Wednesday, June 21, 2006

racist movie that stereotypes our ancestors

how much money did they pay this actor?

boycott disney movies now!!!!

boycott disney

Boycott Disney, Pirates of the Caribbean

Starting in February of 2005, we began to post a number of items regarding Walt Disney's proposed plans for showing Island Caribs as blood thirsty man eaters. In Dominica, where parts of the film were shot, then Carib Chief Charles Williams loudly protested the movie and condemned select members of the Carib Territory for collaborating with Disney. The Government of Dominica warmly welcomed Disney, guided by the incredible notion that a media giant showing local natives as cannibals would promote tourism to the island. The movie was also shot in St. Vincent. Since then, Chief Williams was deposed by the Government of Dominica (although to what extent Williams embarrassing the government over this issue played any role in the government's decision is unclear for now). Other indigenous communities, including Tainos, Garifuna, and the Caribs of Trinidad, also vigorously protested the movie in the news media. Indian Country Today in the United States ran an editorial that was very critical of Disney's plans.

Now, the movie is about to hit theaters and, if anything, it appears to be worse than was first imagined. A trailer for the film clearly shows the Caribs roasting live people on spits and holding captives to be a stark reminder of some of the most vile imperialistic imagery produced in the early colonial era. Such images are getting a new lease on life thanks to Disney, which with the resources that rival those of a colonial power, has now dedicated itself to popularizing and internationalizing images of the Caribs as "cannibals". You can see the movie trailer at: Images that follow are stills from the trailer, accompanied by one colonial illustration that seems to have been part of the corpus of visual imperial denigrations that the movie so cheerfully enhances.

Let us keep in mind that such depictions were used to enslave and murder the ancestors of today's Caribs, there was never anything innocent or "fun" about these portrayals. In addition, generations of Carib descended school children in the Caribbean have been taught that their ancestors were savage cannibals. Shame over ancestry was inculcated as a matter of routine. In my own field research experience, I have encountered individuals in their forties and fifties who told me very directly that the main reason they did not wish to self-identify as Caribs is that people in the wider world see Caribs as cannibals, as inhuman man eaters, and they found the stigma unbearable. Disney is playing its part in centuries of ethnocide.

This action on the part of Disney, flying in the face of countless protests, is not accidental, nor just uninformed carelessness. Let's place these images in their current context as well. This is a time of renewed generalizing about the "non-West" as the "uncivilized" world of inhumane acts of savage atrocities. Anti-immigrant attitudes are on the rise in many Western countries. Anyone "brown-skinned" is deemed a potential terrorist. This is not inflammatory exaggeration on my part: for a glimpse at the tip of the iceberg, look at reports produced within the Canadian media itself:

Many white citizens adjoining Native reserves seem to feel empowered now to express openly derogatory views about Natives, even joining in the occasional riot where they can bash some in the face. A peaceful gathering of Natives in Canada is widely depicted as "terrorism". You don't believe me? Please have a look at pages from the Caledonia Citizens Alliance where members of the public submit their feedback on the issue of the Native reoccupation of their territory.
Images specifically of charred bodies, hung like roasted offerings, have also been popularized in the international press, especially when showing the "horrid" acts of Iraqi insurgents in Fallujah who captured and killed four American mercenaries in March of 2004.

All of the raw material, daily news, centuries of inherited stereotypes, revived bigotry, fear, hatred and paranoia are all out there ready to be fused in people's minds who are thus predisposed to making a series of associations. One line of association is that linking Al Qaida with all Muslims, then immigrants, "brown skin," Natives, and finally Caribs. The other line of associations to complement the first: terrorism, insurgence, resistance and cannibalism.
This is the world we are inheriting, folks! Either we deal with these issues head on, or sit back and let the tide of a new nazism wash over us with the help of our own quiescence.
Disney's concept of family "fun" is about as light hearted as showing groups of Jews as rats. Disney won't do exactly that, since that is anti-semitism, and numerous holocaust memorials tell us "never again." But really, never again? That seems to be either unduly hopeful or just terribly naive.

You are encouraged to actively protest and boycott Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest and any and all Disney products. Such cultural imperialism cannot be allowed to pass without consequence.

"We do not
inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from ourchildren." Native American Proverb

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

perhaps now-whether blight or dwight wins tonight

Perhaps now

we made it
to the world cup

maybe football
go replace the senseless
murders & kidnappings

perhaps now
our sons will wear tugs
foget the politrickians
an' put down de guns

i give thanks as the spirit of the Zed festival
has shone light
in the darkness

the pyramids of
blood red, pure white
an' deep oil pitch black
our national flag fluttering

may the ancestors be praised
oui boys climb up a level

dance dance
wave the flags for
all the ancestors
the spirits
of all who strove
so that these days
after deluge of yemanja
ogun clashing
sXango calling

give thanks
kick de ball
straight into the nets
we go never geh teef again

put down de
imported machine.gun
kick ah ball
lift yuh head
shout it loud
dis better than
kickin' condensed milk tin

oyah oui
© roi kwabena

me ah soca warrior

Trinidad & Tobago Football team
to play against Paraguay today

Monday, June 19, 2006

Honourable Chief Servant Tubal Uriah Butler


Chief Servant Butler

Chief servant Tubal Uriah "Buzz" Butler
Crossed over-1977

A labour leader in Trinidad and Tobago. He is best known for leading a series of labour riots between June 19 and July 6, 1937 and for forming a series of personalist political parties that focused its platform on the improvement of the working class.

Chief Servant Butler first came to prominence in 1935 when he led a "hunger march" from the oilfields to Port of Spain. In 1936 he was expelled from the Trinidad Labour Party for his "extremist tendencies". He then formed the British Empire Citizens' and Workers' Home Rule Party. On June 19 1937, a strike in protest of working conditions, wages, racism and exploitation began in the oilfields in the southern Trinidad. Police attempted to arrest Butler as he addressed a meeting in Fyzabad.

His supporters prevented the police from doing so and Charlie King, a policeman was killed. The Labour riots of 1937 resulted in turmoil throughout the oilfields. When strikes spread to the sugar factories, the Colonial government responded by issuing an arrest warrant for Butler. Butler went into hiding and the colonial authorities were unable to locate him. He stayed in contact with the authorities through Adrian Cola Rienzi and although he was promised safe passage by the colonial authorities to testify at a commission of enquiry into the events of June 1937, he was arrested by the colonial government when he emerged to do so.

Butler was detained by the colonial authorities from September 9, 1937 to May 1939. With the outbreak of World War II in September, 1939, Butler was re-arrested and imprisoned for the duration of the war. After release from prison Butler formed the Butler Home Rule Party, which later became the Butler Party. The Butler Party which captured the largest block of seats in the Legislative Council, but the Governor chose to exclude Butler and instead a favoured mulatto named Albert Gomes became the first Chief Minister.

In the 1956 General Elections the Butler Party only won two seats. Butler, hero of the Afro-Trinidadian working class was effectively dispossessed by Eric Williams and the People's National Movement.

Butler is looked upon as the founding father of the Oilfields Workers' Trade Union (OWTU) and the labour movement and is honoured with a statue in Fyzabad. He was awarded the Trinity Cross, the nation's highest honour, in 1970.

BUTLERS POLITICAL PARTIES----------------------
The British Empire Citizens' and Workers' Home Rule Party, Butler Home Rule Party and the Butler Party were a series of political parties in Trinidad and Tobago organised by T.U.B. Butler. Although he first founded the British Empire Citizens' and Workers' Home Rule Party in 1936 after he split from the Trinidad Labour Party, Butler spent most of the period from 1937 to 1945 in prison. Butler was arrested after the labour riots of 1937 and imprisoned until 1939. However, he was re-arrested in 1939 at the start of World War II because he was seen as a security threat to one of the British Empire's main supplies of petroleum.

After he was released from prison at the end of the war, Butler re-organised the British Empire Citizens' and Workers' Home Rule Party to fight the 1946 General Elections. The party won three of the nine available seats on the Legislative Council. In the 1950_General_Elections the Butler Home Rule Party won seven of the eighteen available seats. Although the party secured a plurality of elected seats in the Legislative Council, the British government feared Butler as a radical and instead asked the other Independent members to form the government. Consequently, Albert Gomes was the first Chief Minister and not Butler.

The Butler Party won two of the 24 seats in the 1956_General_Elections, and two of 72 seats in the 1959 County Council Elections, but won no seats thereafter. The 1966 General Elections was the last one contested by the party. Butler died in 1977.

OUR Indigenous ancestors were NEVER CANNIBALS


here is not west india
here is not west india
here is not west india


so how dare you
baptise our emerald isles,
Home to canabales...
these mountain tops of atlantis….
aquamarine basin of unclaimed
shipwrecked treasures, soothing
drunken dreams of criminals,
pirates, buccaneers an’ slave traders…

here still live
cayman an’ agouti

take back these identities
you gave my wind swept
Volcanic rocks

st croix…
st kitts,
st eustatius
st vincent
st thomas

these names of saints
made hallow by some
Christian praise… yet
who have never, ever trod
our shores, bitten by sand-flies
nor mosquitoes,
dem never even feel a hurricane
or even sucked mango or sugar-cane

look.., we reclaim
playground of julica
our rainbow….

anguilla, that eel
remains my sacred retreat…
with reverence to jocahu
in rainy season..
the salt of our tears...

get thee hence sint maarten
patron of tourism
spending us dollars
yet not half French
not half dutch
but plenty cruise ship

look. …Look..
look raleigh on fire,
cancer an’ legal hysteria
multi-national tobacconists
running for cover….

Oh tobago
was never home
to man Friday
Or robinson crusoe…

neither can
la isla de la trinidad
replace my paradise
home of ya’ay’a

here is not west india
here is not west india

nor the taino
mistaken sarawak
Or dare you call the
Gallabi a carib

Warrahu an karfuna children
Still eating pone…

ya’ay’a ya’ay’a

westindia-© roi kwabena
y42k CD