a monument paying homage to our “melting pot of races”
and cultures in Panama
was inaugurated on October 17, 2003,
and is located on Amador Causeway
just outside the city.
Image thanks to the Panamá América daily newspaper.
As we have already noted, all three actors arrived on the scene in and about the same time in the history of Panama, just as it occurs today in our country where a myriad of Chinese youth make all attempts at reaching the shores of Panama with the intention of reaching the streets of any of the Chinatowns in the USA.
So it was in the days of our Black Westindian ancestors. Interaction between the Black Westindian coolies and the Asians could not have been more disastrous, as it would later develop. Today, we who observe the results of what transcended are witnesses of the often flawed relations which have followed us to this day.
To be a researcher and to find the meager sources for what had been the activities of our ancestors, is proof enough that comparisons force us to rely on our own assessment of what occurred in those earlier years, when some coolie groups thought themselves better, even superior, to the “other” coolies. For those foreigners, still obscured by the errors of the times, with some looking through the eyes of desperation for their own situation, yearning, perhaps, to die in the waters of the Sacred Ganges, there was a genuine fear to die like Westindian Blacks who were still viewing the surrounding landscape as if they were still in chains, shackled to their masters’ will and desires.
Nevertheless, there still exists a vacuum in our history, a space so wide that we have found it necessary to fill it with grains of sand- a primitive substance to build our bricks- with which we will use to construct the missing part of our fathers’ home, a home we hope will accommodate all our prodigal “coolies,” which today are lost to radicalism, vandalism and the plain ignorance which fear engenders in our human and materialistic hearts. Our tools, then, will be used to bring our neglected eyes into focus with hope to see clearly as we spread the bonding substance on them. Then, and only then, will we feel satisfied to stand back and observe with pride all who we have resurrected and placed as sustaining pillars in the structure of our historical home, who have always been our ancestors.
Regardless of their roles in our history, and the makeup of our beloved country of Panama, we are here claiming them all as part of we Panamanians. We hope that those who look through our telescope will see us today as those who have preceded us, but with a distinctly changed role to those who acted before us; through our lens we’ve become those who meet and worship together, unlike our repentant ancestors, who parted company as soon as they exited the stage of our theater in history, never again to meet.
We do well to ask, “How could we be led to find our ancestors, if it is only as recent as the last twenty years that we have been able to have real access to documents, trails, and traces of what they, our forebears, had really been.” Then, again, we have really only gotten to be “present” with each other in very recent times when we could count on our chosen sons, such as General Omar Torrijos, who really sacrificed himself to give us all, as Panamanian people, some example of Love of Country, for one can not love a country if one does not love its people.
But, how can one love a people who do not love themselves, a country that mimics ways foreign to what they hope to grow to be, nurturing a group of citizenry that makes all efforts to deny their fellow citizens their God given rights to life, liberty and happiness. This is the substance of our present reality, for we are not the infant people of Panama anymore; we have joined the big leagues and partake in all the games.
In actuality we cry when our sport luminaries lose, a disgrace to our “Panamanian-ess,” and we rejoice when they bring home the symbolic gold of championship. So then we are bonded closer than we imagine by our ancestry, for we are one as our country is one and the only Panama. We have that unique feature which is in no way a mark against us, but with us and within us. Our ancestors live forever, for they have left a trail for us to follow, of course, not as they did in their day, but a path all the same.
They continue to act upon our lives as surely as if they were alive and roaming the earth with us today. They have left us Westindians with an ancestry blazoned upon our identity with the colors of every flag in the glory of Europe, just as we have blended them here in our hemisphere with the essence of the flags of Asia and Africa.
This story continues.