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‘Exodus, Movement of Jah People’
The apology from the British Prime Minister Theresa May must now be converted into legislative action to protect the “Windrush” generation of Caribbean peoples from being deported from Britain.
Badly disfigured by the bombings of Adolf Hitler, Caribbean peoples of the 1940s and 1950s were recruited in their thousands to assist with the reconstruction effort of the “motherland”, the region then being part of the British Empire. In time and space, Bob Marley was referring to those he considered the people of his Jah. However, immigration, the movement of peoples, is as old as world civilisation.
It is as widespread as groups of people from Asia moving across the Bering Strait, over the ice-covered land and water to begin the peopling of the Americas.
Immigration is as ancient as African peoples moving to Europe, to India, and to parts of South America, the latter phenomenon argued by historian Yosef Ben Jochannan. It is as old as the Mongolian and Viking hordes in violent conquest thundering across Europe. The movement of peoples threw peoples of Africa, India, Europe, China, Indonesia into the Caribbean.
In turn, our Caribbean people have roamed over parts of Central and South America; invited to Panama to build the Canal, they spread north right to Mexico and down south into Columbia.
Indeed, Caribbean peoples moved north by right–President Monroe having decreed the Caribbean region and other places “south of the border down Mexico way” as constituting the “back door” of the US.
Little did he appreciate that his United States would not only have those from the southern hemisphere flock to the US; but that the US was to be created and re-created by peoples from all over the world.
Immigration, many would not so classify it, is as modern as the European invasion of Africa, the Arab and Asian worlds in conquest of lands and materials, physical and human.
The span of the globe by American and European transnational corporations is also the immigration of foreigners to mine the resources of distant lands.
Immigration has contributed enormously to the enhancement of all countries and peoples. Knowledge has been spread, cultures have evolved; great wealth has been created by the sending and receiving states; so too immigration has caused great poverty and displacement.
The Euro-American conquest, near genocide and subjugation of the native people of the Americas, comes easily to mind.
The sketch of the movement of people is to illustrate the reality that immigration has been a central element of world civilisation, and that the establishment of national states with definite boundaries is a modern political creation.
In many instances, these artificial boundaries are ignored by people for their various purposes: a better economic and social life; desire for travel; for the purposes of education; for love; for reuniting with family members; for conquests; the list is long and varied.
The conflicts of the times arise from the movement for economic and survival purposes, from political and human rights violations, brutalisation of peoples in Rohingya by the government of Myanmar.
Venezuelans are once again crossing over into Trinidad—a phenomenon which goes back to the movement of peoples between Venezuela and T&T in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Immigration from South and Central America into the United States, and the movement of people into Britain and continental Europe from the Caribbean, Africa, and Eastern Europe are causing deep conflict.
Fears of immigrants coming to take away jobs, to exploit natural resources, to distort mature cultures, to contaminate societies with crime and general lawlessness, racism at times only thinly veiled, the spread of diseases and more are sprouting at times violent reaction. How this generation handles this age-old phenomenon is the challenge.
Overcoming will have to defeat racial prejudices and defeat the super materialist culture of the 21st century.
n To be continued
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