Trinidad and Tobago News
Online Forums
  Welcome, Guest. Please Login International Forum

When a metaphor dies a
civilisation dies-A.Maclei

Posts: 2
Gender: male
Sep 26th, 2003 at 3:36am
[color=Purple][/color] Negritude is not merely a word coined by any political enthusiast but the dream of a whole people which crystallised in the mind of that great poet Aime Cessaire who said,"my country and I... My hand small in its enormous fist...." The doctrine of Negritude is the intellectual paraphrasing of the whole range of reactions of the world of black peoples against foreign oppression, against foreigner's dehumanising infliction of colour-complex and also the result of the historic process of self-identification of a great people. The doctrine basically projects the essential human values of man, transcending all superficial barriers that divide human beings and thereby throws overboard the entire system of European values, which stood for colonialism and perpetrated ruthless exploitation of fellow-human beings arrogating a superior position to themselves. Negritude therefore emphasises the oneness of mankind. In the `Cahier" Aime Cesiare's lofty ideal is expressed, "My heart, save me from all hatred. Do not make me that man of hate for whom I have only hatred. You know my ruling passion to restrict other races that I strain to work so hard for that race alone. It is because of the universal hunger for mankind, the universal thirst, that I wish to see it free at least." It is an ideology not of creed or nation and so on. Cesaire calls the Africans "truly the eldest sons of Africa"- they are not merely the children of Africa. Though to start with it was the cry of a few black students of Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris, it soon spread like wild fire among Africans. This renk all over the world. If the human values are to be judged by mere books and libraries or by the glittering achievements of modern science, then I think, the civilisations of China, India, Sumeria and Egypt have to be written off and the recent work of the historians and archaeologists who are constantly at work plunging deeper and deeper into pages of lost history, will be a mere futile exercise because thee is nothing to recover from such discoveries. It is only because that three is in these pages something brilliant, something which leads us, as Jomo Kenyatta puts it, " to weigh sincerity against dialectic, wisdom against polemic, effective policy against glib theory, integrity against betrayal, truth against lies", that we today want to recover what is lost in the hoary past. " Turning over.. Sombre pages of history can have little point unless there is reflective out-come and a moral for men of the future to retireve", words of Jomo again. The African culture, which abounds in ethics, morals, wit, wisdom, sentment and song, is not only a light to those people who created it, but it is a treasure that belongs to the world which thrives better under the rainbow of wisdom of all the multi-coloured peoples of the earth. The brute forces of oppression and colour discrimination not only overlooked these basic human values but also crushed them under iron heels. Can there be a greater crime than not accepting a human being as a human being and what a blot it is against the European civilisation if it is guilty of this crime. In reply to the historic first Nobel prize to be awarded an African, Lithuli declares in defence of the dignity of man and the fullest democratic rights for all mankind, " to remain neutral in a situation where the laws of the land virtually criticised God for having created men of colour, was the sort of thing I could not, as a Christian, tolerate." I was enraged to read the following lines of Gera'd Moore and Ulli Beier in their anthology of Modern Poetry from Africa, which smacked of a subtle attempt to counter pose African against African-this is the old game of "white man's in colonies ad which is perhaps his congenital deformity-. "In general these young poets do not seem at al intent upon expressing the collective African soul, or do they clamour in every line about being black and proud of it." I wonder what these two Anthologists want from the African poets! Perhaps an implicit submission to the colour discrimination and colonial exploitation of the white man without protest. They were fooling themselves in another page saying, " These young poets of English expression are not merely indifferent to but actually hostile towards the concept of Negritude". I better leave them at that. I can understand it is impossible for the bigoted white man to reconcile himself to the great awakenment of the New Africa. Even after Africa became free from colonial rule, the White man still wants to interfere in their affairs and play one against the other b sowing seeds of disunion. This is what I felt when I was reading the last chapter of Claude Wauther's Survey of African Thought and literature. He was trying to play down the importance of negritude, of which the white man instinctively dreads. But he could not avoid the statement that the younger generation of Africa are with one voice for Pan Africanism. Jean Paul Sartre reflected the correct intellectual appreciation of Negritude when he said, that Negro poetry is "the true revolutionary poetry of our time." The whole range of notes on the scale of Modern African Poetry reverberate revolt against the colour prejudice of the white man and his dehumanising attitude to the African. And that is Negritude. Whether an African is in the English Colony or the French colony or in the Portuguese colony, he is basically African and he shares unmistakably his dreams and aspirations interwoven in his culture and civilisation with his brothers across all the artificial barriers. That is how Marcus Garvey though born in the West Indies went to America to join the movement of Free Africa. It was he who virtually founded "Back to Africa movement". This is one of the notable of chain of events that led to the first Pan African congress in Paris in 1919.
-Seshendra Sharma

Back to top
IP Logged