A Caribbean Inspired Rant

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As my heart alternately breaks and inflames with rage, I find myself anxiously begging our representatives to hurry to rescue the US citizens of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. To do what all we can for the VICTIMS of ravaging storms, in and around the Caribbean. This is what my heart is screaming.

But then my knowledge of history and the current political climate and economic priorities kicks in and I know that the point is not to “save” Puerto Rico, it’s to let as many die or give up as possible. The point is for the capitalist vultures to finish what they’ve been doing: wresting complete control over the land and all resources, including the remaining workforce. The point is to let 45’s friends and their ilk denigrate the people for being poor after taking away their ability to thrive at home. For a man who declared bankruptcy multiple times to dare to disparage victims of colonialism and hurricanes while allowing, no, encouraging his disaster capitalist buddies to steal all they can.
The pattern can also be seen in the current attempts to disenfranchise the stricken people of Barbuda by the government of Antigua, whose members have vested interests in development that will do little to profit the people of Barbuda, but will certainly take away their inherited rights to the land they hold in trust.
If these uber/hyper capitalists have their way, you won’t be able to subsist on your own land, grow your own food, use solar, fish, or pluck an avocado from a tree. Remember the 2020 Plan to eliminate agriculture in Puerto Rico? Then also remember that, as a Barbudan elder often said to me, “A people who cannot feed themselves are bound to become slaves.”
Look around the US as unions are decimated, water is polluted and your rights to it are handed over to those who pollute and sell it back to you. Look at the outlawing of your right to collect rainwater or go off grid in states like Florida. Look at the destruction of a once internationally envied, free education system. Look at the ways in which you’re stimulated to buy what you don’t need but are dissuaded from being active participants in your own governance. Look at the millions who are a paycheck away from devastating medical debt, the millions of Americans imprisoned, often because they can’t afford bail or good representation.
Look around and know that you are all being colonized and enslaved. You are Puerto Rico on a three second delay. Wake Up and ACT.

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Barbuda 2010. “The Light.”

This is a photo I took in Barbuda in 2010. I was trying to capture “The Light” that many believe to be the spirit of the island. It is my most heartfelt and sincere hope that The Light will restore the Caribbean and return the land to the true people.

Daughters: It don’t have to be true to be real.

MomMozella Hatwood 12/31/06

I have just figured it out: for all women raised by southern women-Black, White, Native- it doesn’t matter- there’s a common denominator, a way of dealing and not dealing with stress that seems to be passed on from generation to generation. The thread of a very particular insanity flows through us although I’m unsure as to whether or not it’s in the blood, the bone, or the brain.

We seem all, in some way that’s not always obvious, to be playing to a “theme.” Yes, any good shrink will tell you that all humans are playing out certain archetypes and that the archetype has a story or stories and that in the course of our lives, we might play out several such stories, but there’s generally an overriding “type”that fits. Yet the southern version is a bit different. It’s more immediate and both less and more mysterious than the eternal struggle between the ego and the id. We write books and plays, choreograph and perform dances, skits, and dramas, on and off the stage. We sing, we decorate, we fashion our lives to support the theme we’ve been given and we pay homage, more consciously than most, to ancestors we may or may not venerate.

We “daughters of the dust” know better, and yet we still believe. That’s the essential difference and I cannot account for it other than to say that we’re taught by mothers-mouth to ear- who themselves excelled to varying degrees, in creatively draping the windows to suit the motifs  of their own lives. We are the best of good girls and we bring being bad to high art. We seem more often than not, to know who our audience is (the family, of course) and we seem to accept the boundaries on some level even when we dance on stages ten thousand miles away. We will dazzle and thrill you, charm the whiskers off a cat, go all “Bette Davis ” on you if need be, invoke the wrath in a glance, and we do all that we do wrapped in a cloak not of invincibility, but of right(eous)ness. We may be crippled and crazy and we may have made a complete mess of our lives and the lives of those around us, but in our hearts, we know that we do know what’s right and the proper order of things, and that if we can only “get ourselves straight/harness our resources/muster our strengths/ rest awhile/gather our wits/regroup/have a lie down/ a cup of tea-coffee-pick-me-up or just a finger of Jim Beam or a drop of whiskey or rye or a glass of sherry, nice ripe wine, grandmother’s ‘medicine’, a simple ‘cokecola’, or ‘that nice chamomile/peppermint/sassafras tea’, then We-the true women among women- can still somehow make it all work out!

I no longer care to delude myself that this is not true. It’s what we believe and it was passed onto us in some mysterious way, from our adored and benighted mothers, no matter what our relationship to them might be. There is great humor in this, often intended, frequently unamusing, and certainly not jokey.  I’m not sure how this works and why it’s different than the relationship that all other daughters have with their own crazy mothers, I just know that it is, and maybe that’s the only real point. My upbringing tells me so it must be true. Hah.