Calypso is an artform that is directed to mercilessly attack Indians who have displayed some fortitude in defending themselves from Basdeo Panday, Sat Maharaj, Sham Mohammed and now Inshan Ismael and Kamla Persad-Bissessar.
How do you explain Cro Cro’s attack on Inshan Ismael? Does he expect Inshan to roll over and play dead when he sees blatant discrimination by the State against his community. I am happy that Inshan has taken the decision to haul Cro Cro before the court to explain himself.
How long are Africans going to hide behind racism and slavery? Emancipation was provided to African slaves in 1838 and we are in 2023. Is it not time for Africans to move on? Slavery is now a social tool to make demands for reparation not only in the Caribbean but in the USA where the Blacks are contending that they should be entitled to jobs, places in university and other benefits from the State irrespective of their qualifications. More so, to protest their outrageous demands can be deemed blasphemous as their actions are to be taken as gospel.
This explains calypsonian Tameika Darius’ rise to compete in the Calypso Monarch. Is Tameika Darius saying that it is good for Camille Robinson-Regis to mock at Kamla’s name and not for the latter to defend herself. In Tameika Darius’ fraternity, they enjoy divine sanction to insult and rebuke Kamla but she commits blasphemy by pointing out that Camille has a “slave name.”
Interestingly, Tameika Darius went at length to nail slavery as responsible for Africans losing their cultural identity; but some know otherwise. Descendants of slavery had enough time to correct the injustices of the past in a society that guarantees fundamental rights, among them the right to worship and practice a culture of their choice. Nothing stops Africans from going back to their ancestral culture and reclaiming their names and their gods.
Trinidad hardly had a slave history compared to the other countries including Tobago. Not long after slaves started arriving in Trinidad, the country was brought under Crown Colony rule with the administration directly under the supervision of the British Parliament. This was unlike Jamaica where the rule of the Old Representative System in which the owners of slaves sat in parliament and made legislations. It was only after the Mourant Bay Rebellion that the Old Representative System was replaced by Crown Colony rule.
V.S. Naipaul wrote in the Middle Passage: “The latifundia never had a chance to be established. And in 1834 slavery was abolished. So that in Trinidad society never hardened around the institution of slavery as it had done in the other West Indian islands; there was no memory of bitterly suppressed revolts.”
Naipaul was contracted by Dr. Eric Williams in 1962 to visit the Caribbean. It is this tour of Trinidad, British Guiana, Martinique, Surinam and Jamaica that was manifested in the Middle Passage. Naipaul unfailingly lamented black contempt for their ancestral past. He wrote: “In the pursuit of the Christian-Hellenic tradition, which some might see as a paraphrase for whiteness, the past has to be denied, the self despised. Black will be made white. It has been said that in concentration camps the inmates began after a time to believe that they were genuinely guilty.” I am not bothered with one choice of names. I think that it was the right of Camille’s parents to choose her name as much as it was Kamla’s parents to choose their daughter’s name and whatever that name, no one has the right to sneer, mock and laugh. What Camille did was an insult not only to Kamla’s parents, but the pandit and the scriptures that guided the selection of a name like Susheila which means “good tempered or well-disposed.”