This is in reference to Clinton Luna’s “Col. S.A. Haynes” (Amandala, 8/18/2020], which contains an oft-heard lament that Mayan heroes are “…never officially recognized.” I would urge him to read again the piece I wrote, captioned “Needed: A Bull’s Eye Reset” (Amandala, 7/21/2020), which seems to have jump-started a series of claims and counter-claims between himself and an Amandala columnist.
I’ll put the matter in simple terms in order to aid Mr. Luna’s grasp of the central theme, because he continues to throw darts at the author of “Land of the Gods.” First, it was Haynes’ ethnicity, then his façade of bravery, followed by his cultural and ethical deficits. This time he has added dishonesty and what sounds like fifth-columnist leanings.
Here’s the deal, Mr. Luna. In “Land of the Gods” Mr. Haynes offered the best chance the Maya had of official, national recognition. At the time he wrote the poem, (1928), he didn’t know the lyrics would become the national anthem of Belize. It had to have been irresistible pressure put on the then 70-year-ld poet to substitute “Free” for “Gods” in the poem, knowing, as he did, that the substitution was a backhand to the face of the Maya, and that much of the unifying force of the poem would be lost with the loss of the word “Gods.”
Brother Luna, what you can do is this. The Yucatec Maya have an NGO, the “To’one.” Join me and let us agitate for the restoration of the word “Gods” (gods) in the national anthem. Leave Haynes alone. He did all he could for the cause. Nor should we worry now about who did the backhanding. Let’s focus on who’s to put “gods” back in.
(P.S. My use of “brother” is more than a courtesy. My paternal grandmother was a diminutive Mayan lady from Honduras. She was a Peña by birth.)