mardi 9 octobre 2012

Jamaica 2012 The second March: Black River

The second march took place in the city of Black River. To do a single march showed to be, especially for us who were doing it for the first time, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually demanding and exhausting. David POTT compared us to a football team after a game except that footballers had a week to prepare for the next game while we went back the next day and sometimes the same day.

The historical event that marked our journey to
Black River was the massacre of the slaves in the English slave ship “The Zong”. By greed the captain of that ship overloaded the vessel with black slaves, 470 for a ship which was made for only about 200. During the passage 60 of them had died of starvation and lack of water others fell sick. But according to English law the captain was not compensated for slaves died from any disease or starvation in the ship. But if they fell into the sea, the captain touched an allowance on goods lost at sea. For this reason he threw overboard the died bodies, those who were sick and those starving, 133 slaves in three days, all died only one escaped. The case was brought to the insurance company in England, which refused to compensate the corrupt captain. This was the beginning of awareness in the West of the issue of the trade of black slaves. The thing has been publicly exposed, the eyes of English were opened on the cruelty of this trade and the abolitionist movement was born.

The march started on the
Farquharson Wharf near the monument to the “Zong” slaves which stood at 100 meters away and where it should end. The police officers of our escort suggested walking along the bank to the court, an impressive colonial building in front of which we made a stop, prayed and proclaimed facing the sea which had landed slaves. Then we retraced our steps, we circumvented the large church to get to the place of the Zong massacres through the market. The reactions were varied among the population. One that caught my attention by the emotional charge it contained is that of a man approaching us called out so poignantly that tears came to my eyes. He was saying: “can you give me back my culture and my name? Who am I? Where do I come from?”

As the team stood in front of the stele to make the statements, the journalist of the “Gleaner” met with the members of the team and especially with David Pott about why our approach by asking questions that the relevant public might ask. This gave us opportunity not only to respond to him but also to all those who had gathered around us. At the end of our statements and after we had expressed our apology, the people extended forgiveness and released those who were under chains and yokes. We have completed this work, tired but satisfied with our day.