Thank you Madame Chair – Professor Shepherd/Sister Verene
I am indeed pleased to bring comradely greetings from the Antigua and Barbuda Reparations Support Commission – to the Centre for Reparation Research, the St Lucia National Reparations Committee and to the guest lecturers on this the third in the series of. I am sure that I am at liberty to bring greetings also from the CARICOM Reparations Commission and all other national committees and commissions. I bring greetings to students and teachers in attendance.
I am elated in recognizing the focus and emphasis that has been placed on the education of youth in our search for historical truth and the call for justice that emanates from the discovery of such truth – or truths. We attempt here in Antigua to spread the message that the quest for reparatory justice – for reparations is about shaping the future of our world – the world that youth will live in as adults and suggest that it is really for their own well being that they become involved in what is really a shaping of their world – not ours, grey in hair and long in tooth.
The organizers have selected a subject for this lecture – Conquest, Colonisation and the Imperial Project’ – that is as wide as it is deep as it is meaningful to our understanding of our history, the development challenges we face and the obstacles both ancient and modern that mitigate against development – a discussion we hope will lead to the centering of the reparations dialogue in our future survival.
The CARICOM Reparations Commission recognizes the last century as the period of the struggle against colonialism and for independence throughout the Caribbean – and is firm in its commitment to make the first half of this century the period of reparations won, reparations gained.
The understanding of both conquest and colonization should unearth for us the crimes against humanity committed against our ancestors – crimes that morphed from the physical brutality of war, of guns and bullets and chains and whips and torture and rape – to an intentional cultural dehumanization – the casting of stigmas on our traditions, our heritage, our religions – our race. It is a dehumanization laced with hypocrisy in that it was imposed and suggested – as being good for us – as it laid the basis for the perpetuation and expansion of imperial power and rule.
I look forward to the various lectures…the speakers are all new voices to me…but I am sure they represent the wide involvement of our academics in the reparatory justice discussion and therefore ask our students to pay particular attention to the wisdom they bear.
Dorbrene E. O’Marde
26 November 2020