Saturday 29th July, 2006

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Emancipated at last

In the morning

When the moon is at its rest

You will find me

At the time I love the best

Watching rainbows play on sunlight

Pools of water

Ice cream cold nights

In the morning

Can’t you imagine it?

It’s the morning of my life

—In the Morning Nina Simone

It didn’t occur to me until this week how much I missed being part of Emancipation celebrations.

It took a troupe of dancers from North West Laventille to do the trick. To make my heart skip a beat and my eyes well up with tears, and for a second I couldn’t figure out why I was feeling these happy sad feelings.

Sometimes you don’t realise how much you’ve missed something till you see it there in front of you.

Even through the emotion, the anticipation of the dawn of another Emancipation morning, I ask myself what does it really mean.

Is it self-reflection or neo-tribalism? Are we remembering our history for a reason or are we going to make Emancipation into another excuse to dress and find our place?

The years in exile, the times when I didn’t have the physical reassurances of drums and bodies and the rhythmic shuffle of feet marching through streets, I didn’t really miss it. I had had a lifetime of those processions. It grew up with me. It got bigger and better. It had a crisis of consciousness.

Free now. Free to gather. Free to celebrate.

Free to be born-again Africans and free to put on persona on the one day that it is socially acceptable only to bury it in the cupboards for the rest of the year.

We free. So they say. No shackles but the bling chains on our necks. No slave master but the multinational corporations. No overseer but the ministers. No Uncle Toms but the drug dealers.

We real free. So free that we don’t know what to do with all this freeness.

We so free we pay plenty money to jail ourselves back into barb-wired-gated communities.

When you’re in it, it’s easy to not see the flaws. It’s easy to say everything nice. I mean to say, look at black people in all their glory. On the streets dancing. It’s beautiful yes. It’s beautiful too, to be a part of the mass. To not be the oddity.

But the next day we sink back into the fear.

The fear that we will become so locked into frenning with only those who look like us that we think that we must deny ourselves culturally to be not seen as too unaccommodating.

But that is a mistaken notion. The missing ingredient in this celebration of self-awareness is balance. Loving yourself does not mean hating others. How do people get the two to compute I never really understand.

I tell my elders I am not interested in struggling. I want to win now.

I reason with bredrins about this struggle thing. Everything for a time and a season. I don’t want to be 50 and saying the same things, fighting the same causes. I want to do the job right and once.

My bredrin says choose your battles wisely. But what are the battles that we choose? There will always be those who think something is impossible.

Now the racisms are more pronounced, or perhaps they have more media through which to manifest themselves. After all the liming with woolly European liberals, it alarms me that our vibrations remain base and so counterproductive.

This Emancipation I’m checking out the scenes.

The time for struggling to get along with each other is coming to an end. I declare myself emancipated from the politics of resentment. I declare myself emancipated from the politics of paranoia.

I declare myself emancipated from any confusion between freedom and freeness.





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