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No need to look elsewhere for our heritage

Dear Sir,

Permit me to make a little comment on Christopher Famous's July 28 article titled “Honest question: are we truly emancipated”.

Just as a clarification: yes, the slave trade began from 1494 following the Catholic conquest of Granada when the Portuguese took a group of their conquered African Moors to what now is Barbados. The point to realise is that the Caribbean was in continuous flux for more than 150 years because of the intense maritime warfare between rivalling European nations seeking to establish a foothold to exploit wealth from this New World.

Trinidad might have changed hands about five or six times before being established as an English country; similar for many of the little Caribbean nations. It would not be until about 1675 and thereafter that there would be continuous rule in those territories.

In that regard, Bermuda was different: it had continuous rule from its inception. The cultural definition made out of the mix of the African, Indian, Irish and English fused into a Bermudian, and not Caribbean, culture. We have the same racial and ethnic ingredients, but slightly different mix and a different temperance grown out of a maritime experience; not that of a plantocracy.

Mr Famous exhorts us to be drawn on our Caribbean heritage to gain strength and draw example.

However, if I had to draw on our histories, particularly the entrepreneurial history, I would be better placed to look at my Bermudian heritage and legacy where it would be hard-pressed to find any group of blacks anywhere, even in the United States, as a comparison.

I relish my Caribbean connections and delight in knowing I am part of that experience. Unless I knew nothing of my Bermuda heritage, which for many is too often the case, I may have to borrow from my Caribbean roots. But when I just take one of my Bermuda ancestors, namely Anthony Darrell, who purchased his freedom in 1825, purchased and freed his wife, and by 1834 was taxed on £3,400 value of land and assets, why would I need to go any farther, for example. My entire family have been endowed with that trait. We don't have to go anywhere else to get it, Mr Famous.

By extension, because I know who my white relatives and family are, and that same blood runs through my veins, why can I not claim the history that is also associated? I often tell people when my genes arrived, they came as the captain of the ship, the crew and the cargo — and I won't dismiss any of it. So, hell yes, when the Tuckers get together at tea and talk about their ancestors who plotted the gunpowder theft, I share it. When the Burlands and the Goslings celebrate their infamous Captain Nathaniel Darrell, I also celebrate it as a g, g, g, g uncle. Why not?

KHALID WASI

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Published August 08, 2015 at 9:00 am (Updated August 08, 2015 at 1:51 am)

No need to look elsewhere for our heritage

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