Re: Hindus under attack in TT
Where is the evidence?
By A. Hotep
July 15, 2007
The allegations made by the Hindu American Foundation (HAF) in the article "Hindus under attack in TT" come over as another propagandist, politically-motivated attempt to solidify Indians around election time.
There is no evidence to date that kidnappings in Trinidad and Tobago are racially motivated. It appears that kidnappers are of the two majority races in the country and they are targeting people who they believe have readily available cash and reside in areas where there is less security.
However, there is evidence that some of the reported kidnappings were staged and most of the people involved in fake kidnappings, in an attempt to extort money from their families, were Indians (See: "Fake kidnapping inquiry" and "She faked kidnapping to raise $100,000").
The state's refusal to grant Sat Maharaj a radio license was not necessarily because he was Indian and Hindu. It could very well have been because he has a history of making outrageous and racist statements against African people. There are several Indian radio stations in Trinidad and Tobago, but not one African radio station. Prior to the many Indian radio stations, the state media hosted Indian/Hindu programs on an almost daily basis for around twenty years. Sat Maharaj also had programs on the state media. There were never sustained African-oriented programs on the state media: just tokens around Emancipation time. The people who make these claims of Indian and Hindu discrimination are not substantiating these allegations. They are just being sensational.
Another example is in the police service. How many Indians/Hindus applied to the police service and how many were able to pass the tests and were refused? Without this information we could be looking at something totally different. For example, we do not see many Indians coming forward to play football, but they do come forward to play cricket. So we cannot conclude that the absence of Indian footballers is as a result of racism. Traditionally, Indians did not participate in certain sports like football and basketball. Also, Indian families discouraged their children from joining the army and police services. Raffique Shah has written about this (See: Memories of Regiment's first Indian officer...a personal experience).
On the other side, we have many claims of Africans trying to get into the field of medicine and other sciences in the UWI medical fraternity and they were not accepted despite meeting the requirements. Some of them who were refused entry went to other universities abroad to pursue their careers in those fields. There is now a call for the medical fraternity to be investigated surrounding these claims (See: Prof hits admission policy of Mt Hope medical school).
The allegations in the article imply that Indians and the Hindu section of the Indian community are being targeted for racial and cultural discrimination against them by the state and other ethnic groups in the society; they are not bringing forth the evidence to substantiate this. People who believe this should present the evidence so that it can be discussed and dealt with.
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Jul 13th, 2007 at 5:54 pm
Let me aske two questions that are relevant. (1)Who owns more commercial property in Trinidad and Tobago, Africans or Hindus?
(2) Who owns more media entities in Trinidad and Tobago, Africans or Hindus? The answer to these questions are important. Because if, as I imagine it to be, Hindus have the advantage in these areas and still talking about discrimination, then fairness for them must mean them controlling everything and Africans controlling nothing. And I rather think this is the kind of measurement they are making, and the paradigm of fairness they envision.
Jul 15th, 2007 at 10:40 pm
I have seen what others have said regarding Hindus not being discriminated against or experiencing racism. A. Hotep in his/her comment written to your newspaper cites that the kidnapping and murder against the Hindu population has no racial tones. When you read about the great number of East Indians that are kidnapped and/or murdered, and a great section of the East Indian populations that fall victim to these horrendous acts are Hindus, one begins to wonder. The majority of people that commits these bad acts against Hindus are committed by certain sector of the population. The majority of these crimes are not committed by or none of these bad acts are committed by Chinese, white, Portuguese, Syrians, Spanish, French, or others against Hindus. Just looking at the trend of these bad acts against Hindus, the average man can figure out the situation that Hindus and/ or East Indians are being targeted, you do not need a genius to figure out the situation. The constant reporting of crime against a certain sector of the population should tell you who is being targeted. For example, his name is Ram Singh, Maraj /Maharaj, Balgobin, Sunil, etc, should tell you who is bearing the brunt of the crimes. You want statistics; ask the police force and the newspapers reporting the crimes. I believe you think all the reporting is a lie. By the way, my relative was a respective Hindu, she live a short distance in a well developed area few miles from the police station. She was senior in age; she was raped and murdered by a non-Hindu/non-East Indian. She is one of the statistics where crime is concerned. If the government and others would not hold it against the East Indians for telling what they are experiencing they would come forward. Those who want statistics, survey the entire population of East Indians in TT. Better yet go into the heart of Indian residential areas and talk to them about their life on the job and off the job. Find out what they feel. They say only if you are Jewish that survive the death camps, and then you can experience what the Holocaust victims went through. Only if you are East Indians/ Hindu, then you can experience the horrors of racism and inequality in TT. I know about racism and discrimination in TT. My parents like so many other parents and myself have experience both. My nieces and other members of the family struggles with this system everyday in TT, i.e. racism and discrimination.
Citing one or a few acts of kidnapping whether fake or real committed by East Indians against Hindus or other Indians against Indians does not substantiate your argument that there is no racism involved and everyone is getting their fair share. The fact is that the acts of violence / kidnappings committed by a certain sector of the population against Hindus is racially motivate. Many people in TT continue to push the idea that the East Indians owns this and that. They motivate a certain sector of the population to go after the East Indians / Hindus and hurt them. TT should say thank God, and support the East Indians who continue to strive to keep the economy in Trinidad going by building business and creating jobs. By the way the majority of the East Indians who are involved in businesses are Hindus. They are the ones experiencing the most robberies /murders /kidnappings.
Concerning the police force, traditional ways of selection and the lack of providing suitable foods, and other things to a Hindu population did not provide incentives for Hindus to join the police force or the army. In addition to blatant incidents of racism, prejudice, pressure, lack of promotion and other factors experienced by those who took the chance to join the force did not provide much incentives to potential Hindu/East Indian candidates. If your way is block with obstacles, racism and prejudice caused by others or there is a very slim chance you will be promoted or treated fairly in the police force or the army, then why would a Hindu/East Indian want to pursue career in these sectors. Some has took the chance and join the army / the police force. Please do not say East Indian parent did not want their children to join this force or that force. If that were the case, then as of today there would not be any East Indians in the TT police force. Did you survey all East Indian parents in TT? If they did, it is because of their learned experience of wide spread racism and fear of lack of opportunities for their children. Raffique Shah is one man's story, did Raffique use a consulting firm to survey the entire East Indian population. I do not blame East Indian parent for not wanting their children to join the forces, as I pointed out where religion and culture is concerned, Hindus traditions is not to eat beef. Many are vegetarian who do not eat meat. East Indian Muslim prefers to eat Halal meat and not eat pork. Would you want your children to join an organization where their customs are not respected? Has the police fore and army changed its customs to accommodate a major sector of the population, i.e. East Indians.
I can give you first hand event of a young well-educated and smart Hindu youth who broke with tradition and join the police force. His life was no bed of roses. You should hear the events of racism and prejudice that was practice against this Hindu youth. I know what you going to say; well he is lying, right. Wrong, his stories were all true, why because his father was also a policeman who went through the training and experienced the form of racism that you are denying exists against Hindus. These are the few Hindus who decide to break with tradition and eat what ever they were provided with just to graduate. By the way the Hindu youth, despite these obstacles became a policeman. Want another incident, another young Hindu man decided to leave his good job and join the police force. After his graduation and months later he could not bear to stay any longer because of the treatment given to him. With the reign of black power and the conditions he was experiencing at the time, his mother advise him to quit. Want more actual stories about racism?
You may know that Hindus have adopted the custom of not eating beef. Likewise it is against the Muslim custom to eat pork. Did the previous black governments tried to accommodate Hindus by catering to their needs? Did the past black government cater to the East Indian Muslims by serving Halal meat for those who join the forces? Take a look at the British police forces and other forces of the world that have deliberately gone out to attract and recruit and train East Indians. There are lots of East Indian policemen in London.
As for radio license and Sat Maharaj, it is amazing when someone decides to speak for Hindus, you quick to say he is against black. What a one sided game. When Panday was in power it was and an Indian thing, how they put it, an Indian government. PNM is a black government and have exist for years. Why are you not saying it is a black thing, it is a black government? I believe Pandy catered to all people whether they were Chinese, Afro-Trinis, and East Indians etc. in his party. The license not granted to Sat was not solely against him, the main reason it was not given, was the radio would be catering to the Hindu population. Is this not racism? Is this not a form of racism being practice against Hindus? As for the others who broadcast to the East Indian population, they have put out their hard-earned cash to buy their own equipment; the government did not given them money.
Regarding sports, how government sponsored coaches have been or are in Hindu schools or Hindu areas promoting or teaching soccer or basketball. Has anyone gone out and say, we want East Indians to be part of our team? Has anyone tried or emphasize that if you are East Indians and you come forward you will be treated fairly. The same East Indian /Hindus that migrate from TT, when taught and given the chance, are found playing a variety of games overseas including tennis, soccer, basketball, lawn tennis, hockey. Anyway, when the Hindus/East Indians are constantly facing so much of pressure, obstacles and racism in all sectors in TT, why would they even bother to venture to ask to be place on a soccer team or basketball team?
As for the issue of selection for medical school at UWI, I would not get into that where you are saying blacks are having a hard time. I have already written enough.
When East Indian whether they are Hindus or not Hindus are experiencing full blown racism on the job and off the job and in every sector of their everyday life, they are not imagining things. They are not blowing things out of proportion, they just stating the facts. Keep examining the articles published, e.g. Hindu teachers being under paid in schools. Is this not racism? Opportunity to further promote Hindi, the language of Hindu parents is getting lip service support. Why is this happening? Hindus being brush aside or give half answers. Is it because you are East Indian that such treatment is being served to you? Half of TT population is East Indian, their parent language Hindi. Why was Hindi not fully promoted and made one of the official languages of TT for East Indians? Instead a foreign country language like Spanish is given official status. When this happens, what would East Indians think, are they not being discriminated against?
I believe judgment was finally passed against the medal Trinity Cross after so many years. Where is the new medal? How many time have request been put to the Prime Minister to change this medal? Not wanting to accommodate the East Indian sector by changing this medal, what would you called it racism or hate against the Hindu/East Indian population. Sat Maharaj being denied a radio license, while other gets license. What would you call it racism and/or discrimination or just pure hate?
By A. Hotep
Jul 16th, 2007
Before responding to some of the remarks in your reply, let me first state that I am an African and I identify with Africa as my cultural homeland. I am also a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago. I generally believe Hinduism with its built-in caste system is a racist ideology (See: The Untouchables: Who Were They and Why They Became Untouchables? By Dr. B. R. Ambedkar). If someone is claiming that he or she is a Hindu and cannot show how he or she is working to dismantle the caste system and the negative imagery of dark-skinned people in Hinduism, then I simply look at him or her as either deliberately or naively promoting racism. Discrimination against dark-skinned people is an aspect of the teachings of Hinduism so it is rather strange that some Indians/Hindus are now trying to make accusations that it is Africans who are discriminating against them.
In response to some of your remarks:
There are more materially wealthy Indians than there are Africans in Trinidad and Tobago. Although Indians' 'wealth' may be less than that of Whites, wealthy Indians are in far greater numbers than people of other races in Trinidad and Tobago. Unlike Chinese and White people, materially rich Indians live in neighborhoods among 'poor' and middle-income people with average security. Their material assets are quite visible and they are very involved as operators in their businesses. Being accessible and more visibly wealthy makes them targets for kidnappers. It has also been suggested that some of the kidnappings of Indians are being arranged by fellow Indians (who solicit the services of others to carry out the kidnappings). If in the near future there is an arrest of a family member of the most famous kidnapping to date, that would shed some more light on this.
The fact that impoverished Indians and Africans are involved hands-on in the deed of kidnappings does not mean that they are the only orchestrators of these incidents. You have not made the case that anyone is specifically targeting Indians or Hindus (a group of Indians who practice the religion Hinduism) because of their race. Sensationalism is not evidence of racism.
How do you account for the Indians and Hindus (a group of Indians who practice the religion Hinduism) who have been involved in the drug trade, car stealing racket, stolen car parts industry, murder, suicide, and other forms of corruption, including political? Many are aware of the allegations and charges of corruption against prominent Indians including Indian politicians. Dhanraj Singh was accused of employing poor Africans to carry out his dirty deeds and he barely escaped the murder charge that was against him.
If any Indian community feels they are being discriminated against, they can speak out for themselves and present proper arguments to make the case. You said, "When East Indian whether they are Hindus or not Hindus are experiencing full blown racism on the job and off the job and in every sector of their everyday life, they are not imagining things." Instead of just making unsubstantiated allegations, bring forward the evidence to support your case. Also, there is no shortage of Indian lawyers who would gladly take these cases to court to further their political agenda.
There definitely is racial and cultural discrimination in Trinidad and Tobago but the brunt of it is experienced by Africans who assert their African Identity. This does not mean Indians do not experience discrimination but the arguments in that article and your response are bogus to say the least.
You speak of Raffique Shah as someone just putting forward one man's story while you tried to put forward your own story (that cannot be substantiated) in an attempt to claim racism.
"You may know that Hindus have adopted the custom of not eating beef. Likewise it is against the Muslim custom to eat pork. Did the previous black governments tried to accommodate Hindus by catering to their needs? Did the past black government cater to the East Indian Muslims by serving Halal meat for those who join the forces?"You have not shown where Indians (Hindus and Muslims) applied for jobs in the military, requested a different diet and were refused.
Here is what Raffique Shah actually said about this:
"The paucity of Indians in the Regiment did not deter the few of us who were members, nor did we feel discriminated against. As an officer, I did not have to eat pork; and private soldiers could also order their special meals, even those who abstained from meat. And while there must have been some racists on board, I cannot point a finger at any one, not even Serrette. You see, in the military there is a bond among serving officers and men that transcends race. In the event of war, one's life is in the hands of his brother soldier. So if you can trust a man with you life, race simply does not count.
Raffique is on point. Indian families discouraged their children from getting involved in certain fields especially areas where they would have to mix with Africans.
It is also true that many Indians did not apply to join the military, or, for that matter, the Coast Guard. And there were (and still are) good reasons why they didn't. My father, for example, if he'd had his choice, would have pointed me in the direction of one of the traditional professions. Unfortunately for him, I determined my own destiny from age 17. Most Indians do not see the army as holding any future for them or their offspring, hence the tendency to get into anything other than the military. Too, because of their religions, they tend to shun institutions where there is no "halal" meat or, in the case of Hindus, where meats form part of the daily diet. And yes, as far as I know, there is no time-off granted to Muslims for Friday's "Juma" prayers or for Hindu holy days (other than Eid and Divali)."
Remember that race-mixing is still strongly discouraged by Indians, and to a greater extent, Hindus (a group of Indians who practice the religion Hinduism). Indian parents and extended families literally disown their sons and daughters for marrying Africans. Africans are not so stridently opposed to race-mixing.
I am sure if the government deliberately went about trying to get Indians to play football and basketball in Hindu schools without this being first initiated by leaders in the Indian community there would be a lot of noise about the government trying to "douglarise" the country. A similar argument was made when the government proposed that pan be taught in all schools as it is the national instrument. Frontline members of the Indian community complained that the government was attempting to "douglarise" the nation by trying to force Indians to play pan. They wanted the government to declare some Indian musical instruments, which were not invented here, as national instruments just to rival the Steelpan. That entire public outcry was based on anti-African racism.
Indians were against joining the civil service until salaries were raised considerably, only after Africans protested for decades for increased salaries and other benefits. From colonial times, both Africans and Indians did not want to join the police and civil service. These jobs were low paying and considered degrading.
Most Indians were settled on arable agricultural lands and were better able to sustain themselves. Many Africans were eventually settled in areas with the worst possible land for agriculture, like Laventille and Belmont, and without compensation from slavery and agriculture to sustain themselves, they slowly gravitated to civil service jobs, the police and the army. Salaries in the civil service improved in the years during the oil boom from 1973 to 1981.
Without reflecting on history, about twelve years ago, some Indians started making the claim that their low numbers in the civil service was as a result of racism. That was totally untrue. As a matter of fact, if Indians are suddenly interested in football it is only after witnessing the prominence the Soca Warriors rose to and the millions of dollars in rewards they were given.
Although some Indians speak Hindi, the majority of people including Indians in Trinidad and Tobago speak English and it is for that reason English remains the national language. Nothing is stopping Indian schools from teaching Hindi and I think the argument for making Hindi an official language is mostly for symbolic and political reasons. If you are in favour of a language that is not commonly spoken by the people in the country then, by all means, learn it. The government is not trying to make an African language the official language of Trinidad and Tobago and there are Africans who study and learn different African languages. The reason for promoting Spanish is simply because Trinidad is close to South America and the language commonly spoken there is Spanish. So the government is really pushing Spanish to facilitate trade with South America. I would be in favour of more trade with Africa and India and, in that context, would like to see Trinidadians and Tobagonions learn more African and Indian languages.
It is not only some Indians who are opposed to the Trinity Cross, some Africans who claim their African identity also do not like the dominant Christian symbols. The fact that many Trinidadians are in favour of the Trinity Cross is simply because they are 'Christians' (a legacy of slavery and colonialism that mostly negatively impacts Africans). Remember that there are Indian Christians who are generally not factored in when Indian spokespeople comment on these issues. There are many Indians who are Roman Catholics, Anglicans and Presbyterians and they are in favour of the Trinity Cross (like most Christians).
So far your response DOES NOT PROVE racism against Indians and the Hindu subsection of the Indian community. This could all be another politically motivated attempt to be inflammatory, and to divert attention from the fact that, for the most part, Brahminical Hinduism with its caste system is inherently racist and should not be accepted by any society as is. Although this is my personal view, I am in opposition to the government when it extends to some Hindu organizations without understanding the racist nature of those organizations. Some years ago, I drew it to the attention of those in authority and other members of the African community of how racism was being taught by some pundits on the state media under the disguise of promoting their religion and culture. I can clearly remember a pundit explaining to the audience on 91.1 FM that African people came about when Ram (a God) burnt Rawan (the devil).
By Linda Edwards
Jul 16th, 2007 at 7:02 pm
Last week, July 13, there was a programme on the Parliament Channel discusing the road to full internal self-govt. I found it informative. Here's why. After the Moyne Commission Report was done, the Colonial Office began to loosen its stranglehold on the throat of Trinidad and Tobago. Full adult suffrage, and ordinary people paticipating in government came about. They repoted that in the Parliament of 1946, Mitra Sinanan, Roy Joseph and others were elected. There was only one African, Dr. Patrick Solomon. In the Parliament of 1950, Solomon lost his seat,the Butler party won seven seats, and Victor Bryan, Ajodasingh, Chanka Maharaj,Mitra Sinanan, Netto of Arima, Roy Joseph, Lionel Sieukeran and others won. Butler was the most strongly identified with the cause of African people. Although his party won more seats than any other group, he could not form a government becuse he could not get any alliances with any others in the elected group.
Not an Indian-origin person said that that was discrimination. In the parliament of 1956, the PNM swept to power under Eric Williams, and the Africans who were a majority all along, finally got some power in the land that their fathers had slaved for. The Indians have been complaining about discrimination ever since.
What sort of system returned more Indians to power in Parliament in 1946 and 1950, than African people? Jerrymandering? Bought votes? Or the willingness of the Colonial Office to create a buffer zone between them and the African population? Were the Indians willing participants in this ceation of a buffer zone?
Is this why we constantly hear of race at election time? Is this a lament for the power the Colonial Office was willing to encourage them to believe in, that was not bolstered by real votes?
If the golden age of Indian political influence was the period 1946 to 1955, I would like to know if the record shows that ONE, that would be enough,One Indian voice was raised in Parliament to suggest that Tubal Uriah Butler should rightfully have been asked to try to form a government based on the number of seats his party won.
That was racism.
By Riaz Ali
Jul 17th, 2007 at 1:00 am
The sad thing is there is discrimination (both real and imagined) on all sides and there is an outright unwillingness of any of the parties involved to acknowledge that it affects anyone but themselves.
Anyone who says Hindus are not discriminated against and makes excuses like they live among people of lower income brackets unlike the whites - using that as an excuse for the disproportionate number of kidnappings are grasping at straws to discredit any arguments. Similarly indo-Trinidadians do discriminate against afro-Trinidadians regularly. It's just the majority of people are too stupid and biased to see all sides of the argument. Reading the initial article, if I were an outsider, I would think Afro-trinis are the sole cause of problems for Hindus in T&T and then after reading the follow-up comments to this and the previous article on the subject, I would think Indians are the sole cause of all the problems of the Afro-Trinidadians. I may even think that it's alright to be racist against men and non-attractive women or if a group of people have money, then they don't deserve any more rights.
one more point...whoever said that the Indians received fertile agricultural lands is dead wrong. Chagaunas was a virtual swamp but the people raised the land there over the years. My great-uncle has land in the Caroni Swamp! I can't begin to tell you how much millions of dollars all the mangrove and mosquitoes has made my family over the last 3 generations.
By A. Hotep
July 17, 2007
Riaz Ali said:
"The sad thing is there is discrimination (both real and imagined) on all sides and there is an outright unwillingness of any of the parties involved to acknowledge that it affects anyone but themselves."
I already stated:
"There definitely is racial and cultural discrimination in Trinidad and Tobago but the brunt of it is experienced by Africans who assert their African Identity. This does not mean Indians do not experience discrimination but the arguments in that article and your response are bogus to say the least."
Riaz Ali said:
"Anyone who says Hindus are not discriminated against and makes excuses like they live among people of lower income brackets unlike the whites - using that as an excuse for the disproportionate number of kidnappings are grasping at straws to discredit any arguments."
This comment is particularly dishonest as it first uses the sleight of the hand attack by addressing "Anyone" while it is juxtaposing two different points to make it appear that it is a direct response to something I wrote. In response to "Anyone who says Hindus are not discriminated against..." I already said: "There definitely is racial and cultural discrimination in Trinidad and Tobago ... This does not mean Indians do not experience discrimination but the arguments in that article and your response are bogus to say the least."
I have not seen the evidence that Africans are doing the bulk of the kidnappings. This is just what some Indians say without proving it. The bulk of the kidnappings are unsolved and I have not read reports where those who were kidnapped claimed that Africans kidnapped them. From among the people arrested for kidnapping (real and faked ones) there were both Indians and Africans involved. If there is a disproportionate amount of Africans involved in kidnappings (I have no evidence of this), that in itself does not prove that Africans are simply targeting Indians because of their race or because some Indians are Hindus.
My argument should be easy to follow. Some Indian spokesmen have always boasted that Indians are among the wealthiest in the country. And I would agree that there are more wealthy Indians than Africans. That simple fact can explain the disproportional amount of Indians who are kidnapped by both Indian and African criminals.
Another point that I did not mention earlier on was made by Dr. Kwame Nantambu in his article "Decoding kidnappings for ransom in TnT" published in 2004. I have heard the same points he made from several senior police officers.
Dr. Kwame Nantambu wrote:
"Within recent times, TnT has been engulfed in a wanton spate of kidnappings-for-ransom. Official statistics reveal that there were 49 kidnappings-for-ransom in 2003 against a backdrop of 223 murders.
Riaz Ali said:
While these figures maybe startling vis-a vis TnT's small population, it is vital at this crucial, scary juncture to decode the real, endemic root-cause of this violent phenomenon.
Truth be told: The origin of the avalanche of kidnappings-for-ransom in TnT is directly related to and correlated with, the death of (hit on) multi-millionaire, druglord Dole Chadee in 1999 and the mammoth outstanding IOUs that are now being called-in.
The fact that only wealthy business Indians are the targets/victims is no accident. On the contrary, it only confirms the true identity of the players involved in this violent IOU drama.
This debt/drug-consumed IOU drama has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with race. That's a smoke hearing, a detour sign.
The players in this drama are cashing in their chips; they just happen to be of Indian descent. The tentacles of Dole Chadee's drug octopus empire are now striking out at their known targets/debtors who owe them millions of dollars.
It is just that plain and simple."
"It's just the majority of people are too stupid and biased to see all sides of the argument. Reading the initial article, if I were an outsider, I would think Afro-trinis are the sole cause of problems for Hindus in T&T and then after reading the follow-up comments to this and the previous article on the subject, I would think Indians are the sole cause of all the problems of the Afro-Trinidadians."
You wrote that the intent of the initial report/article was to blame Africans for the problems of Hindus but then you went on to make a dishonest claim that the response to the initial diatribe paints the picture that, "Indians are the sole cause of all problems for the Afro-Trinidadians." I know for sure that Africans, generally speaking, do not make such claims and the responses to the initial article no way imply such. After realizing that the racist attack in the initial article was exposed you are now attempting to accuse Africans, and quite possibly even I, of doing the same as the Indians did in their dishonest report.
It is well-known that the bulk of protests for change in Trinidad and Tobago come from Africans who regularly and readily blame the PNM government for their ills. African spokespeople are always blaming the ills in their communities on Africans themselves. I would like to see the evidence that Africans appear to blame Indians for all their problems or as you stated, "...after reading the follow-up comments to this and the previous article on the subject, I would think Indians are the sole cause of all the problems of the Afro-Trinidadians." Where is the evidence for this?
It is only Indians spokespeople who regularly try to blame Africans for all their woes.
Remember the case where Indians who were trying to get into Canada were making the claim that they were under attack from Africans? The Canadian embassy sent them right back and found there was no validity to their claim.
Then there was the case of Hulsie Bhaggan who led a protest claiming that Africans were raping Indian women. When the rapes were solved it was discovered that it was Indian males with Rasta wigs who were raping Indian women. Hulsie Baghan has yet to apologize for that.
While some Indian spokespeople have continually attempted to blame Africans for all their problems, Africans have no history of blaming Indians for all their problems. You are making unsubstantiated claims.
Riaz Ali said:
"I may even think that it's alright to be racist against men and non-attractive women or if a group of people have money, then they don't deserve any more rights."
Unlike you, in my view it is not all right to be racist. Being racist means such people are always attempting to infringe on the rights of others.
Riaz Ali said:
"one more point...whoever said that the Indians received fertile agricultural lands is dead wrong. Chagaunas was a virtual swamp but the people raised the land there over the years. My great-uncle has land in the Caroni Swamp! I can't begin to tell you how much millions of dollars all the mangrove and mosquitoes has made my family over the last 3 generations."
I thought the issue of how most Indians were settled versus most Africans following Emancipation and Indian Indentureship was already understood, so I summarized. My response was not an attempt to give the entire history here.
As Bukka Rennie wrote:
"... colonial capital divided and ruled the population by confining Africans to salaried state employment; confining them to urban, landless existence, thereby increasing their dependency on and closeness to State power.
Here is another comment from Bukka Rennie:
On the other hand, Indians were bonded to sugar plantations and a rural existence, and, after indentureship, were allowed to develop independent economic means as peasant owners and tenants on small plots - though estranged from the citadels of political power."
"Indians, on the other hand, were left by colonial capital to their own independent devices. Ancient traditions intact, they cocooned themselves for survival in a hostile world which appeared to want to deprive them of all social amenities.
Honest research into what Bukka Rennie explained there would lead to a better understanding of race relations in Trinidad and Tobago.
Colonial capital encouraged them to accept land here after indentureship, rather than passage back to India, with the hope of keeping them somehow chained to the plantation system. No great exhortation was needed. Land reward at the end of indentureship was always the main attraction to Indians still fresh from a small peasant background in which land had both religious and economic significance.
This worked to some extent with the development of an independent cane-farming community, producing for the plantation factories. Indians, like Africans, placed great value on education of their offspring into independent professions.
By the time of Independence in 1962, their seeming disadvantage as a conservative, well-knit, family-based, rural small farming sector became their greatest asset. The society opened up economically and socially. They proved well-placed to gain from the expansion of all forms of commercial activity. A family unit could easily become a co-operative economic unit, especially if such a family is land-based, land being the initial basis of all wealth-generation and accumulation."
By Riaz Ali
Jul 17th, 2007 at 2:44 pm
I don't understand why you A. Hotep has to go into such detal to analyse my 3 paragraph comment. This is a demonstration of what is good for the goose ISN'T good for the gander.
A. Hotep's technique for arguement is to plainly say, "this isn't true." When in fact he is the one who states many falsehoods. e.g. "It is only Indians spokespeople who regularly try to blame Africans for all their woes" Correct me if I'm wrong (and I'm sure you will even if I am not) didn't recently Afrio-Trinidadian "spokespersons" claim discrimination in Mt. Hope admittance? Why didn't you complain then? I guess that must be a valid issue since the representitives form Barbados, Jamaica and Bahamas on the selection board must also be discriminating.
A. Hotep is so egar to defend himself, he doesn't realize the comment I made about it being ok to be racist against only men and unattractive women was sarcastic. It wasn't even aimed at him. Me thinks the lady protests too much.
Let's see if this get's published.
By A. Hotep
Jul 17th, 2007
Given that some Indian activists are going at length to cry persecution at the hands of Africans, I think it is fitting that I respond to some of their false claims. Why would you have a problem with me giving details to refute some of this racist propaganda?
Riaz Ali said:
"A. Hotep's technique for arguement is to plainly say, "this isn't true." When in fact he is the one who states many falsehoods. e.g. "It is only Indians spokespeople who regularly try to blame Africans for all their woes" Correct me if I'm wrong (and I'm sure you will even if I am not) didn't recently Afrio-Trinidadian "spokespersons" claim discrimination in Mt. Hope admittance? Why didn't you complain then? I guess that must be a valid issue since the representitives form Barbados, Jamaica and Bahamas on the selection board must also be discriminating."
Your insinuation in this paragraph is untrue. Where did Africans blame Indians for ALL their woes? Africans claiming that they experience racial discrimination by Indian professors and the Medical Fraternity at UWI (which is yet to be investigated) is definitely not blaming Indians for ALL their woes.
By Riaz Ali
Jul 17th, 2007 at 5:11 pm
thank you for again proving my point. (see first line of your last paragraph). You have now moved one step further and misinterpret what I write (even though you quote it). Go back and read the paragraph you quoted and tell me where I said Africans blame Indians for ALL their woes? I did say that in a previous post but again, the context may had eluded you as I said there that "if I were an outsider" it would look that way to me.
By A. Hotep
Jul 18th, 2007
Yesterday I corrected an error in my previous response. If you read my comment before the correction was made then that was my error. However, there is more on the table to engage than this exchange between you and I. I will wait to see what others have to say on this issue.
Jul 18th, 2007
It has been acknowledged that Indians in Trinidad and Tobago face some measure of discrimination, but the point that has emerged from this reasoning is that the claims of discrimination by some Indian spokespeople over the years are exaggerated to the point of dishonesty. With this dishonesty, history as it relates to the claims of discrimination are distorted or at best ignored.
I am in favour of all peoples learning and understanding the various historical and cultural realities of Trinidad, including addressing racism. However, I am distrustful of the motives of some Indian activists who while they yell discrimination, have not addressed their own strong anti-Black attitudes that are so deep in Brahminical Hinduism. As far as I am concerned it is these anti-African insecurities that are behind much of such claims of discrimination.
It is not enough to even acknowledge that both Africans and Indians face discrimination (which Indian spokespersons generally do not do) as the history needs to be analyzed and discussed as it relates to general experiences and contemporary social dynamics. Even in this process I find some does be too dishonest, as they consistently distort points that are being made.
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