National identity a state of mind
A few days ago a question was posed on a Facebook group that asked the following: “How many of you consider De Rock part of the Caribbean?”
Ninety per cent of the answers were as follows; “Not!!!” “No way”. “Negative!!!”.
No real surprises with the negative tones of the replies.
On one hand, they were absolutely correct that we are not geographically part of the Caribbean. The nearest Caribbean Islands, the Bahamas islands, are some 700 miles to our southwest. As a matter of fact, we are on the North American tectonic plate.
However, while we are not geographically part of the Caribbean, it remains that a large proportion of Bermudians of all hues can trace their lineage to the Caribbean.
Dockyard was extended with the labour of hundreds of persons from the Caribbean who settled here. It was Bermudians of all hues who originally populated the Turks & Caicos Islands. Thousands of their descendants still live there.
Most significantly, our beloved Gombeys can trace their origins to St Kitts & Nevis.
Yet, ironically, many have been indoctrinated to believe that being a part of the Caribbean should not be held in high regard.
Jolly Ole England
Speaking of geography, we are some 3,447 miles away from London. Basically, five times farther away than we are from the Caribbean.
Population-wise, while many can look to Britain as their motherland, the majority of Bermudians have no direct DNA or cultural ties to Britain.
Yet, for centuries, although we are 3,447 miles away from London, we have been equally indoctrinated that we are all British and that the empire was good for all.
The reality is that most citizens of Bermuda and the other Overseas Territories are considered British only because of colonialism.
Yes, the same colonialism that committed untold amounts of genocide in the Americas, Asia, Africa and Australia.
Lest we forget, under the auspices of the Crown, British colonisers went on to seize their lands, exploit their natural resources and enslave their people for centuries.
If we wish to be totally honest, that is the sole reason why the English language is spoken around the world and why most in the Overseas Territories are “British”.
These undeniable acts of British colonial savagery cannot be sanitised with pomp and pageantry. Without a doubt, this is why many former colonies are now exercising their democratic right and are seeking to remove the last vestiges of colonial control.
In Australia, Labour’s 2021 national platform stated the party “supports and will work towards establishing an Australian republic with an Australian head of state”. The new prime minister, Anthony Albanese, has spoken at events held by the Australian Republican Movement, telling a 2019 dinner “a modern Australian republic is an idea whose time has come”.
“I am heartened that Barbados and now Jamaica are taking steps towards becoming truly independent by removing the Queen as head of state and becoming republics.”
Bermuda itself is in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean; however, Bermudians come from many diverse backgrounds: Asian, Azorean, British, Caribbean, European, Native American, and many more spots around on the globe.
We should all be proud of wherever it is that we come from.
• Christopher Famous is the government MP for Devonshire East (Constituency 11). You can reach him on WhatsApp at 599-0901 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org