WHO ARE WE ? – By Hubert Williams

WHO  ARE  WE ? – By Hubert Williams

By de Gaulle’s ire, mere mounds of dust
Molded by coralstone and pyroclastic flows
But these lovely islands of the sun Indies
Should not be judged merely by what is seen
Though tiny objects rebuffing waves
Within and below they link great continents
From north to south this natural chain extends
Creating a people’s bridge from centuries past
All shades traversed from the globe’s four points
Converging and merging their unique traits
Into vibrant new nations on the world stage
Hibiscus, croton, oleander, bougainvillea
They gloriously reflect our people’s hues
With no shade superior, and none suborned
Colourful identity, that’s bolstered with pride
Black myopic historians present history anew
Demean whites, yet seize honour in what they do
Continually proclaiming from all vantage points
T’was Barbadians who colonized the Carolinas
And stood in victory against Cromwell’s might
Ignoring that the principal participants were white
Who then was it wrote the Charter of Barbados
And forged its path into America’s First Law
Who gave its architecture unique shape and form
And fashioned island speak in that quaint brogue
Should not each dog get its bite and have its day
Don’t dare challenge us, they say, for whites distort too
Thus, to claim our fair share, we like they must do
Why must all victories, achievements, all credits be theirs
Ignoring our labour, sacrifices, lives lost through the years
Building their brutal empires on our blood, sweat and tears
Who else must write our names on history’s page
If not us, who else can find a balm for history’s rage
If the leaping flame is not quenched in generations new
And ways not found to spare our youth what we went through?
Wherefrom can we find the hard truth to be their guide
The bravery to challenge oceans, conquor mountains high
Respect natives’ birthright, not stain their land with blood
Help build new empires, not wreak havoc through hate and lust
There’s so much to learn, yet be so different from the past.
They raped, robbed, plundered, pillaged through ancient societies
Brutal and heartless, but deemed themselves ‘explorers’
Then brought millions of innocent, unwilling African and Asian labour
Enslaving, exploiting, brutalising them for centuries
Finally giving them Amerindian lands, and called it “independence”
No Black historians challenged Britain’s imperial/colonial right
When in the mid-twentieth century and for decades thereafter
London decided these stolen lands are now all yours
We all rejoiced, sang new anthems: accepting this principle –
Other people’s lands can legitimately change ownership through conquest
A prerogative now being internationally denied the state of Israel
From continental south towards north across the glorious island chain
None doubt that grievous harm was done uncounted millions
But now, their nations abound, unfurling bright flags with designs new
Proclaiming, as Bajans do, these fields and hills are now our very own
And not even dollars in the hundreds of trillions can begin to compare their worth
Despite all that, voices are raised in demand of reparation
Those cruel nations that traded in and exploited slaves must pay
And the chorus goes up: cash payments by Whites are now our right
But if such be our right, then right needs also be done to others
If a case for cash to us exists, we must return the Amerindians’ stolen lands
There is an alternative, disruptive way, though ’twill bring us much cash
We’ll take these estimated enormous $um$ in European reparation
Then quit these lands, reverting them back to the Amerindians
And we each group of varying hues and shades flushed with cash
Uproot ourselves and heave us back whence our forefathers came
Caribbean talk of reparation makes no sense: will waste our time
Let’s lend our support to any such Black claims in North America
It is their case that is strong; Liberia for some, but nothing else.
Any independent international tribunal would likely support their claim
That cash, not just the presidency, would help to ease their pain
Now, let us in the Caribbean move onward with what we have
Learn from those who came with swords, guns, diseases, slaves
Why crowd Atlantic coast and riverbanks as most Guyanese do
Fearing moves towards huge forests, great mountains, enormous natural wealth
Why continually curse the painful past, blaming the palefaces from Europe
‘Tis their example of courage, hardiness, lust for adventure and resources
That must now inspire our nations still groping as separate states
When white men were having those days of adventure and derring do
The principal beneficiaries were never intended to be you
But there’s so much that we can learn from their imperious stands
If courageously we set out to conquer what’s now our own native lands

— Hubert Williams

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