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An open letter to Mr Oscar Allen

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Tue, Aug 28, 2012

Mr Allen, I was going to address Mr Aberdeen’s letter, last week, but because of a busy work schedule, I simply did not have the time. Even as I am typing this response to your column, my time is limited. However, I feel compelled to respond, because I am shocked that you would interpret Mr Aberdeen’s letter as more than the ignorance and diatribe that it is.{{more}}

Frankly, as a Vincentian, I felt embarrassed by his letter, because it was nothing more than another exercise in the incurable disease that afflicts some Vincentians called “Ralph bashing/hating.”

Moreover, I was appalled that Mr Aberdeen interpreted the words “I come from the Nigger Yard,” quoted by Dr Gonsalves, as “The self-hating words of a lunatic from Guyana.”

I was embarrassed by his choice of words, because it led me to believe that he never read the poem. Moreover, I sense that he did not realize that “I come from the Nigger Yard” is the title of the poem by the iconic Mr Martin Carter.

In addition, it appears that Mr Aberdeen did not understand what Dr Gonsalves meant when he said “let the poetic words of the iconic Guyanese Martin Carter ring out from the last stanza of his celebrated, ‘I come from the Nigger Yard’.”

It is likely that confusion or lack of comprehension on the part of Mr Aberdeen led him to make the embarrassing claim that the “last stanza” in the poem titled ‘I come from the Nigger Yard’ by Mr Carter came from “the self-hating words of a lunatic from Guyana.”

My jaw dropped when I saw those words, because it led me to believe that Mr Aberdeen was literally clueless about the poem and its author.

Since I do not want Mr Aberdeen to continue to drown himself in his ignorance, let me quote the last stanza of Mr Carter’s much lauded poem.

“I come from the nigger yard of yesterday
leaping from the oppressors’ hate
and the scorn of myself
I come to the world with scars upon my soul
wounds on my body, fury in my hands
I turn to the histories of men and the lives of peoples.
I examine the shower of sparks the wealth of the dreams.
I am pleased with the glories and sad with the sorrows
rich with the riches, poor with the loss.
From the nigger yard of yesterday I come with my burden.
To the world of to-morrow I turn with my strength.”

I want to know how he interpreted the last stanza as that of “the self-hating words of a lunatic from Guyana.”

Frankly, I think Mr Aberdeen should make an apology for his ignorance, because clearly he did not understand what Dr Gonsalves was making reference to when he referred to the last stanza in the poem. But, more importantly, he referred to Mr Carter as a self-hating lunatic, even though the “Guyanese” was a staunch critic of the then colonial power of Guyana, Britain, and was sent to jail because of his anti-colonial stance. Moreover, Mr Carter was an avid supporter of the Walter Rodney founded Working People’s Alliance as well.

In the same breath that he referred to Mr Carter as a self-hating lunatic, should we conclude that he sees Mr Walter Rodney as a self-hating lunatic as well, because he wrote a booklet called ‘From Nigger Yard to Village?’

Mr Allen, when one looks at the rant and ignorance of Mr Aberdeen’s letter, I cannot see how you were able to say with a straight face that he should justly call for a critical review of Dr Gonsalves’ timely and informed presentation on the end of slavery in SVG and our situation in 2012.

Frankly, Mr Aberdeen doesn’t possess the knowledge, intellectual maturity and emotional intelligence to justly call for such a presentation, especially if one has to judge him by his letter. Moreover, Mr Carter will not be able to attend this presentation, because he has been deceased since 1997.

Lance Davis

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