I would appreciate it if you could assist me in making public my views on the derogatory statements made by United States president Donald Trump with reference to Haiti and African countries, which should be offensive to all people of goodwill who are aware of their own history and should be an awakening for dark skin people of African descent. Likewise, for Caucasians who are aware of Africa’s history prior to the 15th century (1492) and the formation of the United States of America (USA).
Therefore, as a contribution to Black History Month 2018 I am writing this open letter to address two points; firstly, as an appeal and secondly as a recommendation to the leaders of black people-led countries of the world, particularly to the heads of CARICOM governments.
My appeal is: please do not be reactive to the unfortunate statement made by Mr Donald Trump, but be strategically proactive. I make this appeal because of my vision in 1977 for the 21st century. At the time I had a spiritual, consciousness awakening, which subsequently led me to becoming a student of racism and a human rights and social justice advocate. In the vision I saw the end of racism – yes, of white supremacy. My mission is to assist in its eradication.
In this regard, I have noted with interest that Trump’s statements were made as Haiti took the chair of CARICOM. It was made also on the eve of the first anniversary of his presidency and the tenth anniversary of the first black president of the United States.
The successful presidency of Barack Obama haunts president Trump and other American white supremacists as their worst nightmare. However, the fact is; there has never been a president of the US who did not subscribe to the institutional system of white supremacy (racism). Therefore, I am confident to say that it was necessary for “a Donald Trump” to be elected during this period of transition from lies to truth, so as to reveal to the world that “the Emperor is naked”. President Trump’s statements would be unbecoming of any president of any country; but being holder of the highest office of the world’s most powerful country, his remarks have illuminated the issue of racism. He has dishonoured and disgraced that high office. Nevertheless, he must be congratulated for awakening those persons who were still asleep or had their heads buried to the issue of white supremacy.
While processing the depth of president Trump’s remarks, I was motivated or inspired to pay special attention to the sentencing hearing of Mr Larry Nassar, the former US gymnastics doctor who pleaded guilty to sexually abusing young girls who trusted him. His guilty plea came at a time when changes are taking place, as many influential men who manipulated and violated the rights of women are being publicly disgraced. Human rights advocates are very pleased about this development. I can therefore say with confidence that the timing of Trump’s abusive remarks is not coincidental. His racist remarks compare equally to the sexual abuses as stated by the over 150 victims who gave evidence against Mr Nassar, in particular that of Ms Rochael Denhollander who started his downfall. Her commanding statement should be studied as a text for exposing the complicity within the wicked system of inferiority and superiority. If we were to substitute the words ‘sexual abuse of children’ and replace them with racism, we will appreciate the depth of Trump’s remarks. It is clear to see for those paying attention that all around the world African consciousness is being awakened, likewise so is the female consciousness as explained by Justin Tudeau, prime minister of Canada at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in January.
By sentencing Larry Nassar to 175 years for his evil deeds of abusing hundreds, a strong message is therefore sent, not only to the US, but to all nations of the world that the woman, who is mother of humankind, demands that her humanity and dignity be respected and guaranteed. The black woman who put a racial perspective into Mr Nassar’s hearing has sent notice that the awakening of African consciousness will also be putting white supremacy on trial for its evil deeds of abusing the human rights of millions. It is therefore not coincidental that the oldest person in the known world today is a black woman from the Caribbean, where the worst atrocities were committed against the black man and woman – parents of humankind.
Therefore, my recommendation is that an appropriate response to Trump’s statements should be a resolution to the United Nations (UN) that would have an impact on the world and would address both racism and sexism at the core. The historic event which took place on October 12, 1492 started a chain of encounters with different ethnic groups that gave persons like Trump the authority and confidence to make derogatory statements about blacks and other non-white people and women because of slavery and colonialism. It was the nation of Haiti that led the way forward towards ending slavery and starting the process of repairing the damage. For more than two decades CARICOM has been lobbied to recognize October 12, as a day for truth, justice, peace, healing and reconciliation. It is good that the date has now been proclaimed as ‘Caribbean Holocaust Day’. Therefore, it is appropriate and timely that Haiti as chair of CARICOM should lead the initiative for a resolution to be submitted to the UN General Assembly on behalf of CARICOM for October 12 to be proclaimed/designated as the International Day for Reparations.
The reason for this recommendation is twofold. Firstly, it is predicated on the history following October 12, 1492 when Columbus made landfall in the Caribbean. Secondly, a proposal on October 12 has been before world leaders, the governments of Barbados and CARICOM for many years.
Barbados played a significant role during the British Empire building process, which makes it the best country to submit the resolution to the UN on behalf of CARICOM. Barbados is the only colony of colonial Briton where the colonizers and the colonized arrived together. It is the first English colony that went to war with its colonial masters after the execution of Charles 1 in 1649. The wording of the Barbados Peace Charter of 1652 influenced the wording of the constitution of the United States in 1787. Barbados was also a leading transshipment point for sending enslaved persons to other Caribbean and North America colonies of England. Barbados led the Caribbean delegation to the UN World Conference against Racism in Durban in 2001. It hosted the first Afrikan and Afrikan descendants World Conference against Racism in October 2002 as a follow-up to the Durban conference. In addition, Barbados has lead responsibility for the CARICOM Single Market and Economy.
Finally, in the hearing of Larry Nassar the question was asked, why did it take so long for him to be exposed when many in authority were aware of his deeds. That same question is relevant for racism and reparatory justice. There are many changes taking place worldwide that are lessons to be learnt by people of colour and the year 2018 is highlighting some of these changes necessary for repairing the damage of the past 500 plus years and the search for truth, justice, peace, healing and reconciliation.
I am firmly of the opinion that should the UN designate October 12 as International Day for Reparations as we advance into the UN declared International Decade for People of African Descent, it would usher in the spirit of genuine truth, justice, peace, healing and reconciliation, which would bring to an end a significant part of my vision and mission for which I have been lobbying since 1977. God’s promise might be slow, but it surely comes on time.