‘‘Same Train carry mother,
‘’Same Train; same Train;
‘’Same Train carry my father;
‘’Same Train carry my brother;
‘’Same Train carry my sister;
We were taught to sing ‘’Same Train’’. We learned it is called a ‘’Negro Spiritual.’’ And we did so with gusto at the Kindergarten. The lyrics had no immediate implication for us. So we innocently did not recognize the painful nostalgia which prompted them, unlike the cry in Lamentations Chapter Five particularly. Then we later during the late 30s learned of the ‘’Slave Trade’’. We also learned that some of ancestors participated to get rich. In retrospect, I make it five phases in our Continental history, there had been five phases of becoming wealthy outside of formal trade in whatever else: [i] conquests-loot ; [ii] colonial favors in return for collaboration—scholarships for Kids, relatives and appointments which facilitated the purloining of our treasures, ingrained bribery via largess, creating class; [iii] a culture [actually kulturkampf] of cheating through the paucity of professional know-howers; [iv] pre-independence miseading of ‘winner takes all’; and [v] ‘’Wabenzy’’ the Mercedes Benz signaling political graft progressed into apparently what we have presently. Independence did not initiate a renaissance of back to roots to nurture adopting to adapt systemically. It has been pile on, undergirded by partisanship. Talk and protest about racism hardly discern that it is here. Anyway, let’s freeze my peroration momentarily because the puzzle, if that is, would explain itself away eventually.
Problem is I have always thought that something very significant link up was missing after the abolition of Slave Trade 1865. The phases I have previously sketched were deemed honorable and the best route to achieve, from distinction through influence to confident. Those were also felt as the honest means to earn deserved respect. The key- note which labels it INTEGRITY in private and public. The goals today are said ostensibly to motivate a re-writing of history such as the World is witnessing in the revolt of the ‘colored race’ presently.
The wave of demonstrations against racism and policing spreads and intensifies. For all of its forms, there is only one character common; and this ‘’ANGER’’ which dates back 1918, the end of World War I—slavery had been abolished in the preceding top half of the prior century and the European Colonialists begun a gradual-forced to wrap up and decolonize. Hiccups occurred and the momentum went into stutters dragged into post-World War –II. It is to be noted that the US had not been in that League all that while. Its imperialism consisted of territorial conquests for place to settle, slavery was its adjunct for construction into wealth. But that had officially been abrogated.
It meant the free slaves could live side by side, making life according to ‘work-for-yourself’ without impeded and not treated as down-trodden, yet to be completed for centuries now. European decolonization and evidence of the counter-part ‘’Free Colored’’ into sovereign National States lit the possibility for the Negroes to push their rights in the ‘’New World’’ as it was called. After years of principled dialogues, from marches, often raucous and with the full support of newly independent Africa and Asia at the UN [1945-1975] and the half-shut-mind agreement of the European principal former Colonialists led by Britain, shifted American intransigence to juggle basic racists misconducts to accommodate equality from where eventually, the ‘’Negro’’ became ‘’Afro-American.’’ And its failure represents the street pitched-battles, a running global news headlines.
All of these have a single loss practically, because it obscures the goal and indeed plays into the hands of Resistors. The mini-uprisings have given White America a nightmare whose reaction is to resist into current hostile xenophobia as the ‘’Afros’’ press their case. Then here we are at the junction of a hell-threatening stalemate in a very discordant world as if there is no other solution than flying bricks, tiles, Molotov cocktails, burning-tyres road blocks, take the knee and get responses in knee-choker, tear gas and live shots on killing spree, because ‘they are black, it is said and believed conclusively because there is no other tangible excuse to contradicted.
The attacks and counter would have to taper off and the questions are: what did we achieve and is the circus of violence and protests over?. The whole game seems to me to be that each side strides into cessation with pyrrhic trophies. That leaves the ‘’Trojan Horse’’ to re-open by another incendiary—not George Floyd. I think without waiting for that, it is time for quiet reflection bringing back memory lane’s experiences and lessons to foster the new approach to gain the goal—if you don’t mind the hype, the ‘golden fleece’ to shut down a filthy era. The re-call dwells in the mid-fifties struggles in Africa, Asia, the Pacific and the Caribbean [Windies] for independence. It combined wars and heinous brutalities.
At a juncture similar to today’s crises across the world for color-equality, WHITEE had to reach out to negotiating, more than less in the knowledge that it is best for peace against the carnage, cost and enlarging global outrage. Talks about talks brought settlements however long they took like Southern Rhodesia, Ceylon, Cyprus and Vietnam where America lost the war to Ho Chi-Mihn to unify the then two Vietnams. That veiled compulsion from sheer fatigue and essentially the global reproach for the senselessness of apartheid South Africa for instance collectively made gigantic contribution for the dust to simmer and of course after the independence euphoria throughout, the Recipients today have themselves to blame for the variety of botches, looking intractable but they are working at them with glimmer of hope and huge disappointments in let downs.
That perhaps epitomizes Dr Nkrumah’s ‘’we prefer self-government with or in danger to servitude in tranquility.’’ The days are far gone with that. The current eruption needs a different definition target for pursuit, which is what the renaissance is about. However, in its nature historically between Church and State as in politics, it moves only to live with the old order, satisfied that the Establishment has understood the quakes. In deliberate reference to such posthumous discovery, the driving point is to encourage-propose set about re-thinking basic attitudes towards history of the African or indeed the
Our own revered John Kofi Mensah Sarbah urged the following once and I find it pertinent: ‘’Let us therefore formally acknowledge our own limitations, not with an intention to rest and be thankful, but to make good our defects and press on to a higher level of usefulness.’’ Most American Writers are describing this torrid time as Phase-II of Decolonization saying inter alia, ‘’if colonialism made the modern world, decolonization cannot be complete until the world –including Europe—is remade.’’(Adom Getachew; NY Times 27 July 2020).
None in all of the pieces for or against goings-on specify significant departures from the present old style campaigning of hell creation. There is a commonly approved assumption for examples that the hauling down of colonial Statues, scrawling graffiti and destroying both slavery and colonial landmarks necessarily are good tools to change the innate color-hatreds, empirically and ultimately. I doubt and differ. The dangerous consequences are the reversal of what wants correction in terms of where is the story ?. Erasure of that evidence leaves no one with a history. And received wisdom stipulates that a country [people] without a history does not exist.
Such defaults apart from the vacuum for any chercher du temps perdu, are caused by anger; and or hatred probably bound in envy of sort. Neither does good nor pleases posterity for both pride and shame. For a quick list, the Afghan Taliban bombed giant Statues, the Russians removed Joseph Stalin for reburial elsewhere, the Chinese don’t remember Mao Tse Tung, Trump disdains Dr Martin Luther King [Obama? Sacrilege for Trump]and replaces his portrait with Sir Winston Churchill’s.
But history hides this fact that the man was reportedly a racist, the general British type – not crude ‘Enoch Powellite’; but seemingly benign to most patronizing, irrespective of moot. That is an unwanted sensitivity to state. In any case it reconnects, writing-wise, the cauldron back home in the US where no one knows it leads. For sure, we are not going sing ‘’Hello Dolly’’ yet; but we can expect to feel like ‘’What a wonderful world’’—
‘’The colors of the rainbow
‘’So pretty in the skies
‘’I see friends shaking hands
‘’Say: How do you do?
‘’They really saying
‘’I love you…’’
I mean we can achieve this in another way. It was mainly the coloured nascent countries which swelled the UN in numbers but weight and huge meaning –51 to 144 between 1945 and 75. That outnumbering, despite the East-West misuse of the ‘’veto powers’’ which they instituted for themselves, itself a blatant discrimination, the new entrants lost it by wrongly walking out. It seems to me on short r eflection back to the 80s, this error was realized and the evidence was UNCTAD at Cancun, when the group stood up ‘’poor’’ against the unscrupulous ‘’rich’’ and rattled them well. The lot fell back got smug and not until again, the Anglo-US to clobber others into supporting the invasion of Iraq. At least the AU unanimously rejected the bid at the Summit in Paris to persuade a summersault and failed. By the close before each Head of State arrived back home, the US declared to accord 35 of them ‘’most favored state status’’ plus cash.
It is irrelevant raking mud to ask for accounting of that money if that was received at all because it could be sadly typical of us, gone. The more profitable wisdom deriving but constantly ignored for whatever reason(s) is that after’’ push’’ against not only WHITEE as in this case specifically, the ‘’shove’’ leads to sit down to talk. It is a natural sequitur outside of continuous or contentious bellicose, which has solved nothing to date. The only alternative is ‘’dispute resolution’’. Remember the Brits called in a Canadian military officer to snatch peace after long years of the IRA. In the US it might be argued immediately that the Dr Martin Luther-King March struck a deal. Better bitter truth regrettably is that we did not follow up through to logical conclusions meant. Consider that we failed everywhere to cultivated pursue the goals. The time to go for it, couldn’t be better than today, if we all mean’’ life matters’’—black or white. Sincerely.
©Prof nana essilfie-conduah.