August 1 is Emancipation Day in Canada and other countries that were once British colonies. Africans who had been enslaved in Antigua, Canada and South Africa were freed on August 1, 1834.

Africans who had been enslaved by the British in several Caribbean islands including Barbados, Dominica, Trinidad and Jamaica, in British Guiana (Britain’s sole South American colony) and in British Honduras (Britain’s sole colony in Central America) were subjected to a system of “apprenticeship” which lasted from 1834 to August 1, 1838.

Africans were forced to continue living on the plantations of the people who had enslaved them and worked 40 hours a week without pay (paid a pittance for work over 40 hours) as “apprentices.” They were forced to pay taxes and rent for the dreadful hovels in which they dwelled on the plantations. In 1838 two British men Thomas Harvey and Joseph Sturge documented the brutality of the “apprenticeship” system when they published The West Indies in 1837: Being the Journal of a Visit to Antigua, Montserrat, Dominica, St Lucia, Barbados and Jamaica, Undertaken for the Purpose of Ascertaining the Actual Conditions of the Negro Population of Those Islands. Harvey and Sturge wrote;

“A new kind of slavery under the name Apprenticeship; an anomalous condition, in which the negroes were continued, under a system of coerced and unrequited labour.” They also observed that “the planters have since succeeded in moulding the Apprenticeship into an almost perfect likeness of the system they so unwillingly relinquished.

An equal, if not greater amount, of uncompensated labor, is now extorted from the negros; while, as their owners have no longer the same interest in their health and lives, their condition, and particularly that of mothers and young children, is in many respects worse than during slavery.”

While the Africans were suffering in slave like conditions under the apprenticeship system, white people in Britain were in self congratulatory mode. The Guardian, a British newspaper, published the following piece dated Saturday August 2, 1834:

“Throughout the British dominions the sun no longer rises on a slave. Yesterday was the day from which the emancipation of all our slave population commences; and we trust the great change by which they are elevated to the rank of freemen will be found to have passed into effect in the manner most accordant with the benevolent spirit in which it was decreed, most consistent with the interests of those for whose benefit it was primarily intended, and most calculated to put an end to the apprehensions under which it was hardly to be expected that the planters could fail to labour as the moment of its consummation approaches. We shall await anxiously the arrivals from the West Indies that will bring advices to a date subsequent to the present time.”
Meanwhile on Saturday August 2, 1834, a group of Africans were on their second day of demonstrations in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad because they were furious that complete freedom was still 6 years away. Africans in the Caribbean had learned that those who worked in the fields would be apprenticed until 1840 and those who worked in the homes of the slave holders or were skilled tradesmen would be apprenticed until 1938. It is hardly surprising that on August 1, 1834 a group of angry Africans had gathered at Government House in Port of Spain. Governor George Fitzgerald Hill sent the militia out to intimidate the group but the furious Africans stood their ground recognizing that the “apprenticeship” system was a scam used by the white plantation owners and the government representatives in the Caribbean to use free African labour for a further 6 years. In spite of the presence of the militia, the protest continued until nightfall when the protesters strategically withdrew because they were not allowed to be in the town during the night.

On Saturday August 2nd, when the group of protesters returned to Government House, Hill gave the order to arrest them. There were scuffles with the militia and some of the protesting Africans were arrested, tried, sentenced to hard labour and flogging and taken to the Royal Jail. Their incensed compatriots were forced to flee but returned on the Monday to continue the protest. The numbers had swollen by Monday and there were more clashes with the militia. Some of those who were arrested on the Monday were publicly flogged in Marine Square. The protests continued the entire week before it was quelled, but several of the Africans refused to return to the plantations and instead “squatted” in districts known today as Belmont and East Dry River.

On July 25th, 1838, Governor Hill called an emergency session of the Council of Government to seek approval of a special proclamation he had drafted which ended the apprenticeship period for Africans in Trinidad on August 1, 1838 whether they worked in the fields, homes or were skilled workers. Africans throughout the region protested their continued enslavement under the Apprenticeship system and on August 1, 1838 slavery was abolished in all the British colonies.

Since the abolition of slavery Africans have celebrated August 1st as Emancipation Day or August Monday. British author J.R. Kerr-Ritchie in his 2007 published Rites of August First: Emancipation Day in the Black Atlantic World: Antislavery, Abolition, and the Atlantic World has written about the global impact of August 1.

In her 2010 published Emancipation Day: Celebrating Freedom in Canada, African Canadian author Natasha Henry has researched and written about the history of August 1 celebrations throughout Canada including the connection of Caribana (modeled on Trinidad’s carnival) to Emancipation Day.

The government of Trinidad and Tobago was the first of the former British Caribbean countries to declare August 1 a National holiday in 1985.

In 1997 the Caribbean Historical Society (CHS) of Trinidad and Tobago, supported by the Ontario Black History Society (OBHS) advocated for global recognition of August 1st as Emancipation Day.

The OBHS has been successful in gaining recognition of August 1st as Emancipation Day at the Municipal and Provincial level and close to gaining recognition at the Federal level.

On August 1st the OBHS will host an Emancipation Day event at Nathan Philips Square.

Feminism: (as) a transformational politic  

“We live in a world of crisis – a world governed by politics of domination, one in which the belief in a notion of superior and inferior, and its concomitant ideology – that the superior should rule over the inferior – effects the lives of all people everywhere, whether poor or privileged, literate or illiterate.

Systematic dehumanization, worldwide famine, ecological devastation, industrial contamination, and the possibility of nuclear destruction are realities which remind us daily that we are in crisis…..

Feminism, as liberation struggle, must exist apart from and as a part of the larger struggle to eradicate domination in all its forms….the separation of grassroots ways of sharing feminist thinking across kitchen(table)s from the sphere where much of that thinking is generated [read institutionalised], the academy, undermines feminist movement.

It would further feminist movement if new feminist thinking could be once again shared in small group contexts, integrating critical analysis  with discussion of personal experience(s).

 It would be useful to promote anew the small group setting as an arena of education for critical consciousness, so that women, men (& trans folk) might come together in neighbourhoods and communities to discuss feminist concerns….It is in this commitment to feminist principles in our words and deeds that the hope of a feminist revolution lies.

Working collectively to confront difference, to expand our awareness of sex (gender), race and class as interlocking systems of domination, of the ways we reinforce and perpetuate these structures, is the context in which we learn the true meaning of solidarity.

It is this work that must be the foundation of feminist movement…..

True politicization – coming to critical consciousness – is a difficult “trying” process, one that demands that we give up set ways of thinking and being, that we shift our paradigms, that we open ourselves to the unknown, the unfamiliar.

Undergoing this process, we learn what it means to struggle and in this effort we experience the dignity and integrity of being that comes with revolutionary change.

If we do not change our consciousness, we cannot change our actions or demand change from others.

Our renewed commitment to a rigorous process of education for critical consciousness will determine the shape and direction of future feminist movement……

 

Feminist focus on men: a comment

…now we can acknowledge that the reconstruction and transformation of male behaviour, of masculinity is a necessary and essential part of feminist revolution. Yet critical awareness of the necessity for such work has not led to the production of a significant body of feminist scholarship that fully addresses these issues. Much of the small body of work on men has been done by men…..

(yet) just as love relationships between females and males are a space where feminist struggle to make a context for dialogue can take place, feminist teaching and scholarship can also and must necessarily be a space for dialogue….it is in that space that we can engage in constructive confrontation and critique…..

[Youtube= http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gmvx8suFr3M&NR=1%5D

Blogger’s note: these teachings are symbolic of the great work that has been done and that is still ahead of us in healing not only ourselves, but the world, and in liberating not only ourselves, and ALL Afrikans, but ALL people. The bigger point of sharing teachings that have transformed not just me, but many others is simple: to reconnect, relocate and rebuild (our) communities with (big) love en more bredrin en dadas in solidarity….afrika moja!

Writing autobiography

The longing to tell one’s story and the process of telling is symbolically a gesture of longing to recover the past in such a way that one experiences both a sense of reunion and a sense of release…..

To G…., who is she: on using a pseudonym

Bell hooks is a name that comes from my family. It is the name of my great-grandmother on my mother’s side…claiming this name was a way to link my voice to an ancestral legacy of woman speaking – of woman power.

[between the lines: molisa nyakale is also a name that comes from my family. It is the name of my great-great-great-grandmother on my father’s side, and a mark-er of my true true home….claiming this name was also a way to link my voice to an ancestral legacy of wom(b)an speaking]

When I first used this name with poetry, no one ever questioned this use of a pseudonym, perhaps because the realm of imaginative writing is deemed more private than social….after years of being told that I said the wrong things, of being punished, I had to struggle to find my own voice, to feel that I could speak without being punished…

in using the pseudonym, I consciously sought to make a separation between ideas and identity so that I could be open to challenge and change.

Though by no means a solution to this problem, a pseudonym certainly creates a distance between the published work and the author….longing to shift attention away from personality, from self to ideas, informed my use of a pseudonym…the point of the pseudonym was not to mask, to hide my identity but rather to shift the focus, to make it less relevant

Excerpts from Talking Balk: Thinking Feminist, Thinking Black

In honour of the legacy of tajudeen abdul raheem (en many many ancestors who dedicated their lives to the liberation of all afrikan peoples)

this post is dedicated to bredrin and dadas in solidarity…nakupenda. bless those who work for truth, justice, reconciliation & peace.

 ase.ase.

 

Afrika moja! Afrika huru!

Ase. o.

.

blogger’s note: facts. the falasha documentary was released in 1983, en directed by simcha jacobovici.

fiction. these are (some of) the stories of the Q werd. a (video) diary of….

house of israel

exile

what do you mean by political?

remember us…?

the open secret

mazel tov

ayiti

Posted: October 20, 2009, 9:00 AM by NP Editor flagturtleisland

Joseph Quesnel recently argued on these (NP) pages (“Don’t give into UN group think,” Oct. 16) that the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is nothing more than a “superficially impressive sounding document,” a UN “shenanigan.” The article seems to respond to increasing indications that two of the three remaining countries still refusing to accept the declaration, New Zealand and the United States, are re-considering. That will leave Canada — the lone independent thinker in the international community, according to Quesnel.

Quesnel suggests that Canada should maintain its rejection of the declaration. It is “unnecessary” here because “Aboriginals already have entrenched constitutional and treaty rights under Section 35 of the Constitution.” Yet, despite the inclusion of “aboriginal rights” in Canadian legal discourse for nearly thirty years, little has changed. First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples are still the most marginalized groups in the country, perpetually at the bottom of every socio-economic indicator: health, education, housing, employment, etc.

Quesnel effectively argues for the status quo.

(more…)

By Nthateng Mhlambiso (BTM managing Editor)

aw59UGANDA – 16 October 2009: Frustrations are mounting among Ugandan gays and lesbians over the Anti-Homosexuality Bill tabled in Parliament of Uganda on Wednesday, prohibiting homosexual acts, distribution of gay related material, any public discussion or expression of gay and lesbian lives and any organizing around sexual orientation.

Sexual Minorities Uganda, an umbrella organisation of gay rights organisations has said that this “repressive” Bill is a blow to a “steady” progress of democracy in the country.

It stated that the Bill violates the basic rights to freedom of expression, conscience, association, and assembly, as well as internationally recognised protections against discrimination.

“its [the Bill] intention is to divide and discriminate against the Ugandan homosexual population, and exclude them from participation in public life, which goes against the inclusive spirit necessary for our economic as well as political development. Its spirit is profoundly undemocratic and un-African”, SMUG said in a statement.

SMUG revealed that increasing campaigns against gays and lesbians have led to severe violence resulting in many unwarranted arrests and several deaths of homosexual people.

I added “this bill aggravates stigma and hatred and renders all promised protections enshrined in the constitution for all Ugandan citizens void.”

Uganda has, according to SMUG, repeatedly pledged to defend these fundamental freedoms in the Constitutiom, has signed treaties binding it to respect international human rights law and standards including the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

“As part of the community of nations forming sexual minorities we urge Ugandan parliamentarians and government to continue to respect these principles and reject this bill, which establishes a new and totally undemocratic level of policing private life.”

“These positions will further set a dangerous precedent and send a signal that any Ugandan’s privacy is unguaranteed -that all of our civil society could be put under attack. If this bill is passed into law, it will clearly endanger the work of all human rights defenders and members of civil society in Uganda”, SMUG said.

“As the Sexual Minorities in Uganda, we urge you to act on that obligation, and to
further the growth of our democracy. Kindly vote against this bill”, SMUG concluded.

I’LL STOP FUCKING SISTAS WHEN YOU STOP SLEEPING WITH RIGHT WING “CHRISTIAN” FUNDAMENTALISTS!

 

to the rest of the world.

did you hear the latest?

the bomb that went off at that mosque, in Pakistan earlier this morning?

 

en a couple of days ago… that anti homosexuality bill, the one that was coming for many moons now,

 that got tabled in the parliament of Uganda, on Wednesday October 14th.  Have you heard about Bill 18?

 

we’d like to get your feedback.

I uploaded the bill onto the a is for pages….read it (again)

 

and no! spammers, or anyone confused by the brashness and vulgarity….this post does not depict (live) sex acts or images.

 

(although I wish it did, I would really rather be watching good porn than writing about how my sistren and bredrin have had a witch hunt called on them, this persecution is not new. but it’s enough of it already. time’s up! as another warrior sista said)

 

Wathint abafazi!
Wathint` imbokodo uzo kufa!

 

read the lines of the bill, and, then read between the lines. Who wrote those words? What is the context? what are the real issues at play?

Feefifofum, wethinks we smell a U.S fundamentalist Christian. They are after all one of the most likely suspects.

We propose that Family Life Network issues an official retraction to Obama en the people of Uganda, because they are the ones that have paid for this bill. these are their ideologies. take your “foreign”-ness, en we don’t want your money.

it is  YOU PEOPLE,  who are the PROBLEM.

Do you remember that anti-gay conference from March 5-8 that they organised? do you remember all that backlash, en the subsequent arrests and death(s)? Do you remember George/ina? and do you remember when Burundi introduced similar laws? It was jus’ a few moons ago……..google it…we propose a class action suit by all queers & trannies in the States against the Family Life Network. they are the ones that masterminded this bill. that is their brand of christianity.

George/ina was not just a harbinger of the heightened backlash to queer/trans organising, but a symptom en consequence of the unsupportive climate for queer/trans rights. Google the stories. There are many more incidents we can share with you…..

 about the assaults en murders of queer & trans people in East Afrika. unfortunately, many of those very people who’ve been abused are also, often, too scared of the backlash, to advocate for our full human rights. it’s a vicious cycle.

This time it’d be much worse, in my view this is the “white” ages, the Victorian & McCarthy era all rolled into one dali-esque nightmare of extreme wight wing ideologies. the logical extension of imperialist ideology.

 because, this time,  even activists will lose the precious few rights we have to advocate en organise for queer/trans rights.  This shit is for real……..

There will be more imposed silence. And the people who can, will run away.

En there’ll be many more who’ll stay…..en then what?

At some point we have to question how long we can sanction state sponsored homophobia. en we have to address the big elephant in the room. neo-colonialism…….

we propose that this is one of those times when the (divided) LEFT in Ifrica, and throughout the diaspora, should have a massive orgy. seriously! and we’ll refute the bill based on just one argument. that these laws are not our own. and those identities they explicate are not indigenous. we have the evidence. we have U people. and, most importantly, we have the TRUTH.

OUR bias should be made clear. i’m writing with the assumption that we’re organising in solidarity with the queer/trans activists and communities of Uganda. I would like to pretend that this is all a hoax. a really bad joke. but that’s the shit folks.

we ain’t gonna agonise too much though, been getting organised for a long time now…..soobax

en there’s many of us people…

and we’re not going to tolerate complacency en wilful ignorance, anymore…..

 

This post is in protest of Bill 18.

These views are (not)  my own.

these words are not supposed to be taken as endorsed by wordpress or any organisation in particular.

that should be a given.

 

but I warn you, there are many people behind these words.

(there are many sistas en brothas working on solidarity.

why jus’ yesterday a group of (mostly) sistas,  talked and organised in response to this very bill.

This post is jus’ a prelude to a sustained campaign….a check in, a call to arms)

 

Wathint abafazi!
Wathint` imbokodo uzo kufa!

that is what we have to say in response to your dividing and oppressive tactics

 we will not stand for this blatant violation of all our rights.

the bill has WESTERN. CONSTRUCTION. Emblazoned.

 

The arguments are imported.

paid for en sealed with the blood of our people.

 

the origins of those (very/specific)  laws you’re upholding are imperialist.

 

Infact the mama of these sodomy laws,

first tried out, (as a colonial/imperialist project) by the British in India,

jus got repealed a few days after it was official that Uganda was working on tabling this very bill.

Thursday July 2nd.

 

that’s a fact.

 

dear bahati,

your weak arguments wouldn’t hold up in any (true) court of law.

your claims are bogus.

your intentions are dubious.

and that private members bill is

again, in full violation of  (global) human rights,

en, of our rights as Afrikan ctizens.

 

it’s simple as that.

 

we’re just ordinary people, and you’re using all a dis “foreign” terms to describe us.

 

homosexual? yes, i know many. but i’m not one. i still want the right to promote OUR rights.

lesbian? not for me anymore. but I don’t want you to tell people to (curative) rape en murder my sistas.

bisexual?  that’s SOOO GAY!

 

get over the binaries already. I am (much more than) a  wo/m/yn.

i prefer two spirited. or try mukhanatun, khanith or sangoma.

to each one their own, and we’re  adamant about all our rights in this “rainbow soup” of identities.

 

and bahati, while you’re on that pot of poison you’re cooking for  LGB,  let us also introduce you to T & I…

I know you don’t much like their transgressions either, let’s burn en kill us all

because..tell us bahati, who told you all these facts about US? who told you so?

 

we don’t need another stonewall. leave that to “a people’s hirstory of the U.S”

what we need is to stop being exploited in this fight for power.

 

we need to reclaim our (indigenous) afrikan identities. need to know our true cultures.

because we are INDIGENus. and this ‘ting we do’ is not new.

 

it is also true that we need allies.

we need you (en I).

we’re recruiting…(sistas in solidarity, en, brothas in solidarity, protesting this anti-homosexuality bill on the grounds of afrikan liberation.)

 

big brother.

Obama..

you jus’  waxed poetically political about LGBT  rights at the fundraiser gala dinner hosted by the Human Rights Campaign.

Saturday October 11.

that’s a fact. 

 

dear obama, i throw you the challenge. pay attention.

we are U people.

 

you know…..Kogello is historically connected with Uganda. all us Afrikans are.

you should do something more about your apparent support for queer/trans rights.

 

here’s something else to add on to your list……publicly denounce Bill 18! and demand an apology from Family Life Network.

we’re taking them to task in their meddling and corruption of our affairs.

we want them banned from Uganda.

 

here, some thing else for you add to that list, another chance

to actually do something (more) to deserve that prize.

 

this one won’t even take that much.

en it’s your country’s mess too. it is  OUR  problem.

 as it’s American citizens who were involved in organising that anti-gay conference in March, actually they were instrumental in it’s convening. It’s public knowledge.

you need to speak truth to power. and actually do something about some of your promises. but we ain’t gonna hold our breath.

 

En  we’re not going to wait for our sistren en bredrin to die in response.

And  we really don’t want to be fighting you. 

our fight is not (just) with our people, it is with all oppressors.

 

In our opinion, in this, as with many other, matter/s, QPOC must unite.

 

Afrika must unite!

 

For you see we got our enemies confused, en we’re distracted en scattered.

that’s all we’re saying.

 

But wait, there’s the hope to express (still)

we wish parliament instead would table a bill on criminalising capitalism and neo colonialism with such conviction and ease.

know thy self. en know thine enemy.

WE are (not) the problem.

 

This post is in solidarity with the peoples of Uganda, in solidarity with queer/trans Afrikans everywhere.

 

This post is the logical response to a neo-colonial regime that takes on western constructions of homophobia in the persecution of it’s own people.

 

IT’S BEEN SAID BEFORE,

en it’s worth repeating….

(it’s important to speak truth. to power)

 

we  will be the one of the first to agree that…. 

these identities, homosexual, lesbian, bisexual, sodomite, transsexual, transgender….those are all just (considered) english words, birthed in particular contexts.

lesbian is just another word for  that island of lesbos. the poet sappho.

en, queer, is just reclaimed language. transformed through time with imperialism, globalisation en resistance.

 those are terms we’ve used to describe ourselves, and that have been thrust upon us

 

All identities carry political meaning. They are provisional.

And they’re being used in deadly ways in this bill.

 

Read through all the words, and you got (say it with us now),

 the western construction of homophobia.

that’s the (bigger) point and we’re sticking with it.

 

It’s illogical, to use the (very) western constructs that shape your understanding  of the abominations and perversions inherent in “homosexuality”,  to uphold the official insistence that WE are alien to our lands.

which is it? the foreign presumption of our need to be wiped out from existence, or our (apparent) non-existence in continental afrikan discourse? (en the intense modern need to therefore safeguard the peace of “straight” people. your position, dear bahati, is ultimately contradictory. and that is also a fact.

we know this.  I/we exist. en therefore….

I/we know many others who do too….

 

and we know that, to put it concisely, this  bill is  nothing more than bull shit.

We are working on zero tolerance for such corruption, lies, en blatant exploitation of our precious resources.

 

I/we can say that, because I/we are not in Uganda.

And I/we are  saying it, as queer/trans Afrikan activists, and  QPOC IN SOLIDARITY.

because I/WE are worried about the consequences for comrades en family of ours.

those in kampala and throughout Uganda.

 

because that is ME, that you are targeting.

 but it’s not, because I was one of those who ran away.

I had to….for my own safety, survival and wellbeing.

 

This protest is personal as our lives and work. 

we’re worried about the ripple effect for queer/trans Afrikans on the continent.

in the diaspora(s)…

 

 we are organising ourselves,

in the spirit of working on our own unity first.

 

 because if we don’t take up this fight,

who will?

 

so I’ll  pass some ideas that sistas gave me yesterday..there are many things we can do…

learn more about the situation. Talk about it with others. Talk to your mp. Write to Harper. Jack Layton. Michael Ignatieff. Get on radio. Write those op-eds on your blog, to theToronto Star, to Now…..do something more…

Roll those boycotts. Ban all Ugandan officials from travelling to Canada. And expedite the process for Ugandan refuges, if the worst happens. Get Egale to officially pay for all a dis, and have queer/trans afrikans in Canda lead the campaign. Work in solidarity with groups in Uganda.

(The official contacts in Uganda are SMUG &  Freedom & Roam Uganda. The numbers are in the previous post)

Start where you are.

en for our comrades en allies…stay tuned for the launch of the pan-afrikan (queer/trans) activist listserv.

 

We’ll continue building solidarity in more focused spaces. And we’ll work on sharing resources.

 Because it’s not just about this bill.

the bigger point is to re/build healthy, loving, sustaining and sustainable communities.

Afrika Huru!

 

It’s not a secret. Spread the word. We’re recruiting.

We’re working on our own petitions, and we’re planning ahead…

 

We’re  

SISTAS.in.SOLIDARITY.

(another name for the working group) 

with Uganda. and all (u) afrikan people