Barbados prime minister Freundel Stuart, former Financial Times senior editor Hal Austin and others have warned publicly of the threats Beckles "wild horse" ways and "bad manners" pose to Barbadian and Caribbean politics, pedagogy and democracy.
Former Barbadian prime minister Owen Arthur possibly also had Beckles, the licentious leftie Bobby Clarke, Comissiong and other deeply damaged, overcompensating and immodest Pan Africanist political opportunists in mind when he lamented the influence of "negrocrats" on Barbadian society.
I too have been privately and publicly calling for Beckles, Comissiong, Larrier, Richards, Gill and others to pursue more simultaneously spiritually enlightened and empirically grounded, ethically coherent, consistent and conscientious Pan Africanist readings of history since the 1990s.
Beckles, his UWI historian colleagues Alvin Thompson, Pedro Welch and others who have read my book "The Bible: Beauty and Terror Reconciled" know something of the calculated care with which I and other holistic communicators and educators treat matters of gender, racial and religious complexity.
They know of the empathy I advocate based on my own experience of once being a Bible-thumping unconscious religious bigot myself.
But Beckles may have been induced into the Burnham-Farrakhaneqsue habit of making sweeping, spitefully speculative racial generalizations by the lucky breaks he has had academically and politically.
Sadly, the acquittal of his son Rodney who killed his friend Khalil Campbell in 2007 may have added to Beckles' and other Pan Africanists' sense of impunity?
Sadly, Beckles may now be thinking that he can get away with silencing anybody.
I am calling on CARICOM Secretary General Irwin LaRocque, UWI Chairman Robert Bermudez and other Caribbean political and religious leaders to help me help Beckles build a better, less self-serving and short-sighted reparations narrative.
If Caribbean people, especially our youth in the region and its global diaspora are to build wisely on the gains of Louverture, Nanny, Paul Bogle, Bussa, Pringle, Barrow, Eric Williams, Michael Manley, Edward Seaga, Burnham and others who have gone before us we must avoid the temptation to uncritically, obsequiously deify them and their contemporary representatives.
Our youth especially, should not be excessively burdened with the failings and frustrations of Burnham's, Marcus Garvey's, Elijah Muhammad's, Loverture's, Edward "Kamau" Brathwaite's or any other of our illustrious high achieving forerunners' narratives.
Our most enlightened and liberated ancestors recognize their duty to give successive generations both roots and wings.
Please sign this petition if you see the need for Caribbean people to not only honor our ancestors but also dictate our own stories and destinies democratically.