A mighty spirit rose amid misery

  • Models of resilience: Nelson Mandela and his wife, Winnie, stood up for their people despite unmentionable suffering

    Models of resilience: Nelson Mandela and his wife, Winnie, stood up for their people despite unmentionable suffering

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”

— Charles Dickens

Contrary to the wishes of many, December 2, 2016 is a day that will never be erased from the psyche of any Bermudian or resident of Bermuda. No matter what perspective one takes, the events of that day will never remain unseen.

For anyone who was in the vicinity of the House of Parliament on that day, at approximately 1.15pm their eyes, ears and hearts would have beheld something that no human being should ever witness in their lifetime.

To see heavily armed police, in full body armour, attempt to barrel their way through persons with nothing more than a sweater or jacket to protect themselves is not a sight any human being should ever witness.

To look and see the naked facial aggression those agents of the state intent on crushing not just a gathering but indeed crushing the spirit of oneness that prevailed that day is not a sight any human being should ever witness.

As Bob Marley once sang, “I could not recognise the faces standing over me, all dressed in the uniforms of brutality.”

To see those elders of our community that have paved the way for our generation through blood, sweat and tears being herded, accosted and doused with chemicals is not something that any human being should ever have to witness.

All around us, our island had, in the blink of an eye, sharply returned to the era of draconian state rule, intent on suppressing the will of the majority. An urban landscape littered not only with grown men and women writhing in agony, but more importantly the hopes, dreams and illusions of equality in our island home, destroyed by the intent and actions of those agents of the state.

For many, this was no different than the events that happened on Bloody Sunday on March 7, 1965 on the Edmund Pettus Bridge near Selma, Alabama.

For many, this was no different than the events of March 21, 1960 in Sharpeville, South Africa.

Indeed, it was a return to the worst of times.

Yet amid outright aggression and misery, there rose a spirit that could never be oppressed or suppressed. In those moments of chaos, never once did our people lose resolve to stand firm and run away from their mission.

In those moments of open aggression, never once did our people use their majority numbers to return like aggression against those who sought to oppress them.

In those moments of shock and horror, never once did our people lose their compassion for their fellow human beings.

The wounded were attended to by strangers flushing their eyes and faces with copious amounts of water. The shocked and brokenhearted were comforted by anyone who was close enough to wrap their loving arms around them.

Indeed, at that moment in time, humanity rose to its highest heights.

It was a major miscalculation to think that the use of those agents of the state would quell the peaceful uprising of the people. The political and police actions of December 2, 2016 served not to break our people, but those actions have bonded us closer.

When a people collectively reach into their souls and see that their very survival depends on the strength and unity of togetherness, they have risen above all obstacles.

Indeed, it is the best of times.

Amandla! Awethu!

Power to the people!

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Published Dec 30, 2016 at 8:00 am (Updated Dec 30, 2016 at 8:35 am)

A mighty spirit rose amid misery

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