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From the Publisher

PublisherFrom the Publisher

I ran into Deron Jones, one of the greatest football flank defenders I have ever seen, outside a hardware store in Ladyville on Saturday afternoon. (I believe Deron played on the great Juventus team which defeated Real Espana and Platence, two of Honduras’ most highly rated franchises, back in the middle 1990s.)

Deron said that he wasn’t seeing me around, that he heard me once in a while, but never saw me.

Well, esteemed brother Deron, I became a great grandfather a few years ago. All my children are grown, the youngest being 42. Our newspaper, radio and television are basically run by one of my daughters and two of my sons. Our African and Indigenous Library, which houses the UBAD Educational Foundation (UEF), is controlled by the indefatigable Ya Ya Marin Coleman, a virtual dictator.

I feel that I have lost most of my relevance to Belizeans, in the sense that Belize has changed drastically. Belize has become like the countries around us, in the sense that our social climate has become so very violent. 

The world itself has become filled with violence and threats of violence. This may not really be a new development. Remember, in the last century we had World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Iraq-Iran War, the American invasions of Grenada, Panama, Iraq, and so on. I didn’t even mention Rwanda, or Israel and Gaza.

In British Honduras/ Belize when I was growing up in the 1950s and 1960s, it would seem to me that we were in a sheltered environment, socio-politically speaking. Today, if you walk the streets late at night, they will cut your throat or shoot you down, almost for fun.

In Belize when I was growing up, the violence was restricted to the boxing ring. If you killed anybody, they hanged you 21 days after court conviction.

And now, when my generation thought we owned a country, and we actually achieved political independence in 1981, our very sovereign existence is up in the air, because of this ICJ business. Deron, I don’t know where Belize is and I don’t know what to think.

I thought the Belizean diaspora summit in Los Angeles last week was monumental, but it is the people who were there who must go on to tell it like it is and prepare Belizeans for the crises ahead.

I thought Nuri Akbar’s presentation at the summit was glorious, and I thought Bilal Morris’ presentation was very strong. Bilal was stronger than I have ever heard him.

These two men were young proteges of the late Ismail Omar Shabazz, the founding secretary/treasurer of the United Black Association for Development (UBAD) in 1969. Ismail left UBAD to join Imam Nuri Muhammad in the Nation of Islam in late 1972, and then migrated to Los Angeles in the late 1970s or early 1980s. There, he renewed contact with the late Edgar X Richardson, an early UBAD officer before he left for L.A. in 1970. Nuri Akbar and Bilal Morris became their strongest disciples in the BREDAA organization. I would dare to say that these two young men loved Shabazz deeply.

I want to give maximum public respect to Ismail. He was the strength of UBAD, from day to day, until he left us in November of 1972. Within a few months after his departure, UBAD divided down the middle in early 1973, and was dissolved in November of 1974.

Brother Deron, Ismail has become an ancestor, and yours truly is an elder. I look to the younger generations for inspiration as we struggle to hold on to this nation that we thought we owned.

It was good to see you, Brother Deron. You are a man I hold in big respect. 

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