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Think now about St. Patrick’s Day week of activities, to make it count

Think now about St. Patrick’s Day week of activities, to make it count

We did not publish a newspaper on March 17, 2017, which date would not have been used, the day being the St. Patrick’s Day holiday, declared some 32 years ago in 1985. But it is a wonder how many would know the reason for the non-publication. And the truth perhaps, who cares!

However, if we did publish, the news would have certainly concentrated on the events of the week; the events of festivities and celebrations, the events staged for entertainment, most of which were cause of annoyance for a few who continue to ponder and question, some even including the Catholics who remember the real reason the day is remembered or commemorated, it being the feast day of Saint Patrick, the patron saint of the church parish in Montserrat.

And yes, the questions and ponderings that made up the failed UWI local campus St. Patrick’s Day Lecture, now a fixture on the week of activities calendar, and easily, outside a couple rerouted events, the only disappointment perhaps, for the week.

From here that failure should have served as instructive to existence in Montserrat, instead of being so very badly misrepresented as far as the early and continued willingness to blame conveniently the wrong people for a sequence of events that should probably not have begun as far the nonperformance of the Lecture. (See the facts in the front-page story in this issue from the eventual main players) The topic of that Lecture: “St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations in Montserrat: Cultural Development or Cultural Irresponsibility.”

Thus we remember, but can the question be understood, asked 17 years ago by C. Kirnon in an article: “Have we joined forces and fought for the common good of all? Or do we just portray St. Patrick’s Day Heroism by delivering speeches, writing books and poems, and perhaps staging skits and plays?”

There were several other thoughts expressed and questions asked in the article, and we highlight once again, the beginning of the article, for the time being.

This was in 2000. “It is now 232 years since the 1768 planned slave revolt in Montserrat. As background let me remind you the readers that on the 17th of March 1768, the slaves on Montserrat decided to overthrow their masters and thus gain their freedom. Remember they were not treated as equals but rather like beasts of burden. They were forced to work for long hours and were beaten if they tried to rest.”

There were all kinds of expressions, yes freedom of expression at work, but it is our suggestion, that when that is exercised we should seek always to do so on a sound foundation and with good purpose.

A sentiment expressed somewhere: “Members of the public who were in attendance and others who were waiting to view via live stream said the cancellation of the lecture based on government interference was blatant censorship and felt like a modern day 1768 betrayal.” Opinion? Maybe, expressed too early, to be kind.

Here is someone’s description which may just be a part of or maybe just an expression of an incomplete take on what is a commemoration rather than celebration. “Montserrat celebrates St. Patrick’s Day not primarily to honour its Irish heritage but to remember the nine slaves killed after a failed uprising on March 17, 1768. It is believed that a fellow slave chose to sell out the group who planned to fight for their freedom while the slave owners were celebrating.”

For the coming 250th year of the slaves uprising, beginning with the topic of the lecture that was never delivered, its contents may serve a good spring board to operate from to put all the facts and opinions together, to truly once and for all get an understanding of what it is that is commemorated and/or celebrated.

Whatever is done must take on board what was said in that article in 2000. “I am not for one minute saying that we have not had our heroic moments, for we have. Over the years we have had marches, demonstrations, strikes, enacting of Legislation to protect our basic human rights and freedoms. For instance, the right to rote, freedom of speech, freedom of association, the right to own land and other property.

The sad thing is that this cowardly, undermining and, betrayal attitude, that was evidenced back in 1768, has transcended time and generations. Today it permeates our society like a cancer…”

 

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We did not publish a newspaper on March 17, 2017, which date would not have been used, the day being the St. Patrick’s Day holiday, declared some 32 years ago in 1985. But it is a wonder how many would know the reason for the non-publication. And the truth perhaps, who cares!

However, if we did publish, the news would have certainly concentrated on the events of the week; the events of festivities and celebrations, the events staged for entertainment, most of which were cause of annoyance for a few who continue to ponder and question, some even including the Catholics who remember the real reason the day is remembered or commemorated, it being the feast day of Saint Patrick, the patron saint of the church parish in Montserrat.

And yes, the questions and ponderings that made up the failed UWI local campus St. Patrick’s Day Lecture, now a fixture on the week of activities calendar, and easily, outside a couple rerouted events, the only disappointment perhaps, for the week.

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From here that failure should have served as instructive to existence in Montserrat, instead of being so very badly misrepresented as far as the early and continued willingness to blame conveniently the wrong people for a sequence of events that should probably not have begun as far the nonperformance of the Lecture. (See the facts in the front-page story in this issue from the eventual main players) The topic of that Lecture: “St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations in Montserrat: Cultural Development or Cultural Irresponsibility.”

Thus we remember, but can the question be understood, asked 17 years ago by C. Kirnon in an article: “Have we joined forces and fought for the common good of all? Or do we just portray St. Patrick’s Day Heroism by delivering speeches, writing books and poems, and perhaps staging skits and plays?”

There were several other thoughts expressed and questions asked in the article, and we highlight once again, the beginning of the article, for the time being.

This was in 2000. “It is now 232 years since the 1768 planned slave revolt in Montserrat. As background let me remind you the readers that on the 17th of March 1768, the slaves on Montserrat decided to overthrow their masters and thus gain their freedom. Remember they were not treated as equals but rather like beasts of burden. They were forced to work for long hours and were beaten if they tried to rest.”

There were all kinds of expressions, yes freedom of expression at work, but it is our suggestion, that when that is exercised we should seek always to do so on a sound foundation and with good purpose.

A sentiment expressed somewhere: “Members of the public who were in attendance and others who were waiting to view via live stream said the cancellation of the lecture based on government interference was blatant censorship and felt like a modern day 1768 betrayal.” Opinion? Maybe, expressed too early, to be kind.

Here is someone’s description which may just be a part of or maybe just an expression of an incomplete take on what is a commemoration rather than celebration. “Montserrat celebrates St. Patrick’s Day not primarily to honour its Irish heritage but to remember the nine slaves killed after a failed uprising on March 17, 1768. It is believed that a fellow slave chose to sell out the group who planned to fight for their freedom while the slave owners were celebrating.”

For the coming 250th year of the slaves uprising, beginning with the topic of the lecture that was never delivered, its contents may serve a good spring board to operate from to put all the facts and opinions together, to truly once and for all get an understanding of what it is that is commemorated and/or celebrated.

Whatever is done must take on board what was said in that article in 2000. “I am not for one minute saying that we have not had our heroic moments, for we have. Over the years we have had marches, demonstrations, strikes, enacting of Legislation to protect our basic human rights and freedoms. For instance, the right to rote, freedom of speech, freedom of association, the right to own land and other property.

The sad thing is that this cowardly, undermining and, betrayal attitude, that was evidenced back in 1768, has transcended time and generations. Today it permeates our society like a cancer…”