Caribbean: On Freedom

Yesterday, August 1, marked the 172nd commemoration of Emancipation Day in many English-speaking Caribbean territories, when African slaves were freed from their British colonists. Today is a public holiday in many countries throughout the region and a few bloggers are taking the opportunity to reflect on what the occasion means to these developing islands, while asking the question: “How close are we in the Caribbean to truly being ‘free'?”

Jamaican diaspora blogger Geoffrey Philp offers a quick history of Emancipation, noting that:

In many Caribbean countries the Emancipation Day celebration is a part of Carnival, as the Caribbean Carnival takes place at this time.

Trinidad and Tobago News Blog , meanwhile, republishes the Prime Minister's Emancipation Day message and covers the local celebrations via a comprehensive list of related mainstream media stories.

From the Bahamas, Rick Lowe says:

It is a day worthy of a public holiday.

He goes on to provide links “of interest on the subject of slavery and the resolve of a few people to see that despicable policy come to an end.”

Fellow Bahamian Womanish Words, in one of the most thoughtful posts about the occasion, ruminates on the meaning of the day and the stark reality of modern day slavery:

This holiday weekend we celebrate the end of slavery, remember those who did not survive, and those that did, because they are our sacred ancestors. We pause to consider the many huge and small freedoms we enjoy today and raise our glasses and voices to them with gratitude.

And if we are brave, today we will think and speak of the people in the world who are still not free, maybe speak out for them, because they are us, and none of us are really free until all are free. I’m thinking about the estimated two million human beings, most of them women and girls, who will be trafficked around the world this year. Some say it will be as many as four million…the struggle isn't over for so many women and girls of our generation. If we are free enough to celebrate today, sisters, lets do it in the name of those of us who are not.

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