There is a school in the black community that keeps singing lyrics that the Europeans came with the Bible, and we accepted the Bible and in exchange we gave them our land. The truth in the Americas is that the Europeans got the land through the barrels of their guns, and the spread of diseases they brought.
I want that school to ponder on how our slave ancestors survived for 300 years of the worst punishment imaginable. Our ancestors were stolen from Africa, and they and their children would not breathe God’s wonderful air in its purest form for all of three centuries. They were in chains in the holds of those ships during the Middle Passage, and when they landed here they were sold at the market like cattle.
Many slaves were born into the condition. The slave master worked at keeping our ancestors divided. They ripped up families, tribes. They stymied their religions. They didn’t allow our ancestors to plant too much food. Native Americans – the Plains Indians, the Aztecs, the Maya, the Inca, others — were also under European rule, so they couldn’t provide refuge. Our slave ancestors resisted, but the mountains they had to climb were steep in a strange land.
Our ancestors slaved in the fields of the Europeans, making them wealthy. The Europeans, through the barrels of their guns, ripped up our families and made us labor for their enrichment. The degradation was so complete, going on 200 years after slavery was abolished on paper, and we still struggle to fight off the chains on our minds.
The school says that to unshackle our minds we must give up “their” Jesus, because they used him to carry out their conquest (and are still using him to keep us down). The story is that we were sold a promise of a glorious hereafter if we followed the spiritual teachings of a Jesus they painted white with flowing blonde hair and blue eyes, and we bit into that while they took our labor and humiliated our people.
Effectively, they say, we were tamed with the Jesus Bible story, and if our ancestors hadn’t been tamed by Jesus, they would have been able to unite and throw off the shackles.
I accept that those philistines used Jesus for the purpose of enriching themselves (woe to them for their dishonesty), but I don’t think the school is looking at the complete picture.
Those three hundred years were terrible, and our ancestors got through it with the hope and help of Jesus. Our ancestors’ sufferings not only made them relate to the cross: it gave them ownership. When we listen to Mahalia Jackson and Joseph Niles sing the songs of the Old Time Religion, we can feel our ancestors’ pain, and their hope for salvation, not only for their souls, but from the heavy chains on their feet.
Some people like to criticize those Christians who absorbed all the pagan rituals, the Krismos and the Easter and such; well, a similar thing happened when our ancestors took the Christianity the Europeans brought and made it their own. Interestingly, the ancient books show clearly that European Christianity is actually rooted in Africa.
I don’t think the school that calls for us to abandon Jesus is completely groundless; I just don’t think they grasp the entire picture. White people used Jesus for material increase. Our ancestors loved Jesus because he carried them through the roughest times any people have ever experienced.
If the school would look closely, they would see that the black followers of Jesus are not in chains. Black people who are followers of Baha’u’llah and Elijah Muhammad, two prophets who do not deny the glory of the Christ, are not in chains either. The black people who are in chains are our young who have lost or don’t have religious grounding. They are our lost sheep.
Let the cyclists ride
Hmm, I’m not too sure I’m with the postponement of the annual cycle classic, the Cross Country Race. We should have the race, with restrictions. There can be no foreigners from afar, and foreigners from near who want to compete would have to show clearance from a negative COVID-19 test. As usual, people in the countryside will come out and watch the race, but we understand, so we will keep the appropriate social distance. The finish line could be cordoned off so that there is no gathering.
Ha, the race would break up early, because no one will want to be riding in anyone’s draft.
The football games and basketball games should resume, and to keep the audiences down a large entrance fee could be charged. Foreign players who have not travelled home for a while would be allowed to compete, and those who are presently outside of the country would have to wait for the all clear.
My parents’ youngest son, who, to be kind, was completely disinterested in football and basketball, and liked tennis enough to win a title for juniors, found his talent in long distance running when he went to live in the US, and at the age of 50, when he was poised to do great things in the 50-plus category at the Boston Marathon, he tore a muscle in his groin. My brother, having broken the 15k record in Arizona in consecutive races in his category earlier this year, was poised, a legitimate contender, to win the 60-plus category at the Boston Marathon, until bah, the race was cancelled.
Cancelling the race is a major disappointment for the athletes. The Boston Marathon is a great spectacle; many fans look forward to it all year long, but their anticipation cannot begin to compare with the sacrifice the athletes make to compete in the grueling 26-mile race. The Americans might be tired of Kenyans winning the race, why they were so eager to cancel it.
In Belize we aren’t eager for these cancellations. It won’t be the same without the fans in the stadiums, but the athletes can be assured that we will be watching them on television or listening on radio, soh dehn betta noh du fool.
Hey, athletes have the greatest lung power in our population. They could reduce the chance of contracting the virus (and subsequently spreading it) by practicing some better hygiene, like stop spitting on the field (immediate tarjeta roja), and no one with the snivels should be allowed to play.
Henry Young helped make BEL the company it is today
Just in case any of the young employees at BEL think that former Tourism Minister, Henry Young, has been a client of the Belize Electricity Limited for only five years, as appeared in his letter to the Amandala a couple weeks ago — “I have been a faithful payer of my bills over 5 years”- – the real is that Mr. Young has been using the electricity services of the national provider and faithfully paying his bills for over 50 years!
Mahatma Ghandi said, “A customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption of our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider of our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favour by serving him. He is doing us a favour by giving us the opportunity to do so.”
Good clients are to die for, for it is they who buy the produce and pay for all the costs, including salaries that are essential to production. I hope that our BEL hastily reconnected the juice for Mr. Young’s friend in Placencia, and that the company gave a full ear to his recommendation so that now they are far less likely to inconvenience their older customers, especially those who have faithfully been paying their bills for decades.