As a member of the Advocates Network I endorse and am happy to be a part of the movement.
FOR APOLOGIES AND REPARATIONS
FROM BRITAIN AND ITS ROYAL FAMILY
After 60 years of Independence we have not forgotten and we demand an APOLOGY and REPARATIONS…
CONQUEST & TRANSATLANTIC TRAFFICKING OF AFRICANS
- For continuing after the 1655 conquest of Jamaica from Spain, the exploitation of the indigenous people of Jamaica, capturing their land, and forcing them to continue escaping to the hills to live a precarious (though freer) life because of their inhumane treatment.
- For establishing in 1661 the Jamaica seal and coat of arms using the indigenous persons as supporters in symbolic heraldic representation of animals, handing over the fruits of the island to the monarchy; noting that by 1672 some the fruits from Jamaica included approximately 89,000-100,000 enslaved persons shipped from Africa into the royal port of Jamaica, named “Port Royal” as the crown’s principal trans-shipment hub.
- For setting up as the Crown (1672-1731) the ‘Royal African Company’ modelling its coat of arms on Jamaica’s by replacing the supporters with African people, and giving knighthood and leadership to business partners of the crown – buccaneers, privateers, pirates, merchants & planters – who were rewarded with Jamaican property, including governorship for their involvement in enslavement as a lucrative business for the Crown.
- For enabling Port Royal within only 37 years to become the “richest and wickedest city in the world” at the time of its 1692 earthquake, through atrocities of deception, collusion, corruption and murder on land and sea; controlled from Jamaica as the hub for the gathering and accumulation of wealth for the monarchy, centred on African human cargo stored inside the forts at Port Royal, many of whom perished in the 1692 earthquake when 4 of the 5 forts subsided into the sea, bemoaned as loss of property instead of loss of human lives.
- For human trafficking across the atlantic ocean in the transatlantic trade in enslaved peoples, dislocating them from their communities, leaving many grieving families to wonder what had happened to their loved ones, and refusing to acknowledge the historic trade in Africans as a crime against humanity.
- For the demographic disaster and genocide between 1655 and 1834, with just over 300,000 of the estimated 1.5 million trafficked still alive at emancipation.
- For causing the high mortality on the floating dungeons that you called “slave ships” because of the inhumane conditions on board (and creating a path for the sharks to follow, because they knew they would feed off the dead bodies of our ancestors along) in what is known as the Middle Passage route.
- For the “Zong Massacre” in 1781, when British crew threw 132 live Africans overboard just for financial gains from insurance and 10 of them forced to jump overboard.
- For keeping our records of the Transatlantic trade in your archives and not making available to Jamaican archives copies of all of them; instead of destroying some of them, based on reports.
PLANTATION SLAVERY & INHUMANE PUNISHMENT
- For establishing a plantation system as the main economic enterprise that changed the geography and landscape of Jamaica, destroying the natural environment.
- For the dehumanizing violence toward the enslaved body, soul and spirit, both male and female, including excessively long hours work days, especially during the harvest months, without a rest day.
- For extracting the material and human resources of the Caribbean and Africa to develop your country while under-developing ours. You made Jamaica and the Caribbean primary producers of goods while ensuring that “not a nail was manufactured in the region” even after independence.
- For attempting to corrupt the Maroons through divide and conquer strategies; for failing to respect the 1739 treaty arrangements with the ‘Trelawney’ Maroons; for crafting, even as you lost the war, the treaty, mostly to your benefit in the first place.
- For the brutality inflicted during the period of chattel enslavement. We are aware that in 1789, Thomas Clarkson, the anti-slavery campaigner wrote: “the wharfs of Kingston are crowded every Monday morning with poor slaves who are brought here to be whipped for the offences of the preceding week. They are generally tied up by the wrists and stretched out [as] punishment”.
- For encouraging monsters like Thomas Thistlewood, who repeatedly raped enslaved women; and who also administered punishments called the “derby dose”, sealing faeces from one enslaved person in the mouth of another, until the enslaver decided to free the victims mouth from such depravity.
- For deporting our ancestors who were deemed revolutionary leaders, for example in July 1796, between 550 and 600 Maroon men, women, and children were exiled from Trelawny, Jamaica and shipped to Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada eventually deployed by Prince Edward Augustus (later Duke of Kent) to build fortifications there.
- For the cruel and inhumane punishment of our ancestors for their heroic resistance to the institution of slavery, including for their insistence on maintaining African cultural practices including birthing practices and even claiming ownership of their own children.
- For the shooting excursion on the mountains near Dromilly Estate in Trelawny in the month of October 1824 where runaways were brutally shot like animals.
- For decapitating runaways and rebels, for progressive mutilation, slow burnings, breaking on the wheel depicted inside “a Jamaica house of correction” published 1843 by James Phillipo (where bones were dislocated and the body pulled apart) and other forms of inhumane killing and for institutionalizing violence as a way of life in our society through the sheer brutality and wickedness of slavery and the practice of a brutal brand of colonialism on Jamaica and the continent of Africa.
- For criminalizing our revolutionary heroes and taking the life of Chief Takyi, Sam Sharpe and many others and for the severe, inhumane punishment of many more of our ancestors in the 1831/32 pre-emancipation war.
- For taking Jamaican parliamentarian George William Gordon outside the martial law zone, trying him by court martial and executing him in 1865 when he was not a rebel/not a part of the Morant Bay war.
- For the directive that Governor Edward John Eyre gave the British colonial forces to hang and shoot George William Gordon and over 400 Jamaicans, among them the men and women murdered on October 25, 1865, and for refusing to indict Governor Eyre for these atrocities and crimes against humanity in Morant Bay and Spanish Town in 1865.
CRUELTY TO WOMEN AND MEN & DESTRUCTION OF FAMILY LIFE
- For the raping and force breeding of enslaved African woman, and the wicked treatment during pregnancy when they were unable to maintain the pace of work required by slave drivers, including enslaved women like Ann Smith from the Friendship Estate in Trelawny who asserted that she was “entitled to sit down” because she was pregnant; for depriving mothers adequate recovery time after childbirth and for punishing them when they took time to look after their children to ensure that they were fed, cleaned, loved, and integrated spiritually and socially into the human community.
- For the psychological traumas of slavery that enslaved men, women, and children endured due to not only being in a system of racial bondage but also in a system of sexual bondage; and for treating enslaved men, women and children as property to be raped and sexually abused by the planter class.
- For the horrific experience of pregnancy, birth and motherhood of enslaved women ‘rooted in loss’ – marked by ill-health and death, pain and grief – as described by Jennifer Morgan in her 2004 book labouring women; the high rates of miscarriage and infant death, even after slavery, due to the extremely strenuous physical exertion of work, inadequate nutrition among other conditions during slavery and colonialism.
- For emotional and psychological damage and trauma to parents who saw their children being sold and making them work in the fields from age 6; and the loss of about 1/3 of the children born in slavery who died before they reached 7 years of age.
- For the harsh and severe treatment of enslaved men as beasts of burden and sperm donors under enslavement and humiliating and emasculating our fathers and brothers under enslavement, including forcing men to watch their partners taken away for white male entertainment.
- For selling and separating parents from children, wives from husband, thereby disrespecting and destroying family bonds, including through sale to settle debts under the system of enslavement, insisting that the enslaved had no rights over their progeny or their bodies, discouraging marriage among Africans during enslavement and the ongoing efforts to devalue and destroy the African family and family values. By deeming our ancestors “property” your citizens claimed “property rights in pleasure.”
- For creating the stereotype “Jezebel” – an objectified enslaved woman who was treated as a “sexual object” – widely used justification by white men and enslavers (even also some free and enslaved African men) to rape women; also the stereotype “Mammy” – an inferior, surrogate mistress and a woman completely dedicated to the white family, especially to the children of that family, often neglecting her own children, if she had any.
IMMORAL, UNCONSCIONABLE LAWS & GOVERNANCE
- For imposing slave laws that: a) provided financial and other rewards for enslaved Africans that killed or captured other enslaved Africans during wars of protests; thereby fostering the divisiveness among our people that still exist today; b) suppressed all forms of gatherings, especially at nights; c) prohibited enslaved Africans from keeping any horse, mare, or mule and if caught stealing was put to death; thereby stifling opportunities of the enslaved Africans to own or control property for the development of business; and d) limited the Sunday market to 11am; thereby limiting the opportunity for enslaved Africans to earn income.
- For mis-use of power, imposing martial law for a whole month in the county of Surrey in 1865 in order to give you a free hand in murdering the activists in the Morant Bay war.
- For making it difficult up to 1962 for Jamaicans to govern ourselves, even abolishing the old representative form of government in favour of direct Crown Rule in 1866.
- For using legislation to enforce Anti-Black laws to make it difficult for our ancestors to achieve upward social mobility.
- For laws which denied women and men the right to vote until the 20thcentury.
- For the looted and stolen personal possessions belonging to black Jamaicans during the Morant Bay war and for other lands stolen or confiscated and kept legally as either Crown lands or private ownership.
- For instituting laws that prevented and restricted land titling to free Africans thereby forcing them and their descendants to become labelled as squatters today.
- For instituting laws after emancipation, such as the 1834-1838 apprenticeship which institutionalized discrimination against black and coloured people and confining them to labouring on sugar plantations where few earned enough to purchase land and develop business.
- For the criminalization of Obeah, and for imposing laws that punished the practice of Obeah by floggings.
- For taking away our African names and imposing English names on us, thereby denying us an authentic identity and making it hard for us to trace our lineage back to Africa by not recording our origins.
- For the slave compensation act 1837 which compensated the planter class for losing their enslaved labour while ignoring legitimate claims for compensation, including the June 1865 petition labelled by the colonial government as presented by “certain poor people of St. Ann’s parish, Jamaica” sent to the Crown requesting lands and other means of relief from distress. In the Crown’s callous response, petitioners were advised to provide against adversity by “industry and prudence,” thus blaming our ancestors for their condition, whilst compensating the enslavers.
HEALTH, EDUCATION, IDENTITY & SELF-PERCEPTION
- For denying us an indigenous/African-centred education but forcing on us eurocentric education/mis-education, the legacies of which are still with us today.
- For referring to Africa as the “dark continent” and for teaching us that that our African ancestors were simple and could not think, that Africans in Africa were uncivilized and could not read or write; and for classifying our African ancestors as 4/5th human.
- For devaluing our African religions, calling our traditional priests and doctors “witch doctors” and “ju ju priests” and taking away our African iconography and replacing them with a white religious iconography.
- For lying about African history and keeping important historical facts from us, including that the oldest university in the world is Africa’s university of Al-Qarawinyyin, founded in 859 and located in Fez, Morocco, and that the Sankore mosque and university in Timbuktu, Mali is the oldest continuously-operating institution of higher education in Sub-Saharan Africa. It is believed that the mosque and university were erected in the 1100s c.e. (Twelfth Century) by Berbers who settled in the Timbuktu region.
- For destroying our indigenous languages and replacing them with your English as formal then judging our intellect by our achievement of proficiency in it.
- For using the English language to instil colour prejudice by using black as negative, and making everything prefaced by or called black, bad and legitimizing it by putting it in your dictionaries, while equating white with purity & goodness.
- For the legacy of structural and direct discrimination in the educational system that persist and is at the root of an apartheid system of education in Jamaica today.
- For appropriating all of our agricultural, engineering, and artistic skills/inventions calling them English/“Georgian”/“Victorian”, and brainwashing us to believe we created nothing, contributed nothing and therefore uncivilized.
- For the distortion of our history, especially that relating to emancipation, pretending that the British led the abolition movement, when our ancestors worked, prayed, and fought hard for this.
- For feeding us a “slave diet” of sugar and salt from which we suffered daily and which contributed to our current health problems; today, we have the highest rates of hypertension and type 2 diabetes in the world.
- For recording the health practices of our ancestors and exporting natural herbs and medicinal plants they used traditionally to set up medical practice in 17th century England through Hans Sloane recording, and taking them to establish the British museum, also others; yet making traditional African-Jamaican medicinal practices illegal thereby exposing us to increased ill health and for encouraging us to view our traditional medicinal practices as backward and “Witch-Craft.”
- For identifying and recording our African ancestors as chattel with the horses, donkeys etc.
- For the promotion of mimicry images and stereotypes of Africans and Africa that persist today and which have contributed to African hair discrimination, skin bleaching, self-hate, lack of self confidence, self doubt and fearfulness.
- For creating a skin-colour scale (the pigmentocracy) that put whiteness at the top (hierarchised whiteness), causing the “one drop of black blood system to apply, with octoroons, quintroons and mustee and mustiphini categories of skin shades that privileged “white blood.”
- For the continued policy of discrimination that keeps African Jamaicans in a subservient class and is against people of African descent especially those of a darker complexion which still continues today as part of the legacy of underdevelopment.
- For the psychological & mental health implications of slavery & colonialism that still affects the descendants of Africans in Jamaica today.
REPARATION & REPATRIATION
- For genocide in the parish of St. Thomas which has not recovered to this day from the 1865 massacre, and for refusing to discuss reparation for this.
- For failing to provide a repatriation and resettlement package for Rastafari and others those who wish to return to their original home but who are trapped in “Babylon” even though they have the right to return.
- For maintaining policies (eg., imposition of expensive visas for us to travel to the UK) and practices, including discriminatory attitudes to Diasporic Jamaicans, especially the Windrush generation and their descendants, thereby demonstrating continued racism and inequalities towards Jamaica persist today!
- For refusing to engage in a conversation about reparatory justice for slavery and colonialism as set out in the motion in the Jamaican parliament and the 10 Point Action Plan of CARICOM, and failing to recognise that reparation is a route to peace, healing and reconciliation. On the contrary, official representatives and your former Prime Minister Cameron, who addressed our parliament in 2015, have told us to forget about slavery and the past, “get over it and move on!”, without an apology nor reparations.
#Jamaica60 #WeNaaEaseUp #AdvocatesNetwork
CONTACT: The Advocates Network at firstname.lastname@example.org
March 20, 2022