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De lion tells his story

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Ah wrote some time ago dat in school ah never loved History, it was de most boring subject.Actually, ah few of us had our own class in de back row. Is like de Master would ask de question:

“Alexander, what year was ‘de Battle of Hastings?” and before ah could attempt an answer Paddy Corea or one ah dem boys sitting next to yuh would whisper: “Who cares?” Or even more humiliating was when Sir asked: “Tell de class how was Joseph Chatoyer killed?” And we had to mek up dis long “Non-scents Story” how Chatoyer had ah “han-to-han fight” wid General Leight, Chatoyer had ah knife and de General ah sword. De only story matches dat was when David had ah sling-shot and five stones and Goliath had ah spear. Worse still is like how de English Bg-up King Henry de 8th foh having six wives; but on our side, dey mek fun ah Chatoyer wid five wives, one less dan Henry 8th, implying Ah-Dull-Tree.

Maybe ah would ah bin crazy about His-Story 60 years ago, if we had ah His-Story Teacher like Doctor Fraser. De good Doc is like de Lion in dat famous African Proverb: “Until de story of de Hunt is told by de Lion, de Tale of de Hunt will always glorify de Hunter.” And dat is what we want to hear about last Thursday evening when he launched his book: From Villain to National Hero” His Excellency Joseph Chatoyer.

Doc Fraser has been “hunted” worse dan ah Lion by Cato’s Labour Go-venom-mint. All because he deared to I-dentify wid FORUM, ah Progressive Group dat comprised of ah number of University Graduates (Common-ness dey were called). He was “hunted”, caught and fired from his job because he was part of de Teachers Strike in 1975, de now infamous “Tear Gas” Rally. Ah remember in 2002 when de cry went up foh ah genuine His-story Book of SVG. When everybody thought dat Dr Fraser was going to be assigned de task; someone else got de contract. But Fraser is more dan ah Historian, he is His-story. He remains committed and dedicated to His-story “From Whence We Came!”

Ah have not gone to ah Book Launch in years, ah cant tek de part wid de Reviews and Reflections. Ah find everybody loves to rain on other people’s parade too much. De launch was supposed to be Doc Fraser’s moment to tell us about his challenges, what to look for, ah would like to say “beat his chest”, but dat’s not de man Fraser’s style. So finally when it was time for His-story, he had to add-myth dat dey was not much left to be said.

We got nice reviews from two Community College lecturers, however, if dey’s ah next time, ah wish dey would bring along some ah dey students from de College. Not ah student was present. Maybe if de Radio Stay-shun had not asked foh payment to give Doc Fraser ah lickle pro-mo of his book, de invitation would ah reach de students.

Ah was pleasantly surprised at de large turn-out and also de number of books dat we sold. Clive “Bish-I” Bishop was present, he picked up two copies, said he was waiting foh ah book like dis foh years, so he plans to read about it twice. If dat sounds funny, my son-in-law ordered five copies, but ah not waiting till Christmas foh one ah his, ah bought my own “40th In-de-pen-dunce Birthday Gift.” In de meantime ah’m reading ah very interesting book: “How to Develop a winning Self-Image” written by our very own Dr David Joyette, my villager and closest near-bah and friend. Over de years he would have donated a few thousand books to secondary schools in SVG.

And finally, just to let de Caterer at de Book Launch Ms Laborde know, dat she gets ah ten out ah ten foh her snacks, presentation, taste everything was good, one teeny-weeny fault, it had ah more-ish taste. And wid dat is gone ah gone again.

One Love Bassy

Bassy Alexander is a land surveyor, folklorist and social commentator.

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