The mission of Lifeline Expedition has just ended. It has allowed us to realize that the issue of the consequences of slavery and colonization of black people today is still painful and requires a delicate communication about events that took place in Africa and the Americas. A newspaper columnist “The Jamaica Observer” began his paper with these words: “The inconvenient truth of the evils of the African slave trade will not go away; no more than the horrors of the Jewish holocaust will. Maybe one day, like the Jews, we will cast off the vestiges of slavery and rise confident in our identity as a great and noble race.” This shows how black people need to heal this “legacy”. But as this is a common heritage with the West, it can not be done outside of them. To me this implies that two or three parts together make this trip back in history to heal together and seal the reconciliation between the peoples affected by this painful history.
As Christians we believe that reconciliation will necessitate the recognition of injury to this people by the descendents of those who bear the responsibility, first in the West and to some extent Africans who sold their brothers to the West, often by greed. This reconciliation necessitates then a request for forgiveness. That’s why representatives of the nations involved in this human drama symbolically made yokes and chains for a prophetic walk across the country.
These marches, under the leadership of the Christian movement of reconciliation “Lifeline Expedition”, were to tell the Jamaican people that we, African and European descendants of those who were at the origin of this drama of humanity, regret and ask for forgiveness. Only the Europeans were shackled and wore yokes. This meant: “we understand what your ancestors have endured because of us and ask forgiveness.” The Marches were done in silence and in prayers and proclamations. Our steps were occasionally punctuated by the beat of an African tam-tam, which gave a certain solemnity in the procession, and which led our brothers and sisters in the Diaspora to say later during the last debriefing that its reasoning will always reason in their ears as a reminder to their African origins. They ended in a public place by a statement of each of the representative of Europe in chains and yoke followed by a statement of one of the representative of Africa. This was to recognize the involvement of the ancestors of the countries represented in this despicable trade and its consequences. It ended with a plea for forgiveness. Then ensued discussions some of which sometimes very vivid, often poignant, but each time the pardon was granted and the visited peoples symbolically delivered European from their chains and their yokes.
The first meetings were devoted to team building. Given the psychological and spiritual stress implied by the marches, it was essential that the team is united and in solidarity. It was necessary that all team members are aware of the motivations and objectives of these marches. For that reason it was important to know each other and the best way was to introduce expressing one’s motivations, one’s process of involvement in this reconciliation project. It was for me the decisive part in my commitment to the reconciliation of people involved in the triangular trade. Our team mates, descendants of slaves moved me so much that I could do nothing else but totally embody with that “battle” for reconciliation. I discovered the suffering that inhabited my people and which I had only intellectually understood by my commitment to the struggle fro reconciliation up to now. I discovered things I did not know yet, despite all the books I had read about this crime against humanity, and I was overturned to the bottom of my gut. A sister, in particular, overturned me because of her revolt against that situation. We cried together and prayed for each other. The healing process had begun among us, members of the team. I did not expect this at all, it was extraordinary, even divine! I understood that it was necessary that this work be done before we engage in these marches.
Prayer request for September
God bless you
Prayer request for September
Prayer requests will mainly concern the consequences of the mission in Jamaica. Let’s pray:
1) That the prophetic marches on Jamaica have an impact on the country’s future.
2) For the healing of psychological, mental and spiritual slavery to be effective in the hearts of Jamaicans, in short, as stated by Bob Marley, that they are freed from the slave mentality.
God bless you