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Guadeloupe, Martinique, Gaza: Overseas Solidarity

The word goes that because of insularity, West Indians are not very much concerned with what is going on abroad and probably even less when it is not about Europe or the USA. However, the recent news coming from Gaza and the Middle East have had an impact on one Guadeloupe-based blogger: D. Zandwonis from CaribCreoleOne, recalls the historical and steady immigration of Syrians and Lebanese people in the West Indies [Fr]:

Et pourtant, chacun ici connaît un « syrien », même si en réalité, nos « syriens » sont souvent des libanais, parfois des palestiniens. Depuis des décennies, ces « syriens » se sont installés en Guadeloupe, en Martinique, à Trinidad ou en Dominique, ils se sont très vite intégrés à nos pays au point d’en partager les « mœurs et coutumes ». La Guadeloupe, il est bon de le rappeler de temps à autre, est une mosaïque ethnique

However, everyone here knows about “Syrians”, even though, actually our “Syrians” are often Lebanese and sometimes Palestinians. For decades, these “Syrians” have settled in Guadeloupe, Martinique, Trinidad or in Dominica, and have integrated our societies quickly enough to share our everyday traditions. Indeed, it is sometimes necessary to remember that Guadeloupe is an ethnic patchwork.”

Though he understands the different stakes in this very complex conflict, he really insists on the empathy felt by West Indians from the Middle East for their brothers who are still in Gaza:

Comment croire que les enfants de Gaza, ou leurs cousins de Pointe-à-Pitre, Fort-de-France ou Port of Spain, qui voient ainsi tomber les uns après les autres leurs frères et sœurs, aient dans le cœur autre chose que de l’amertume ?

Who can think that the children from Gaza or their cousins in Pointe-à-Pitre, Fort-de-France or Port of Spain, who see so many of their brothers and sisters dying one after the other, can feel anything else but bitterness?

Later, he informs his readers about two Martinican associations: PKLS (Creole for Communist Party for Independence and Socialism) and Comité de Solidarité Martinique Palestine (the Martinique-Palestine Solidarity Association), which have both denounced the December 27th attack and launched the idea of a big protest march scheduled for Saturday, January 3rd 2009, in Fort-de-France. A comment to Zandwonis's post from Comité de Solidarité Martinique Palestine explains the goal of the association [Fr]:

C'est le “Comité de Solidarité Martinique-Palestine”, qui oeuvre depuis bientôt 10 ans pour faire connaître la tragédie du peuple-frère de Palestine aux Martiniquais…

It is the “Comité de Solidarité Martinique-Palestine” which has been at work for 10 years to inform Martinican people about the tragedy of our brothers in Palestine…

This call to action from the two associations has triggered a reaction from famous Martinican writer Raphaël Confiant entitled “Israel Massacre 300 Palestiniens en 2 Jours” (“Israel slaughters 300 Palestinians in 2 days”).

By the end of his post, Zandwonis sheds light on another aspect of the conflict, which he deems very important for West Indians – Obama's reaction to the attacks.

Obama est silencieux, sans doute embarrassé. Il attendra le 20 janvier pour « dire » quelque chose.

Obama has been silent and probably very embarassed. He must be waiting for January 20th to “say” something.

On Dec. 28th, Bondamanjak from Martinique posted Massacre in Gaza (Slaughter in Gaza), a post condemning the atrocities committed by Israel and illustrated with a black, white, red and green (colors of the Palestinian flag) picture of Pro-Palestine demonstrators.

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