VOICE FOR AN INDEPENDENT MONTSERRAT
THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE CARIBBEAN PAN-AFRICAN MOVEMENT
Where on earth is Montserrat?
Montserrat is 16 45/ N, 62 14/ W amongst the chain of islands commonly referred to as the "West Indies" or as the original inhabitants called these islands, the "Antilles."
It is uniquely situated on the globe to be the optimum military strategic telecommunications link for the western hemisphere.
The shut-down of the voice of the Caribbean, the "Big RA" by its controlling interests, coincided with the fall of the "iron curtain," and the Berlin Wall. Montserrat, according to authorities, is a key point in the western hemisphere's global commercial telecommunications system.
How did Montserratians get to where we are today?
We were civilized, free, peaceful, social people who were kidnapped, chained, sold and shipped from Afrika to the Antilles by Europeans. Those of our fore-parents who survived the ordeal became the property of these Europeans for their (the European's) gain.
Our fore-parents, fought and won physical freedom, but were outflanked by the Europeans who then perpetuated our mental and economic slavery by maintaining control of the production factors and imposing the values of their Christian, cultural institutions (churches, schools, etc) upon us.
Where is Montserrat today? What is our present situation?
We are where all enslaved and colonised people have gone before. Montserrat is one of the last colonies on earth, owned and controlled by England. The Montserrat Constitution Order 1989 vests executive authority in her majesty which may be exercised on her behalf by the governor.
Proposed legislation does not become law until approved by the governor. Defence, internal security and the judiciary are also controlled by HMG. To some extent, we are controlled and dominated economically by a local ruling class who some would describe as lackeys.
Montserrat has ceased any attempt at organized self-sufficiency in agriculture and other basic necessities and has retrogressed to an import-based economy. This import oriented economy has resulted in a syndrome characterized by reliance and near total dependence on Europe and North America.
This in turn has fostered a depen- dency mindset where we see ourselves as being incapable of feeding and governing ourselves. In short, we view everything external as being better than what we could produce.
All our ideologies on religion, education, government, economics, and culture are those defined and established by western christian civilization.
Montserrat is currently being bombarded through the electronic media, television and videos with the worst aspects of U.S.A. culture in terms of moral content. Montserrat has the lowest literacy rate in the English-speaking Caribbean. Our education system has been deteriorating steadily for the last 25 years. We are now producing an average of 10 A-level students a year.
Our system of education eliminates the majority of its pupils before they write their "O" and "A" levels. Furthermore, the curriculum is barely relevant in preparing students to participate meaningfully in our society. Notwithstanding the mediocre efforts being made to mirror reality, the curriculum still promotes a eurocentric world view.
Where will Montserrat be if we accept the course that's been charted for us?
Montserrat will become non-Montserratian. We will be a minority with even less control over our destiny and may eventually become a displaced people because the land distribution policy will continue to deny us ownership of or access to arable and habitable land.
People of European descent seeking greener pastures when Hong Kong reverts to China and South Africa is taken back by Afrikans, will increase their presence here. We will become second-class citizens in our country, dominated by a new ruling class that will come in to establish control of the `new' financial sector and other aspects of our economy.
This will make it increasingly difficult for us to achieve our independence.
We will lose more of our identity and culture. The fabric of our society will be split apart by the intensified cultural colonisation caused by influx of euro- centric settlers.
Environmental fall-out from so-called progress and free-enterprise will irreparably destroy our paradise. One donor agency recently proposed that recipient countries use their territories as garbage dumps in exchange for so-called development aid.
While a few jobs may be created and some money circulated in the economy, the real long-term benefits belong to the owners and controllers of these enterprises. Movement and storage of hazardous materials and waste byproducts from industrial manufacturing complexes can cause serious damage to our environment in the form of water poisoning, acid rain, etc.
Ultimately Montserratians will become serfs. Montserrat will replace one elite with another, whether European or Afrikan. Montserrat will be subjected to direct rule by HMG.
Where should Montserrat go from here?
"It is fair to say then that the will of the people is the basis of the authority of the Government in Montserrat. It should also be said that if at any time it became clear that the will of the people was for the removal of colonial status, such will would be given effect to by Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom." John F. Wilson, Attorney General, Montserrat 1979-1982
LIBERIA: Charles Ghankay Taylor now controls 99% of the country of Liberia. Contrary to media reports, Amos Sawyer, the current interim head of Liberia, controls only 4/5ths of Monrovia, the capital of Liberia. Liberia was created 145 years ago by the USA government to repatriate freed slaves who wanted to return home. The country was ruled by the descendants of these returnees for 133 years until Samuel Doe seized power in 1980. Doe was the first native Liberian to rule the country since its creation. Taylor served as a member of Doe's cabinet until he could no longer tolerate the government's corruption, and when he objected, was framed for embezzlement and sent to jail. Taylor is half native and half Americo-Liberian. The Americo-Liberians practised a quasi- apartheid system. Native Liberians who make up 97% of the population and whom the Americo-Liberians derogatorily called "country people" had to take up Americo- Liberian names and patronage to get access to education and other basic needs of life. The 1989/90 civil war was itself a fruit of the tree of exploitation planted and nurtured by the Americo-Liberians. For the first few year's of his rule, Doe's government was progressive but then favouritism crept into the administration and corrupted the leadership. So began the civil war. There were 3 warring parties: one faction lead by Doe's soldiers, one by Charles Taylor and one by Prince Yormie Johnson. After two years of civil war, Charles Taylor controls the country but Amos Sawyer has been placed in power by bordering West Afrikan countries through their organization ECOWAS (the West Afrikan Economic Community) for ECOWAS' own benefit. Currently there's a stalemate between Taylor and Sawyer as to how to return Liberia to rule by its people.
SOUTH AFRICA: PAC WANTS MORE THAN `A CUP OF TEA' Johannesburg, August, 1992 (AIA/Mbulelo Mdledle). The Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC) has strongly criticized the African National Congress-lead mass action and 2-day stay away August 3-4. Spokesperson, Barney Desai, says the organization will only support mass action -- including a general strike -- if it is properly organized at regional and national level, if it leads to insurrection and if it is meant to overthrow the regime. The PAC also contends that if mass action is pushed to "its logical conclusion" people can free themselves. Before the overwhelming success of the current stayaway nationwide, both Desai and PAC General Secretary, Benny Alexander incorrectly predicted the strike would flop and said it would make the regime more arrogant in its thinking that people were prepared to accept any form of political change. Alexander says short term strike action will achieve only a "cup of tea" with De Klerk and nothing more. "We abhor the use of the masses as cannon fodder for short- term objectives." The PAC attributes 90% of the violence in South Africa to the state's "low-intensity war waged against the Black community." The PAC wants to see the scrapping of all command structures of the South African Defence Force (SADF), South African Police (SAP) and the National Intelligence Service (NIS). It wants United Nations forces in place during the transition and for the SADF to be confined to barracks.
LESOTHO: BASOTHO WOMEN CALL FOR INFANT MILK BAN Maseru, August 1992 (AIA/ Keneiloe Phitsane) -- Basotho women commemorated breast feeding week this year with a pledge to persuade shops to stop selling instant milk formula products for babies. The powerful Lesotho Breast-feeding Network (LBN) supported by the Reipopeng Mother's Union (RMU) is leading the "Back to Breast-feeding Campaign" in Lesotho, saying shopkeepers must be discouraged from stocking milk powder for babies. Mateboho Sefali a member of RMU says powdered milk is expensive and less nutritious than breast milk. Sefali says the Government and welfare organisations involved in Lesotho's health system must design laws which give working women time to breastfeed. This will not only contribute to their health standard but keep the bond existing between mother and baby.
MALAWI: SOYA BEANS WIPE OUT MALNUTRITION IN ONE VALLEY Ntcheu, August 1992 (AIA/Derek Mpondera) -- For years, most children in the Livulezi Valley of this district in Central Malawi were undernourished. Worried parents did not know they had the solution in their hands. They grew soya beans but only for sale. Farmers were discouraged from selling their entire crop and it was explained to them that soya beans have a high protein content. They were shown how soya flour can be turned into soya milk and relish and how the beans can be roasted to make soya nuts or ground and mixed with maize flour to make porridge. The Livulezi Valley has now become a major soya bean area producing 50% of the national harvest. During the 1990/91 season, Malawi produced 13,020 metric tonnes of soya beans. Research into soya bean varieties is continuing and the government experts plan to develop a disease-resistant bean that gives higher yields per hectare, says an official from the Agriculture ministry. The government will deal with malnu- trition effectively as long as more farmers are encouraged to grow soya beans for food. At present up to 35 out of every 100 children under 5 years old are underweight and 56 out of every 100 children aged under 5 are nutritionally stunted. Soya beans can change this. The only problem is to change people's eating habits.
A report by a U.S. Senate subcommittee said lax regulation by the Bank of England and other agencies, including U.S. regulators had allowed BCCI to continue fraud and money laundering for years before it was shut down by regulators in July 1991.
The report by the Senate's Terrorism, Narcotics and International Operations Subcommittee said slack world regulators had failed to prevent BCCI's criminal activities, including support of terrorism, arms trafficking, prostitution, income tax evasion and other financial crimes.
According to the report, "BCCI used bribery and corruption in many of the 73 countries where it operated.
The Bank of England's regulation of BCCI was wholly inadequate to protect BCCI's depositors and creditors and the Bank of England withheld information about BCCI's frauds from public knowledge for 15 months before closing the bank."
Britain's central bank replied in a statement that dismissed the Senate subcommittee's four-year investigation as deficient.
Marcus Garvey was born in the Parish of St. Ann, Jamaica, the same Parish that would later give the world, the prophet of song, Bob Marley, and was reported to be the first place where Columbus landed in 1494.
Marcus was born on August 17, 1887. He was the last of 11 children, all of whom died in childhood, except his sister, Indiana.
Jamaica had celebrated emancipation in 1838 after centuries of slavery where the majority Afrikan population had been forcefully taken from West Afrika to be the property of European landowners who ran Jamaica like a sugar factory.
Garvey's parents, Marcus and Sarah, although peasants, owned land and property and Garvey developed an independent spirit, quickly getting a job in the local printers.
"I became a printer's apprentice at an early age while still attending school. My apprentice master was a highly educated and alert man. In the affairs of business and the world, he had no peer. He taught me many things before I reached twelve and at fourteen, I had enough intelligence and experience to manage men. I was strong and manly and I made them respect me. I developed a strong and forceful character and have maintained it still."
Garvey's proud peasant independence along with his awareness of racism practised by Europeans was to prove critical to his development. At eighteen, Garvey had an excellent position as manager of a large printing establishment but he had other matters on his mind.
"I started to take an interest in the politics of my country and then I saw the injustice done to may race because it was Black and I became dissatisfied on that account. I went travelling to South and Central America and parts of the West Indies to find out if it was different there and again I found the same situation. I set sail for Europe and although different, it was the same stumbling block.
`You are Black,' I asked, `where is the Black man's government? Where is his king and his kingdom? Where is his president? His country? His ambassadors? His army? His navy? His men of big affairs?' I could not find them and then declared, I will help to make them."
For more information, see Garvey's Children, by Tony Sewell
When I was young and only three when sitting on my mother's knee
My mother used to say to me, son, there's `them' and `us'
Of course, I could not understand what she was trying to say
But when I grew, became a man, I saw it every day
I saw it, oh, so clearly, if you were black and poor
Nobody came with helping hand knocking at your door
But if you had an interview to further your career
They looked at you as if to say, Boy, what you doing here!
And yet the ones who spoke like that were just as black as we
But they came from society much higher up the tree
And what they were in life today they did not want to know
Because they got there on our backs so many years ago.
My mother used to read the `Book' before she went to bed
And after all those years ago the thoughts are in my head
For now I still remember `The Sermon on the Mount'
Words that seemed so lovely then but now they do not count
For man has long forgotten a world so full of strife
There is no brother love today it is the way of life
A very true old saying one Law for rich and poor
The `them' eat off the table, the `us' eat off the floor
It's `us' who travel on the bus with ones who sweat and toil
With those who grow our daily bread the tillers of the soil
The `them' in cars who pass us by when walking in the street
Because our boots might dirt the floor, our clothes might soil the seat.
On Sunday off to church we go the humble and the meek
We have to sit right at the back to hear the preacher speak
But `them' were always up in front for all the world to see
They spend more time in looking round than praying on their knee
They look around to see what dresses others wore
But `us' they never look at, they know that we are poor
The beggar and the pharisee are still with us today
And yet the good Lord made us one, or so the scriptures say
But when we reach the promised land and tread the golden shore
With all God's children hand in hand no `them' and `us' no more.
And yet though I am old and grey I still can hear my mother say
As if it were just yesterday, son, there's `them' and `us'.
Who is the Ethiopian?
An Ethiopian is the first woman made with the first burnt-faced man
Who was made from the volcanic Black Clay of the Nile
The Ethiopian is God's direct son who is judged by the colour of his skin
But his soul is a shining light to all nations
The Ethiopian woman made the first fire
Fed the first family
Gathered the first fruit
The Ethiopian man made the first iron hoe
For the Ethiopian woman to cultivate the first farm of agriculture
The Ethiopian is the first civilised child, woman, man on earth
Who domesticated animals
Travelled the whole world
Built nations and societies
Taught the world about God
Wrote the first alphabet
Made the Calendar
Thousands of years ago
Mrs. Mary Seacole was born in Kingston, Jamaica, of a Scottish army officer and an Afrikan woman who kept a boarding house principally for army officers. From early youth she had a yearning for medical knowledge and practice which has never deserted her. With no medical college avail- able, she took lessons from the doctors at the hospital and in the army.
She started to be recognized for her service in 1852 during the great cholera outbreak in Jamaica. From Jamaica she went to Panama, where cholera was also raging. Fearless of danger, she went everywhere, dispensing her own remedy, which proved so effective that she became the heroine of the city.
Returning to Jamaica, she continued to serve during the yellow fever outbreak of 1853. In 1854 the Crimean War, with England, France and Turkey against Russia, broke out and she decided to go there.
Going to England, she offered her services to the War Office but was rebuffed. The battlefields were no place for a woman, and Florence Nightingale and her nurses were also rejected.
The army finally yielded in the case of Miss Nightingale but continued adamant against Mrs. Seacole.
She tried the War Office, The Quartermaster General, the managers of the Crimean War Fund, and Miss Nightingale's own organisation, but all turned her down despite a strong letter of recommendation from a retired army officer who knew and admired her work.
Almost heartbroken at the wall of pre- judice blocking her contribution as a nurse, she decided to go as a sutler, one who followed the army selling liquor and provisions to the men. Investing her little capital in supplies, she left England and after many difficulties reached the port of Scutari in Turkey and then pushed on to the front where the most terrible conditions prevailed.
Men were dying like flies from disease, neglect, and gross mismanagement. Cholera and dysentery were masters, and the hospital was described as a charnelhouse.
Without waiting for the arrival of Miss Nightingale, she went into this place of horrors, comforting the men, and with deft, accustomed hands rearranged their bandages. After great difficulties she finally got her supplies and set up her canteen-hotel- hospital which was welcomed as a godsend by officers of all ranks.
She did not stop there. Out on the battlefields she went amid flying shot and shell to aid the wounded. She gave her services and supplies free to those who could not pay. Officers and men loved her and called her "Mother Seacole."
She remained in Crimea until sometime after the war. Different from the other sutlers who became wealthy during the war, she returned to England in 1857, penniless, wounded, and sick, but with the respect and love of the English people.
When it became known that she had no money, a public subscription was started to reimburse her, headed by some of the biggest names in England.
Her autobiography, published in 1857 in London had an extensive sale. Mrs. Seacole returned to Jamaica and died there in 1881.
Few women had faced death in all its forms more than she; her whole life was one long battle with death, yet in any list of the world's great women, Mrs. Seacole's name is conspicuous by its absence.
For more information, see World's Great Men of Color, by J.A. Rogers
The PAC was formed on the 6th April 1959. It could not go along with a colonialist interpretation that the land of the Africans no longer belonged to them. This deviation in the preamble of the African National Congress (ANC) socalled "Freedom Charter" was a reflection of the extent to which the liberation movement has been infiltrated to conceal the colonial reality and nature of South Africa.
It was also a mutilation and faking of the history of this African country. This so- called charter legitimized colonialism and was a negation of self-determination. The national independence and sovereignty of the African people had been destroyed through aggression, colonialism and fraud. Foreign and alien racist colonial rule was imposed on the Africans by force of arms.
This colonial aggression and fraud had robbed the Africans of 87% of their land. The Land Act of 1913 allocated Africans only 13% of the land. It was a genocide Act. This genocide continues to this minute since the redistribution of land in proportion to African numbers has not yet taken place as demanded by the PAC and the majority of the indigenous African people.
The "Freedom Charter" preamble was an insult to the heroes of the wars of national resistance who shed their blood and were physically broken in defence of their fatherland in battles such as Keiskamahoek, Sandile's kop, Amalinde, Thababosiu, Qalabane, Mosega, Labu Mountains, Blook River, Isandlwana, etc. These wars of national resistance were led by African kings such as Hintsa, Dingane, Mmathatise, Moshoeshoe, Mzilikazi, Sekhukhuni, Cetshwayo, etc.
Today the PAC represents the spirit of these heroes of the African Nation. These valiant heroes would today find their political home in the PAC - A movement of the African people who fight for the land and true aspirations of the African people.
The Pan Africanist Congress of Azania was banned on 8th April 1960. It was then only one year and one day old. PAC has the shortest legal existence of any political organization in South Africa because the PAC knows how to press the right button! The PAC was unbanned on 2nd February 1990 after 30 years underground.
The PAC has over one million members. Its supporters who do not carry any membership cards and others who for various reasons have to keep their membership secret are counted in millions.
(See South African FINANCIAL MAIL, 11 June 1990; or FACTS ABOUT THE PAC, published by New Afrikan Institute of Positive Education, P.O. Box 1184, Manhattanville Station, Harlem, NY 10027, USA
Some of the aims and objectives of the PAC are:
1. To unite and rally the African people into one national front on the basis of African Nationalism.
2. To fight for the overthrow of white racist settler colonial domination and for the establishment and maintenance of the right to self-determination and for a unitary, non-racial democracy.
3. To work and strive for the establishment of an Africanist Socialist Democracy recognizing the primacy of the material and spiritual interests of the human personality.
4. To promote the educational and economic advancement of the African people.
5. To propagate and promote the concept and ideology of Pan Africanism by promoting unity among peoples of Africa and African descent.
The fundamental principles which gave to the unconquerable PAC, the true custodian of the national interests and aspirations of the African people are; self-determination, non-racialism, the return of the land to its indigenous owners and the guaranteeing of individual human rights.
(Reprinted with the permission of PAC)
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