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Caribbean: What does the word before the colon mean?

“What does “Caribbean” mean? What a vast weight of confusion & possibility & debate those four little syllables have to bear,” says Nicholas Laughlin in a thoughtful post inspired by a long-gone writing deadline, by the debates around the restructuring of the Global Voices “Americas” region, and by Taran Rampersad's mention of what Nicholas terms “the phenomenon that some call brain drain & others call the diaspora.”

6 comments

  • […] Caribbean-born sci-fi writer Tobias Buckell links to Cheryl Morgan who links to British sci-fi writer Neil Gaiman who picks up on the stunt pulled recently by the Sunday Times’ which involved submitting a slightly altered version of the opening chapter of Trinidad-born Nobel Prize-winning novelist V. S. Naipaul’s Booker Prize-winning novel “In A Free State” (which was published back in 1971) to 20 agents and publishers. The book was rejected by all. The Caribbean Beat Blog puts in its two cents’ as well. […]

  • Yeah, I remember broaching this topic with David through this post – http://www.knowprose.com/node/3042 – and there’s a big issue along these lines on a global level. It’s good to see this coming up as a recurring theme; we all live on the same planet and I would dare say that nobody alive now has actively defined the political, economic and legal borders which we are increasingly not-so-neatly contained within.

    Global Voices, oddly enough, is trying to integrate through recognizing the segregation and may be inadvertently reinforcing it. Maybe instead of focusing on regions, there should be a focus on what connects the regions.

  • Taran,

    This is an interesting suggestion. Could you be more specific about how we can focus “on what connects the regions” rather than “focusing on regions”?

  • OK… the best way I can explain it is by examples.

    Pacific Islands and Caribbean Islands have similar sizes of populations and similar land masses… they are islands. This is something that Bruce Potter (Island Resources) has been trying to get across… thus economy and infrastructure issues are similar.

    Then there’s economic staples – like oil. The Middle East, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuala, Nigeria…

    Then there’s the World Cup, racism at soccer games, et al…

    I’m not saying that there should be an ‘island blog’ or an ‘oil blog’ – far from it – but what I’m saying is that the common issues being discussed should come out on the front page more often. As a reader, the front page isn’t ‘sticky’. When I take the time to read everything on the front page, and delve into some articles, I see a lot of commonalities in the data from around the world which actually connects a lot of the world. I think right now Global Voices has established that it can find the dots – now they need to be connected…. Think of a topographical map… Global voices has drawn it. Now the dots need to be connected, and suddenly you have some really interesting posts.

    Consider… if the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago in Israel buying things to combat crime – isn’t that a connector between Israel and Trinidad? Do the Israeli bloggers know about it, what do they think? When Chavez struck a deal with the Chinese to start a computer manufacturing plant, I didn’t hear anything from the Venezualans or the Chinese – but these things affect them, and others. DigitalDivide.net comes close to this in the context of ICT… but I think Global Voices could do it at a meta level.

    Find the butterflies, start them flapping their wings, and see what happens in other parts of the world. Connect the dots. Make the world smaller – again. :-) That’s a tall order, but I think it could be done.

  • Tacking this on because it fits:
    ————————————————
    The moment is arising when you also must find a basis of unity which is not political …. There is only one history — the history of Man. All national histories are chapters in the larger one.

    — Rabindranath Tagore

  • Thanks for the feedback Taran. One of our biggest priorities right now is coming up with non-country specific categories, which will hopefully tie ideas and topics together across borders. We’re also hoping to get some topical contributors to write about things like food and music in a global context.

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