What a week it’s been! Recent dialogue shows that Bermudians have moved one more step closer to being a more open society.
We had a slanging match over the Southlands/Jumeirah hotel development. We learned about Andre Curtis’s $27,000 lunch bill (That’s a lotta’ greeze in such a short time!). The BHC matter looks set for a pre-Halloween session at the Privy Council. Will they wear wigs as well as masks?
Through it all seeped the little voices that I’ve learned to listen for, and the little signs that I’ve learned are the pointers to the future.
Like a breaching whale, our Bermudian differences popped up. At the same time, our real, not our imagined, Bermudian reality showed itself. Just like the big splash that the whale makes when it re-enters the water.
One of the differences showed in the decision by the ABC to withdraw from the impending election. Fundamentally, if you believe that you don’t matter, then the reality is that you really won’t matter; that your existence, your continued existence, is pointless. The ABC reckoned that their political actions would not make any difference. So they chose to pull out. It was a stupid decision. The decision says that their powerlessness stems from an innate belief – now out in the open – that they can’t make a difference. So they’ll self-fulfill their own prophecy and they won’t make a difference!
Power belongs only to by people who reach out and grab it. Don’t reach? Can’t get! Reach? Might miss! Might succeed!
A second difference came with Southlands. Here, the ‘fait accompli’ was finally ‘accompli’ed’. But what was Southlands all about? The media play and public noise has been about the natural environment. The South Shore slanging match hinted at the underlying reality that is obscured by our national communicating processes.
Southlands was really all about ‘it’s my turn now’. It was a display of ‘I’ve got the power’ and ‘I’ll do it my way’.
Today is Emancipation Day. One hundred and seventy three years ago, to the day, black Bermudians were freed from slavery. Almost exactly 173 years later – just a week early – black Bermudians acted to take economic advantage of some of Bermuda’s land-space. Effectively, in terms of strategic development, their action today is not radically different from the action taken in Tucker’s Town in the 1920’s. The difference is in where the benefits will flow.
In the 1920’s the major benefit flowed to members of Bermuda’s dominant political group. In 2007, the major benefit will flow to members of Bermuda’s dominant political group. It is exactly the same script. Just different actors on stage. There were no family evictions at Southlands, but there are many other similarities in the two situations.
The environmental damage aspect, though, is real. All Bermuda will incur a heavy national penalty. That penalty will now have to be borne and it will be shared.
New reality? A new breed of black Bermudians are ‘in charge’ now and they’ve recognized – and are not afraid to use – their power.
The last thing that really caught my attention is the support shown for the Bermuda Hogges team.
At the first game that I attended, I anticipated that the majority of supporters would be white persons. For all the games that I’ve attended, the vast majority of supporters at the games were white persons. The most vocal support at the games comes from a group of guys who are majority white. The Bermuda Hogges team is majority black. So, why no black majority support for the team? Like Adrian Robson and Shawn Goater, I’d puzzled over it.
Around 0945hrs on Sunday morning – how Bermudian! – someone sparked the beginning of a revelation. A black man called me to discuss matters involving race. In the course of that conversation he said that he was in favour of using the term ‘back slapping blacks’. As I understood it, he was referring to blacks who sought approbation from whites. I disagreed with his concept, argued strenuously with him, and gave him my different perspective.
Thinking on, I thought my way through to a clearer understanding of a lot of other matters.
I recalled Julian Hall and Dr Muriel Smith-Wade’s recent rants about ‘white supremacy’. I grouped that with my Sunday morning conversation about ‘back slapping blacks’. I put that alongside black non-attendance at Hogges games. Finally, I added the ‘in-your-face’ decision about Southlands, and the crowd greeting for the Premier at Snorkel Park.
Wait ‘til next week…….