Thursday 9 April, 2020

A view from the outside: More questions for the Maroon

With Karyl Walker

My last column calling on Maroons to apologise for signing a treaty with the British in which they would return runaway slaves to their owners for 30 shillings, has hit a raw nerve.

It has particularly irked the spirit of one Mr Daneyel Z. Bozra, who is the young man I mentioned in the column who boastfully told radio talk show host Mutabaruka that Maroons are not Jamaicans.

Bozra has since gone on a social media parade in which he has called my name more than 40 times in various posts, describing me in any and every despicable adjective he could conjure up.

Even more stunning is the fact that Bozra has endorsed the capture of runaways and called Jamaicans weaklings and rape victims for speaking about an issue that has bothered them for years - the treacherous act of selling slaves back into captivity for 30 shillings.

But he is yet to address the questions raised about the killing of Tacky and Three Finger Jack, the capture of Paul Bogle and the quelling of the Sam Sharpe rebellion.

Instead, he has opted to lap his frock tail and trace.

Bozra’s claim is that, we who would dare to question that act and brand his people as sellouts, are using the slave master’s narrative that was handed to us.

Fair enough.

What is mind-boggling about this misguided young man is the fact that he uses every opportunity to remind those of us who are not descended from the Maroons that our foreparents were raped, whipped and mistreated by the slave owners and that is the reason why we are weaklings and never escaped the horrors of slavery.

For a man who boasts of his superior intelligence and our inferiority at every turn, it is surprising that it took a column by me to get any kind of explanation, however trite, from the Maroons.

The issue of Maroons selling back slaves to the plantation has been festering for years. I must ask, why has no Maroon come forth before this point to debunk the 'myth'? If it is in fact one.

Bozra seems to abhor anyone who would dare question the authenticity of his people and who would dare ask questions about that part of the narrative.

It is quite evident that he is well read and has a wealth of knowledge between his ears. However his anger and vitriol makes him hard to listen to and he would be well advised to temper his youthful exuberance into a more meaningful channel so that intellectual discourse can be engaged in.

My journalistic defense of the Cockpit Country is well documented. I have been to Accompong Town no less than six timès. I have traversed the 150 acres more than three times. Just google.

But I must ask.

How is it that you Maroons have a radio station that is filled with gospel? What about the Maroon history?

Why can't that radio station address the festering issue of those descendants of Africans who believe you are sellouts?

Why won't you speak to the issue?

We demand an answer.

If the claim that Maroons sold fellow Africans back into slavery for 30 shillings is false, then bring empirical and indisputable evidence and debate the matter in a comely fashion.

We demand to know if the claim that Maroons captured Paul Bogle and handed him over to the British to be hanged is true.

Did the Maroons really kill Tacky and Three Finger Jack?

What was the Maroon's role in quelling the Sam Sharpe rebellion?

Those of us who Bozra claims are lower than the Maroons demand these answers.

If not, keep your trap closed and be glad most of us have bread and butter issues to think about. 

The most unintelligent among us are those who would brand persons who are in disagreement as fools, dunces, whores and the like. The loudest person in the room is oftentimes the dumbest.

Bozra, you are by no means a fool or a dunce or a whore or a rape victim, but you seem unable to engage in meaningful debate without being condescending. That is a sign of weakness and reeks of what is known as being ‘uppity’.

He reasons that we should instead focus on the people who had us in bondage, raped us, whipped us and dehumanised us for 400 years instead of talking ‘bad’ about Maroons.

“You have two people, one you say capture you when you run away from the place, the other man had you. The other one raped you, violated you, cut out the bellies of pregnant mothers and killed your children and you set up hotels to accommodate him. You treat him like a God in this island,” he said.

It is amazing that he would say that. Instead of trying to explain in a humble but effective manner, why that narrative is false, he chose the obnoxious route.

The fact is that the horrors of slavery are well known and have been repeated and hit out against by many generations of Jamaicans, or should I say Non-Maroons?

That is why we are still having debates on reparations. Just last week, a University of the West Indies bigwig, Professor Hillary Beckles, spoke about the issue on yonder shores.

The issue of the Maroons participating in the horror will continue to be a burning one and there will forever be misconceptions if the Maroons do not explain their side of the issue and offer what they might call the ‘true’ historical context, but choose to behave in a vitriolic manner such as Bozra has opted for.

Another issue which boggles the mind is that Bozra seems ready to call for the next Maroon war, a revolution he calls it. Simply because we called for an apology?

Lastly, Bozra, because you called my name so many times during your rants, you made me take notice of you. I did some research and I must say I am impressed. You have a wealth of knowledge and can do a world of good for your people. However, you are too angry and, to use your term, impetuous.

Some open questions to you:

How comes you sport an African name and curse out Jamaicans for 'embracing' our slave masters' lifestyle, but you wear so much western made clothes? Where is the traditional Maroon dress or the Ashanti fashion?

You said all Jamaicans who have birth certificates from the Registrar General Department are property of the crown. Do you have a birth certificate? If so, what name is in it?

My name is Karyl Walker, and that is my view from the outside.

Karyl Walker is a multi-award-winning journalist who has worked for Loop Jamaica, the Jamaica Observer, the RJR Communications Group and Nationwide Radio among other media entities. He now resides in South Florida.The opinions expressed in this column represent the views of the writer and not necessarily that of Loop News.

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