“…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?”
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.