In upcoming articles we will show that the issues that I have been covering did not only affect West Indians as a group of people of African descent, but they have left a strain on our Latino-American culture, and have also affected us in our psychology as a people who have a large part in Latin American history. It is our hope that these articles would stir most young people the world over to seek peace and to work to eradicate racism and classism.
Also, we hope to demonstrate how we are related in struggle to peoples in the countries of Asia and the Pacific Rim in showing that our struggles were not so unique as they too struggled against the same oppressive behavior of the powers set to keep us enslaved, powers without identifiable names sometimes and countries who seek to use young energetic people of all races the world over to labor for them with no hope of bettering their lives. We would also strive to expose myths that have us believing that wars can solve every social and economic problem.
We particularly hope to make people understand how evil it was for the societies on this planet to have victimized a whole race of people, and then blame them for not retaliating leaving them no avenue of redress, and later vilifying the victims as an undesirable race and class of people no one wanted to associate with. The disastrous aftermath of those periods of slavery and semi slavery have left black Latino Americans still suffering because of the color of our skin, in our struggle alongside other peoples and races of the world for redress. It is still evident that we have a lot of educating to do.
There are still people in far off places of our planet who act as though they are somehow more worthy and more prized than us a people they’ve never even heard of or us of them. And yet, in our hope that this XXI century would be recognized as the century of real enlightenment, we strive to remedy that lost knowledge with our stories since we now have the Internet to carry our message. In fact, this is another hope of our articles,that we would join to keep the World Wide Web free and available to all people.
As I walk the streets of my home town today I notice people are still thinking and living as though it was the XVIII or the middle of the XIX centuries and it motivates me to, once again, extend the invitation to my readers to sit back and get acquainted with me and my people. Get to know one of the battered people of old times, who returned home to receive psychiatric help, so to speak, like the hot war veterans who still come home after each and every war to try and heal wounds that they are ill equipped to deal with on their own.
Our story surely will not end with Old Bea of Bocas del Toro.It has almost brought our readers up to our day, when we have the communicating technology to make our story heard.Today, as West Indians in Panama or the United States or any part of the world, for that matter, I still feel as though we have been disconnected from the life and culture that was part of us in Jamaica.
As I look over the vast expanse of the lives of many of our people, I can observe many who are still functionally and spiritually illiterate, who have no church or religious life and are living a more wretched life than our grandfathers as working men.
I’ve personally witnessed how many West Indian men who had worked for one of the greatest enterprises of the past century, the old Canal Zone, men who came to Panama as very young men, ended up pauperized and unprotected.Indeed, not only men but women who worked for more than twenty five and even thirty years on that Canal Zone, and ended up without any record that they had ever worked or existed. Many ended up without a right to any and all benefits in their retirement years.
I’ve conversed with men who came to Panama as young as fifteen and worked thirty and forty years, who ended up set aside, without any retirement plan to benefit their old age, to be cared for by family members, neighbors and even close friends, because they had no relatives left. In most cases they continue to suffer the hate their race, culture, and the color of their skin still invariably attracts amongst the people of this generation.
It would seem that history is repeating itself today, as it did in the late XIX century, when the Americans of the north consolidated their economic power in Central America. It will be left for us, the ones of this generation and the ones to come, to attempt to inject some intelligence into our present time and analyze the mentality of the people of those times and invite the coming generations to fairly judge our peoples’ endeavors for their true worth.
This story continues.