lundi 24 septembre 2012

Jamaica 2012 The first March: Montego Bay

After the healing process among team members, we were ready to undertake the marches.

The first march took place in Montego Bay. It was emotional for some of us, about the third, who were experiencing this for the first time. Each March was punctuated by a specific historical event of the place we were marching in. This event had a close relationship with a tragic situation experienced by the slaves, the struggle for the emancipation of slavery or freedom from the oppression of the people after abolition. We left the docks next to a field where we were told that hundred of slaves had been buried there after some ships had arrived with survivors.

At the head of the procession was an Afro-Colombian young man, Yeison, holding a stick in his hand at the end of which was hung a serpent. This has resulted in some jeers from some passers who accused us of occultism, the serpent being for a lot the symbol of the devil. David was later to explain the relationship with our approach: this is the symbol of healing used by medical professionals and comes from the story of Moses, who had raised a brazen serpent in the desert so that when the children of Israel were bitten by the serpents of fire, they would not die when watching the serpent of brass and they are healed. Nevertheless laughter and mockery punctuated our walk. But also some people showed curious and sometimes sympathetic.

Sam Sharpe Square

We then made a stop at
Sam Sharpe Square, one of the heroes of the country, before we end the march at the Burchell Baptist Church. Sam Sharpe was an educated city slave, preacher and deacon the native Baptist Church of Montego Bay. He is at the origin of the slave revolt of 1831. He began a passive resistance claiming that slaves should not work on Christmas day. This led to a rebellion after which he was arrested and hanged December 27 1832. His action was the cause of abolition bill passed by the British Parliament in 1834 followed by the proclamation in 1838 of the abolition of slavery in British colonies.

When we arrived at the
Baptist Church, we addressed to the small number of parishioners and some onlookers who followed the procession. In turn we gave our apologies to this group, the English whom had to read a statement of apology from a representative of Spain who could not make the trip, a Scotsman, a Frenchman and two Africans. It was a memorable moment, full of emotions especially when Jamaicans came to liberate the Europeans from their chains and their yokes

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