Who are we, really? We need to make up our minds
I would like to bring back to the attention of the public an issue I had written to you about some time ago. The more I sit and observe our citizenship and status situation as a somewhat semi-stateless people, I ask myself this question: are we really and truly satisfied with our state of affairs?
First of all, what do I mean by being semi-stateless?
We have peopled Bermuda for more than 400 years and still don’t have legitimate citizenship or birthright to it — and the reason for that is, we who live in Bermuda don’t have the authority to determine what our citizenship status should be.
It is Britain that determines that, and not us.
The only time that any group of people can truly call themselves citizens and claim birthright to any country in which they live is when that country becomes a legitimised, sovereign independent state.
Mr Editor, I’m really just about sick and tired of listening to us stateless Bermudians bragging about us being the national this and the national that.
It reminds me of a guy who goes about printing counterfeit dollar bills, then passes them off to the public as being legal tender.
I was really blown away the other night as I was home watching on TV the CAC Games taking place in Colombia.
I just sat there flabbergasted when it appeared Bermuda was selling itself to the world as if it were an independent nation. Well, up went the flag as they were playing our so-called national song, Hail to Bermuda.
Mr Editor, we are not an independent nation, thus we cannot lay claim to the word “national”, period.
My suggestion to the people of Bermuda is to knock it off and stop selling ourselves to the world as some kind of counterfeit nation.
Yes, I was amazed when Georgia Marshall stood down there on the Senate grounds, a woman who has status in two other countries, and made an insulting statement that Bermudians were born in Bermuda by accident of birth.
Not only was I angry, but I didn’t hear much outcry coming from the rest of the public, either.
Are we that aloof, I wonder? Yet at the same time, as I later began to give much thought about her statement and our status situation, I began to think that maybe she was not that far off from being wrong. So what is it that would make me reconsider that Marshall’s insulting statement about us not being true Bermudians could be possibly right?
1, Bermuda is still tied to Britain as a colony
2, The very Constitution that governs our civil affairs is the property of Britain; thus Bermuda has no right or authority to change any part of it without notifying Britain first
3, Britain, which has a Parliament in which we do not have one elected member sitting, has absolute authority to make null and void our elected House of Assembly if and when it feels it necessary to do so
4, It is Britain, only, that gets to decide what our citizenship status should be, and not us. They have done it at least three times already without our input
5, Britain could pass legislation in the House of Commons that could drastically affect our lives and we would not be able to do anything about it
So much for Bermuda and its illusion of being a democracy. Remember, it is only stamped in our passports that we are registered as Bermudian; the title that Britain has designated us is “Overseas Dependent Territories Citizen”.
At least that’s a step up from once being nothing more than a “British subject”.
Well, I guess, Mr Editor, that I would have to thank Britain, our dictatorial colonial master, for at least pinning the citizenship label on our lapels. After all, were it not for them, I would be a nobody. Does anyone in Bermuda have the will to gather up enough energy to claim the authority of statehood to achieve the above. What do you say, Mr Editor?
I think that one of our problems is the low quality of real leadership that we have here. It does not matter from whatever political angle it supposedly comes, the will just does not seem to be there, Mr Editor.
No one seems to want to take the bull by the horns and establish within us that sense of true national pride.
Are we just simply satisfied with being propped up by this false sense of empty, counterfeit nationalism we seem to enjoy embracing?
Well, who knows, maybe we will be stuck out here drifting randomly about in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, going nowhere for the next hundred or more years in this same old, tired position of a false national stalemate.
E. McNEIL STOVELL