Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by this author are their own and do not represent the official position of the Barbados Today.
by Grenville Phillips II
The statue of Nelson has been removed from the centre of our city. The Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley must be congratulated for removing it in as dignified a manner as could be expected.
I do not believe that the statue will be re-erected any time soon, since that may only enrage our activists. Theirs is the only voice that appears to matter in modern Barbados.
Our political leaders keep asking us to have difficult conversations. But they do not engage any other view but that of their activists. That is not the path of maturity.
The one view
Our enslaved fore-parents were not allowed to discuss any view not approved by the plantation owners. Citizens of countries led by despots are not allowed to discuss any view not approved by the despots.
In both instances, people who are forcibly shackled to one view become mentally enslaved.
In Barbados, any attempt to discuss a view that differs from Government approved activists is met with unrestrained insults and false accusations on our government-controlled television, print media, and social media spaces. These actions are meant to damage reputations and intimidate others from expressing a similar unapproved view.
We are doing the next generation a grave disservice. We should allow them to question anything and discuss any evidence in support of or opposed to any idea. If that happened, they would tend to converge to what is true by evidence and reason.
Why don’t we give them the space to unshackle their minds? Why are only activists allowed at the table of conversation?
The answer is always the same. Activists have staked their professional reputations on claims that are easily proven
to be false. Therefore, they must not allow those claims to be questioned.
Nelson must go
Our activists decided that Nelson must represent every damaging social and emotional legacy of slavery.
Their problem was that there is an abundance of credible evidence to show that Nelson was a brilliant and accomplished man who consistently tried to do what was good and right, regardless of the cost. Many times, doing what he thought was right hurt him financially.
Nelson was perhaps the only person at that time who treated all races the same. Any enslaved person who swam to his ship was freed, hired, paid, trusted, and promoted the same as any other sailor.
Nelson developed a hatred for slavery and probably freed more slaves outside of the US than any other person at that time. Nelson was perhaps the only known true non-racist and non-white supremacist in an age where almost everyone else was.
By doing what he thought was right, Nelson did have his haters. He was hated by the slave-owning planters, merchants, and politicians of his time – and the activists of ours.
Our activists first criticised Nelson as a symbol of colonialism. When that strategy failed to convince the Government to remove the statue, our activist historians decided to smear Nelson’s reputation by inventing history, confident that our politicians would be too intellectually lazy to check.
Nelson became a racist, white supremacist enslaver of black people – without evidence.
When that did not work, Nelson became a mass murderer of thousands of enslaved Barbadians – also without evidence. Our politicians simply believed this madness and moved with haste to remove the 200-year-old statue.
What happened to having the difficult conversations? Why were activists not asked to provide any credible evidence for their lunatic claims? The answer is always the same. As long as activists serve a purpose, their political masters will shield their view from scrutiny – by making that view Government policy.
Grenville Phillips II is a structured engineer and the leader of Solutions Barbados.