Editorial — 10 July 2008
On page 28 in last weekend’s issue of Amandala, a prominent Belizean mulatto paid for a full page advertisement which reproduced a document signed in 1765 by the “inhabitants” of the settlement of Belize in the Bay of Honduras. The document, praised to the skies many times by the late Emory King, was entitled “Burnaby’s Code.”
Technically, the designation “mulatto” refers to the child of a white man and a black woman. In 1765, there were no children of black men and white women. This was because white supremacy was absolute in 1765, and it was murderous.
Today, the designation “mulatto” is used loosely to refer to those who are of mixed European and African ancestry. We use this term with no disrespect, because the family which owns this newspaper is a mulatto family, so to speak. But we do not share the outlook of the mulatto who paid for last week’s Burnaby’s Code advertisement, so the ad should have indicated that it was a “paid ad,” so as not to create the impression that the newspaper subscribes to the views contained in the ad.
The 85 “persons” who signed Burnaby’s Code in 1765 were all European, to the best of our knowledge. We find it incongruous that Bob Marley should be quoted at the top of the advertisement, because Marley, in his classic “Redemption Song,” referred to those same types of persons as “old pirates.”
Belize’s largest rebellion took place in 1773, eight years after Burnaby’s Code. The history of that rebellion was not publicized in Belize until 1970, 197 years after the fact, and it was publicized by the publisher of this newspaper in a booklet entitled KNOCKING OUR OWN TING. That booklet revealed quite clearly that the publisher of this newspaper was in solidarity with his African maternal ancestry as opposed to his European paternal one. In Belize, this was a revolutionary position in 1970.
Belize is a nation which embraces pluralism, diversity, and multiculturalism. There are many mulattos in Belize, probably the majority thereof, whose solidarity is directly opposite to that of the Amandala publisher. These citizens are in solidarity with their European side, as opposed to their African side.
On the other hand, Amandala has a militant columnist by the name of Clinton Uh Luna whose views we find to be very much anti-European. As reflective of our society and nation-state, this newspaper, published for 39 years and the leading publication for 27 of those years, is pluralistic, diverse and multicultural. Amandala is Belizean – indigenous and authentic. We have space both for Clinton Uh Luna and the presenter of last weekend’s paid ad. Who bex, bex.
We submit to the ad presenter that he can have his views published in this newspaper without having to pay for an advertisement. His views, like Clinton Uh Luna’s, are integral to the socio-political mosaic we call, we cherish – Belize.
In our view, Burnaby’s Code was, implicitly, a white supremacist document. We Belizeans are now living in a supposedly democratic and sovereign state where we find ourselves dominated and intimidated by a descendant of those same Europeans who wrote and signed Burnaby’s Code. In 1773, Burnaby’s Code meant nothing to those 50 Africans who revolted on the Belize Old River. In 2008, what does the Belize Constitution mean to us Belizeans when a single European can hornswoggle us?
All power to the people.