Categorized | Editorial, Local

Time for a Change After 248 Years?

Editorial – March 11, 2016 :

Sixteen years ago the caption read “Time for a Change After 232 Years”
written by By C Kirnon

It began with  a recap of what was reported to have happened in 1768

It read: 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.

So it was that our ancestors in their wisdom decided to stage a revolution on St. Patrick’s day. Why that Day, you may ask. Well it was chosen because the slaves knew that estate owners would be at Government House celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, eating and drinking and getting drunk.

You will notice that they were willing to put their lives on the line for their cause, but nonetheless they sought an opportune time to make their move on the planters and slave drivers while they were in their drunken stupor. However, there were those amongst them that reported back to the masters and the whole plan was crushed and the slaves punished severely, some even by death. This cowardly betrayal ensured that slavery continued for another 66 years.

It is St. Patrick day again and we make plans to commemorate the day. Such activities as freedom run, Pub-crawl, slaves feast, games and things of Irish connection are staged. The whole day would be one of festivity and frolic, with a few reminders of what transpired on that notable day in 1768

At this juncture in our history and on this threshold of the 21st Century, the real question is what are we celebrating?

Is it the heroic stance of our ancestors to plan the revolt to free themselves of the harsh treatment meted out to them? Or is it the cowardice and betrayal by the Uncle Toms in their midst who squealed?

The answer lies in how we behave towards one another since that time. 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?

Mind you, 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. Coupled with this we see these very rights for which our forefathers fought and died eroded by a new breed of Uncle Toms.

For instance Freedom of Speech is being curbed, and the right as a landowner is been taken away. Even more appalling is the threat to enact legislation to give the right to Government to acquire movable property. Where jobs are concerned, nepotism is the order of the day.

On this St. Patrick’s Day 2000, therefore, I call on all Montserratians to make a concerted effort to eradicate this cancer from among us. Let us use our energies to love, respect and help each other and strive to live in harmony. As we rebuild our homeland let us, do so together in a society where every one’s opinion is heard and respected.

Let this Animal Farm mentality, that exists in high places and low, be erased from our history once and for all. In short, love thy neighbours as thyself.

For 2000 let Freedom truly ring from every mountaintop and echo from every valley, that all may know that Montserrat is Still Nice, Still Paradise.

By now we know this article was written in March 2000. Now, 16 years later, has anything changed? Has any information changed about the background, the arguments, the ignorance? What got worse and what got better if anything?

The call in 2016 is the same.

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Editorial – March 11, 2016 :

Sixteen years ago the caption read “Time for a Change After 232 Years”
written by By C Kirnon

It began with  a recap of what was reported to have happened in 1768

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It read: 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.

So it was that our ancestors in their wisdom decided to stage a revolution on St. Patrick’s day. Why that Day, you may ask. Well it was chosen because the slaves knew that estate owners would be at Government House celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, eating and drinking and getting drunk.

You will notice that they were willing to put their lives on the line for their cause, but nonetheless they sought an opportune time to make their move on the planters and slave drivers while they were in their drunken stupor. However, there were those amongst them that reported back to the masters and the whole plan was crushed and the slaves punished severely, some even by death. This cowardly betrayal ensured that slavery continued for another 66 years.

It is St. Patrick day again and we make plans to commemorate the day. Such activities as freedom run, Pub-crawl, slaves feast, games and things of Irish connection are staged. The whole day would be one of festivity and frolic, with a few reminders of what transpired on that notable day in 1768

At this juncture in our history and on this threshold of the 21st Century, the real question is what are we celebrating?

Is it the heroic stance of our ancestors to plan the revolt to free themselves of the harsh treatment meted out to them? Or is it the cowardice and betrayal by the Uncle Toms in their midst who squealed?

The answer lies in how we behave towards one another since that time. 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?

Mind you, 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. Coupled with this we see these very rights for which our forefathers fought and died eroded by a new breed of Uncle Toms.

For instance Freedom of Speech is being curbed, and the right as a landowner is been taken away. Even more appalling is the threat to enact legislation to give the right to Government to acquire movable property. Where jobs are concerned, nepotism is the order of the day.

On this St. Patrick’s Day 2000, therefore, I call on all Montserratians to make a concerted effort to eradicate this cancer from among us. Let us use our energies to love, respect and help each other and strive to live in harmony. As we rebuild our homeland let us, do so together in a society where every one’s opinion is heard and respected.

Let this Animal Farm mentality, that exists in high places and low, be erased from our history once and for all. In short, love thy neighbours as thyself.

For 2000 let Freedom truly ring from every mountaintop and echo from every valley, that all may know that Montserrat is Still Nice, Still Paradise.

By now we know this article was written in March 2000. Now, 16 years later, has anything changed? Has any information changed about the background, the arguments, the ignorance? What got worse and what got better if anything?

The call in 2016 is the same.