Has Anancy really affected us?
I write concerning the letter, "Tear down the spirit of 'Anancyism'" by Dionne Dennis, published on July 24, 2012. First, I would like to present this quote by John Henrik Clarke. "They laughed at your clothes and made you change your clothes; they laughed at your names and made you change your names, but most important they laughed at your God, and made you change your God."
Miss Dennis ends her letter by juxtaposing Anancy and the Christian God, "Tear down this prince of demons over Jamaica called 'Anancyism'... reduce this demonic spirit back to the story books of African folklore and rid ourselves of its deadly poison and webs... use your God-given authority to take back Jamaica for God. As a descendant of Africa, I am hurt to hear this inverted racism, schizophrenic disdain for ourselves, our history and ancestry continues.
I would like to know how Anancy has so adversely affected this nation. The most churches per square mile cannot abate the tide of crime, decadence and moral corruption. The Bible says, Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything (Colossians 3:22) ; Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, (Ephesians 6:5); "You Ethiopians will also be slaughtered by my sword,"(Zephaniah 2:12-15).
Might I also quote Sizzla Kalonji who said..."I have no white god, don't teach me anything wrong, could a white god save us from white oppression?"
I wish only to speak the truth. I hope no Christian is offended. As Africans, we come from a race of people and a land older than the Bible can account for. The Bible documents 6000 years of Jewish mytho-history, while academics like Ivan Van Sertima have shown extensively that black civilisation was already advanced 13,000 years ago, with people like the Olmecs. So how can I as a descendant of a race of people who mastered earth long before Jesus or the notion of Judaism or even Christianity, submit to a weaker legacy, to children and ideas that in terms of history came yesterday?
Ms Dennis insists on associating Anancy with ginnalship or deceit and conmanship. Are Jamaicans aware that Anancy and the spider are linked throughout legend with women, weaving and the metaphorical web, tapestry or fabric of life? The spider was associated with joy, pleasure, good fortune and happiness in many ancient cultures.The spider has symbolised patience due to its hunting technique of setting webs and waiting for prey. They have been attributed by numerous cultures with the origin of basket-weaving, knotwork, weaving, spinning and net making. Webspinning also led to the association of the spider with creation myths as they seem to have the ability to excrete their own artistic worlds.
So what has Anancy really done to us? And did the Christian God save us from slavery as we were given the Bible as our lands in Africa were taken, as we were whipped and chained? And I wonder, was it Anancy's imagination, spirit and inspiration that led us to out-think and outmanoeuvre our slave masters, and the Christian colonial British soldiers armed with muskets in hand and Bible in pocket, and God on their side?
Yannick Nesta Pessoa