Let Us Craft Our Fate!

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“…Is there a possibility for the creation of an alternative “development” trajectory for less developed countries in light of their position in the “periphery” of global affairs?”

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Things got a little tense in class today. The topic of discussion was ‘Colonialism, Independence, and the Rise of Mass Schooling’   …colonial exploitation…neo-colonialism…imperialism…dependency theories…elite formation…social disorganization…paradoxical empowerment…I’ll skip the technical jargon…Let me just say, the more we talked about it, the more it was clear: Babylon System is a Fraud.

In the ‘development’ debate, people were getting passionate. It got to the point where the professor, a Palestine-raised refugee of Lebanon, asked that those of us from former colonies identify ourselves. Turned out we almost out-numbered the others. Then, she asked that those of us from so-called ‘Third World’ countries identify ourselves. I struggled, audibly so, with the label of ‘Third World’, so my hand never quite made it up. But the tension in the room was now thick: it was as though the lines had been drawn. This was no longer an academic debate, about abstract ideas and concepts – we had in effect declared our personal stake in the matters. Don’t mean to sound cliche, but the silence was loud.

And then it came out. Before I knew it, my hand was up, and the prof gave me the nod, and I was speaking. For myself, because no one else can. For my country, because no one else would. I said that I don’t know what this “alternative development trajectory” would be, but my answer to the question is YES. There is an alternative. Simply because I am determined that there is. I will not accept no. I will not accept that my nation’s Sovereignty is a farce, that we in fact only possess as much power to handle our own affairs as some International body gives us – if I accept that, then I accept that my people are somehow inferior, and are not also due the right to the freedom to choose, to determine who we are and what we stand for without fear of sanction. I am determined that the answer is YES, because if it isn’t, we might as well have stick figures as our leaders – it matters not what we decide, because at the end of the day, we are no more than pawns within the global economy.  *and then I started to choke on tears from out of nowhere! and had to take a second to breathe, fan my eyes, and collect myself* I am determined that the answer is YES, because if it isn’t, the life that I want, the life that my family wants, that my people deserve, is impossible to attain…

Doan lewwe fool weself in de Carbean, hear?…lines done get draw in de sand, an I ain talkin bout Pebbles beach hay. We ain draw dem, we ain got nuh say in where dum start, nor wha part dum en’. Some ah we livin pretty, some ah we not suh hot. But best believe, ALL ah we in potta de day we get uppity an decide to cross de line pun de ‘wrong’ side. Next ting ya know, Uncle Sam gine be launchin military coups pun we brudders & sisters next door, from one ah WE own soil, all because dey had de guts to conceive something other than the approved socio-politico-economico mdoel. Oh wait…they did that already… Well de next ting dey gine come up wid is cuttin we off completely from trade an travel just because we decide we waan do tings different. Darn. They did that too! Ok, well at least they would never think to run off our leader to another country,  claiming they care about the corruption, and put their own, just-as-corrupt, puppet in place.  Aw shit! They been there, done that!! I know I’m not the only one seeing the pattern. I for one am not up for toeing the line. I’m not content to rest on anybody else’s laurels – I grew up singing that my people are “strict guardians of our heritage, firm craftsmen of our fate”. And I am crazy enough to believe it.

Now the way some see it, I am a success story of the systems I sometimes rant against. I went to the right schools, know some of the right people, go the right places, and I’m writing this blog from the States as I attend an Ivy League graduate school. However you want to look at it, one thing is true: duh shoulda neva leh dis lil poor girl get nuh sense.

Til Shiloh.

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4 responses to “Let Us Craft Our Fate!

  • Saran

    I’m so proud!!! u speak a trut that needs to be heard…she’s my sis y’all!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • crbaptiste

    well now…your eyes have been opened to a a truth that plays the part of the white elephant in the room. everyone can see the elephant but no one wants to speak to it.
    now that you know how are you going to proceed? it sucks to know that we are not the craftsmen we thought we were. our politicians speak of sovereignty with loud voices but only when there are no strings (international ones) attached. well hello there bilateral agreements, thank you for bringing your mores and non-values to my country. it is animal farm all over again my sister. all animals are equal, but some more equal than others! ah gone!!!

  • JimmyBean

    I don’t know If I said it already but …Great site…keep up the good work. 🙂 I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say I’m glad I found your blog. Thanks, 🙂

    A definite great read..Jim Bean

  • Raggabeany

    Better late than never. I finally made my way to your blog and my eyes welled with tears as I read your emotional stance! Indeed, I concur that the answer must be an emphatic yes. I can visualise the expressions marked on the faces in that room and I can hear the echo of the silence to which you referred. Sooo many times I too have had to stand on that same podium within the academic halls of this great New York City – with its thousands of immigrants, with its massive West Indian Diaspora – to defend my small Caribbean nation, my little Barbados, tiny me. Yes, we need all the voices, to do just as you did and Speak Up. We will be heard! Keep up the sterling work, my sistren. Word!

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