Notes From The Margin

August 2, 2007

The Farce Of Emancipation Day

Filed under: Barbados,Barbados Media,culture — notesfromthemargin @ 1:33 am

Today was Emancipation Day in Barbados, it was remarkably low key.

We had the Government sanctioned celebration which featured a freedom walk from Nelson’s Statue to Government Headquarters put on by the Pan African Commission, at the Bussa statue, the Global Afrikan Congress had it’s own event,  and then we had a third event held by the Clement Payne Movement at Bayley’s Plantation. (The site of the Bussa rebellion).

Of course the real tragedy of Emancipation day is that it has faded from the prominence that it previously had. Originally the occasion of Emancipation day was a celebration of the ending of slavery and was treated in such a way as to bring the disparate parts of the society together to face the future. It was a celebration for all races and classes.

However what has happened, is that over time the event has been organised more and more by the more radical elements of society. What has happened is that as the rhetoric has become more strident, the mainstream of Barbados (of all races) has shied away from the event. It has become more and more a fringe event with relatively small crowds and a narrow philosophical base. What should be an occasion to rally the country together has become one that splits us into camps.

Emancipation Day celebrations in Barbados have been reduced to the level of farce.

We are all poorer because of this.


Further reading:  Nation News: A day divided

1 Comment »

  1. A lot of other countries in the Caribbean were commemorating Emancipation Day as a national holiday before Barbados began doing it. That it falls during Crop Over and we have only (relatively) recently been observing it as a national holiday contribute to the fact that most people don’t even think about it. If as you say the nation is “split into camps” I don’t think that it is fair to blame those who organised the few public events commemorating emancipation. I do agree, however, that as a nation more needs to be done to educate the public about emancipation and to properly observe this day.

    Comment by eemanee — August 2, 2007 @ 12:42 pm | Reply

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