I was somewhat surprised to find my name included in Christopher Famous’s political magic show last week. Once again, he has attempted to argue a point by erecting multiple straw man arguments that he can easily tear down. This is easily accomplished when he quotes people out of context, but I must give him credit for his stagecraft. It was ridiculously dishonest but, still, incredibly impressive!
To explain, in the December 30 column, Famous wrote:
“A few weeks ago someone made a comment that colonialism in Bermuda cannot be compared to other places, as there were no Indigenous persons in Bermuda. Meaning, unlike places such as North America or Asia, the British did not have to kill anyone in order to take this island.”
If you go back a few weeks to read the comment section to his December 9 column, you will not find anyone making a comment about Bermuda not being able to be compared to other places. Regardless, Famous has this week inferred that Bermyman was trying to sanitise history. Actually, the entire basis of Bermyman’s simple point was that Bermuda’s origins are different from pre-populated areas. He made that abundantly clear with sentences such as:
“The first settlers did not arrive and take lands and destroy the cultures of an indigenous peoples that already existed on the island.”
Bermyman had narrowly defined colonisation but was still making an important distinction. However, because the definition of colonisation had been narrowed, I believed that Famous was absolutely right to point out that:
“Only one set of people voluntarily settled in the west.”
Yes, you read that correctly. Not only did I agree with Famous, but I explicitly wrote: “You are correct on that point…”.
Exactly how does one flip agreement into disagreement? Perhaps with a tip of a magic wand on a hat? Well, Famous did it by making an illogical connection between my comment about “medical assistance” to his core argument about sanitising the past. Exactly what is the connection Famous sees here? It’s like he linked two rings of completely independent thoughts together in order to come up with his own counterpoint.
For Famous’s next trick, take note that my comment referred to “medical assistance”, and not “medical services” (as he twisted it). When read in context, I was obviously referring to the free vaccines Overseas Territories received during the pandemic — not the medical services Bermudians obtain from other countries on a more routine basis. But with a switch of one word, Famous presented my comment as agreement with a point that Bermyman never made in the first place.
All jokes aside, Famous’s December 30 column provides the answer to the final paragraph I posted on the December 9. That is, the real questions about independence will be avoided. Instead, they will be replaced by false arguments heavily weighted towards the historical horrors of colonialism. We will not be informed about how independence might impact our present and future. Instead, attempts will be made to manipulate our justifiable anger about the past. I wrote as much on December 9, and I now share those views in their full context:
“You are correct on that point, but your core argument is based on the past instead of the present or the future. It’s like if I bought a 75-year-old derelict house, carried out substantial renovations, and then had a real estate agent advise me to sell it for what it was worth pre-renovation 75 years ago. That simply makes no sense.
“We now live in an age where our ‘colonial relationship’ gives Bermudians access to emergency medical assistance, alternative education, alternative employment, alternative career and alternative retirement options. Bermuda’s decision on independence should therefore be based on three basic questions:
1, What new things will we be able to do if we go independent?
2, Will the impact of colonialism actually be reduced or nullified by going independent?
3, What is the price for these new freedoms?
If the Progressive Labour Party avoids these questions, it is likely to drag the independence question out for decades to come, or drag Bermuda into an irreversible, potentially destructive situation that has not been fully evaluated.”