Speech at the Guyana Convention Centre on the 175th anniversary of Indians in Guyana
Eric M. Phillips Jr.
Chairman Sase Sankar; Dr. Frank Anthony, Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport; Mr. Puran Mal Meena, High Commissioner of India; Dr. Yesu Persaud, Chairman of The Indian Commemoration Trust; Mr. Ashook Ramsaran, President of GOPIO; Member of Parliament Kemraj Ramjattan; Members of the Head Table, Distinguished Guests and especially our Distinguished Visitors from Overseas; Ladies and Gentlemen, Students of the University of Guyana; Members of the Media, Guyanese All.
It is indeed a great privilege to speak here today, and to be associated with the remarkable undertaking of the Indian Commemoration Trust and GOPIO, the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin, to celebrate 175 years of the arrival of Indians in Guyana.
I have been asked to speak as a Guyanese of African origin and that privilege carries a humbling responsibility. So I thank Dr. Yesu Persaud and his Team not only for inviting me here, but for the outstanding example of Leadership which they are supplying to a Nation that is suffering an epic famine in Leadership and Self-love.
This year, we celebrate the 175th anniversary of the arrival of Indians in Guyana, the 175 anniversary of Emancipation of Captured Africans, the 169th anniversary of the Portuguese in Guyana, and the 160th anniversary of the arrival of Chinese in Guyana.
Anniversaries allow us to reflect on our Guyanese ness…………..as well as our ethnic and cultural ness.
I have been asked to speak about the suffering of Africans during slavery and their contributions thereof.
History has recorded how they contributed their lives, families, dignity, names, land, blood etc. etc. but history has hidden the larger sacrifices they made even before they even got here.
Although the horror of slavery is well documented, it is not taught in our schools. So Emancipation Day is seen as a holiday in Guyana not as sacred day of remembrance, and African Holocaust Day on 12 October is ignored although Guyanese wear poppies for a few hundred dead on November 11….but not for the millions who perished during slavery.
Slavery annihilated Africa, African culture, African family structures, African institutions, African commerce, African growth, African history, African Pride and African economic development.
Slavery stole Africa’s light and replaced it with darkness. Those whose inhumanity and moral degeneracy benefitted from this earthy purgatory called slavery, called Africa the “Dark Continent”. This perhaps as they tried to purge their guilty conscience which would have made them be known for what they were…. “Evil incarnate”.
The enslavement of Africans, beginning with the Arab Slave Trade which lasted for 11 centuries from 650 AD to 1900 AD, was the first “nuclear bomb” the World has ever experienced. Although much has been written about the European Slave Trade and the Middle Passage, quite amazingly, the Arab Slave Trade, although it began almost 1000 years before the European Slave Trade and continued for almost a century after the abolition of the European Slave Trade, is hidden from Public domain, especially in the West and definitely in the Middle East.
The main difference between the Arab Slave Trade and the European Slave Trade was in their intent.
The Arab Slave Trade centered on sexual pleasure and hence the majority of slaves were women and children. The European Slave Trade centered on labor and hence the majority was young men. The Arab Slave Trade took away African women, the source of African procreation.
There seems to be a great conspiratorial silence centered on how many Africans were taken in either the Arab Slave Trade or the European Slave Trade. Estimates of 8-25 million are used for the Arab Slave Trade and 10-16 million for the European Slave Trade.
The plain truth is that slavery was a 1200 year Arab criminal enterprise that occurred between 650 and 1900 AD and this holocaust was followed by another holocaust , the 400 year criminal European enterprise that occurred between 1441 and 1888 AD.
The numbers of this “greatest crime of mass murder and destruction” are incredible. So incredible is it that the World has used millions of words to hide this unique horror and evil.
Let us forget the intellectuals, racists and apologists who want to mask the truth about this” heinous crime for profit”. In his article “ The way I see it-“The Missing 100+ million”, Jack Crawford provided the following information from the World Almanac in the area of World population (1990 Edition page 539).