I think the capitalists, socialists, and communists are similarly crafty when they take snippets from a person’s life to make a story to suit their ends. I understand why that is done, the necessity to satisfy an objective, but it is very unfair, and when we get a chance we should tell the full truth about a brother.
I think a lot of brown people don’t understand that they don’t know what it means to be black. We brownies can identify with the cause, we can have family who are in the middle of the struggle, we can try to put our feet in the shoes of our brother, but if you aren’t black you can never know the full experience.
One black brother in the States who talks a lot and made a mint off it, Kanye West, he said, “When you hear about slavery for 400 years … for 400 years? That sounds like a choice.” I guess he is not alone with that question. He is with those people who never took the time to understand the difference between a man who was taken into slavery and a man who knew slavery as his lot all his life, from the womb to the grave.
In respect to Kanye West, I have never taken the time to listen to the poetry that made him so much money that he might actually have been just at the beginning of his search to find out how people get locked into situations and can’t get out. It might help him, and all others who can’t grasp how slavery could have lasted for four hundred years, if they studied the story of the Jews.
Ah, we know the Jews used all the horrors that have been visited upon them to galvanize their “we against them” focus that led them to great riches and domination of thought in the world. Brother Louis Farrakhan might tell us that is why they are concerned about keeping black people confused, because if we ever used the pain in our story to forge a common cause, it would rock the present world order.
Of course, our Native American/Mayan/Aztec/Inca brothers and sisters might say that they know pain more than everyone else, so there’d be two forces battling the Europeans for world domination. I’m not about debating which of our ancestors have suffered more since 1492. What we can say, for a fact, is that being black is the toughest situation a human being can experience today, and anyone who doesn’t know that really isn’t paying attention.
Now, tacking to Brother Clinton Canul Luna, throughout my childhood I knew that the “Gods” that Samuel Haynes spoke of was our Mayan ancestors. You suggest that if that were the case, he would have used the lower case “g”, and to that I would say that you and I would/might have written it that way.
I believe the reason Haynes had the Mayan deities in mind when he penned the poem, Land of the Gods, is that during his youth the Mayan temples were being “discovered” for the first time, and if you can transport yourself to that period in our history, well, there must have been a whole lot of excitement here.
A NICH factsheet says Lubaantun was first reported to the colonial authorities here in the late 19th century, and in 1903 the governor commissioned Dr. Thomas Gann to investigate the site. Major work was done at the site between 1915 and 1927, and in 1924 Gann “returned to Lubaantun along with FA Mitchell-Hedges, where the latter claimed to have unearthed the Crystal Skull of Doom.”
According to a Wikipedia page, Haynes wrote the poem in 1925, but that might have been a first draft, or it went unpublished until a little later. Clearly, anyone in Belize with a little imagination would have been dreaming dreams about Mayan treasures and the glorious kingdom of old, of the kings and the queens and the bloodthirsty priests who sacrificed beautiful virgin maidens to the many Gods.
There is an interesting story that George Price was not the person who hit upon the idea of changing “Gods” to “Free”, and that it wasn’t Nicholas Pollard either. I won’t try to go into what was going on in the heads of the young Catholics who changed the poem. All I will say is that stealing the poem might have been all Price’s idea, but changing “Gods” to “Free”, I understand that he did not hatch that plot.
When I think on the 1919 riots/uprising, and Samuel Haynes’ role in putting down the affair, I see a man who didn’t see the sense in overthrowing the colonial masters at the time. By the way, aren’t we tired of overthrowing people and landing in hotter water than we were in before? Aren’t we tired of being betrayed by leaders who look like us? Why throw out the British so we can hand ourselves over to Guatemala? Why throw out the colonial masters only to capitulate when their reinforcements arrived from the West Indies?
Brother Clinton, you make the suggestion that Haynes was/might have been rewarded for putting down the riots. Ah, he might have gotten a promotion; he might have sold out, used his influence solely for personal gain. All of us being human, that’s not impossible, but as I said, I will not fall for a snippet. If he was a sellout, which seems way out there farfetched, then he is deserving of forgiveness, because he reformed and became a good guy, like Saul of Tarsus.
If there was any question about Haynes’s substance, any question of him worshipping at the feet of the colonial rulers, he dashed that when he left Belize to go to work with the greatest black leader since 1492, Marcus Mosiah Garvey.
Maybe this description of Marcus by the leader who all the liberation scholars adore will give more value to what I am saying. The eminent Guyanese historian, Dr. Walter Rodney, said: “Marcus Garvey was one of the first advocates of Black Power, and is still today the greatest spokesman ever to have been produced by the movement of Black consciousness…He spoke to all Africans on the earth, whether they lived in Africa, South America, the West Indies or North America, and he made Blacks aware of their strength when united.”
Our Samuel Haynes, from little Belize, packed his belongings sometime in the 1920’s and headed north to aid Marcus, “the Black Moses,” in the glorious struggle. The Wikipedia page says Haynes was “prominent in the Garvey Movement…the President of the Pittsburgh Division, editor/writer for the Negro World https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel_Alfred_Haynes – cite_note-3 and for a brief period the Official American Representative for the UNIA-ACL 1929 under the Honorable Marcus Garvey.”
Ah, we and the Baymen; it is so that we cannot celebrate this year, because of COVID-19, and because we chose to go to the ICJ. As for the past, the Battle of St. George’s Caye was a victory for Belize, because the people who occupied the most miserable place would become the cornerstone upon which this new nation was built. If we don’t understand why our slave ancestors fought alongside their masters and their half-breed children, we have to put on a blindfold to not see the harvest.
Today, the slave master is no longer in charge, and we are a land inhabited by the Maya, the people who were here before Peter Wallace came; and the children of the slaves, and indentured servants, and refugees from St. Vincent and Mexico and Guatemala and El Salvador and Honduras and Lebanon and Prussia and everywhere.
Now, if only our leaders would recognize and appreciate the beauty of the fabric here, and devoted themselves to sacrifice for the people, not self-enrichment, we could fulfill the promise in the song, Land of the Gods.