We Bahamians are considered such philistines around the region. They laugh at us for stooping so low as to blow up our own culture, and that's not a joke - it actually happened in 1987, when the government demolished Jumbey Village with explosives.The village was an offshoot of a community festival launched in 1969 by musician and parliamentarian Ed Moxey. An earlier and more 'cultural' version of the fish fry, it featured music and dance performances as well as displays of arts and crafts, and local produce, and was aimed at locals as well as tourists.In 1971 Moxey persuaded the Pindling government to let the festival take over a former dump site on Blue Hill Road and build a permanent facility. In the period leading up to independence in 1973, there was a lot of buzz about a popular enterprise promoting Bahamian creative arts."We put the homestead site up and in '73 we had a meeting with all the teachers. And they agreed right there that all the teachers in the system would donate a half day's pay and every school would have a function...and we came up with $100,000 in the space of three months," Moxey recalled."We put up a special cabinet paper, cabinet agreed, and when I pick up the budget, everything was cut out. Everything." Moxey told University of Pennsylvania researcher Tim Rommen in 2007. "That was a little bit too much. Village lingered, lingered...just kept on deteriorating until they came up with this grandiose scheme to put National Insurance there. And when they ready, they blow the whole thing down."via Bahama Pundit.
Over at Bahama Pundit, "Simon" responds to this Guardian editorial.
This many years after the attainment of majority rule and independence, such revisionism was bound to happen. For example, whatever his accomplishments, to claim, as some are now doing, that Sir Stafford Sands was not a racist is a blatant attempt to whitewash history.With regard to last week’s editorial, one would expect an editorialist for a leading newspaper to distinguish between commentary and editorializing and between historical accuracy and rewriting history to lay the foundations for a dubious argument.via Bahama Pundit: An Enduring Revolution – Part 1.
Hear, hear, Simon. Writers of The Bahamas, unite. The fact that we are so ignorant of our own relatively recent past (my students were gob-smacked the other day to learn that there was once a time when Arthur Hanna, Hubert Ingraham and Perry Christie shared a political movement all their own, and were even more shattered to learn that their own grandparents had to endure the ignominy of very real and very Bahamian segregation. That it was a surprise to them reveals not how far we have come but how far we have allowed collective amnesia to anaesthetize us to ourselves) allows idiocy and skewed vision to flourish. There's little better that we can do than to write our story down so that people can make up their minds for themselves.Thank you, Simon, for doing it. Thank you, Larry for Bahama Pundit to allow it.
Over on Bahama Pundit, where I used to post when I was writing Essays on Life (hiatus almost over), the mind behind Front Porch has written on the need for a more nuanced morality when discussing Bahamian issues. Hear, hear. For those who haven't read it yet, here's a sample:
Genuine insight requires context. Its companions include discernment, nuance, balance, prudence, humility -- and scepticism. It counts as its enemies cynicism, sensationalism and prejudice.*In some quarters there is a knee-jerk conceit about the Bahamas similar to the self-loathing and hackneyed images of the Caribbean by writers such as V. S. Naipaul.It goes something like this. The Bahamas is inalterably corrupt, lacks any kind of moral framework, and may be beyond repair. In its nauseating and inaccurate retelling: it’s worse in the Bahamas, often much worse.A major problem with this storyline is that it is more the stuff of fiction than good journalism. It is like a reality show, filled with exaggeration and drama in order to boost ratings, make money and inflate the egos of the scriptwriters and possibly sell tell-all books based on the reality series.This storyline lacks context. Context requires a broad vision, free of the kind of moral blindness which leads some to dismiss moral failure, and others to see only moral failure.There are many social, moral and other entrenched problems at home. But when you compare us -- or place us within a broader global context -- we are in some areas perhaps a little worse or a little better, and in many areas probably just about the same.