Beware the wolves among the BLM movement

Letters to the Editor

Beware the wolves among the BLM movement

Thursday, July 02, 2020

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Dear Editor,

I don't think there is a single movement as important today as the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement.

Let us be clear, this struggle is not a new one, it goes back centuries, and the fact that the fight is still as relevant today as it was when the first 'Guineaman' set off from Africa for the New World is a damning indictment on us as a global society.

The struggles faced by people of colour are very real, and as we have seen in the United States, they are life-threatening.

But possibly more than any time in our history, the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement is underscored by the sheer number of people who have risen up since the death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police. What is equally important is the diversity of those standing together expressing their outrage.

It is very encouraging to see the powerful, young, black voices that have risen up to lead the movement for change; people like Madeliene and Spencer Smith, Midas Well, Nupol Kiazolu, Tatiana Washington, and Thandiwe Abdullah, just to name a few. Their struggle will determine what tomorrow looks like and build on the foundation laid down by heroes such as Martin Luther King Jr, Nelson Mandela, Rosa Parks, and Phillip Randolph.

As enthused and excited as I am by those genuinely leading the movement, I must advise caution, especially when I see other people using it for other less noble purposes. Wherever you have such an incredible struggle you also have oceans of passion, and, sadly, there are some who would use that passion to push their own agendas; stepping forward to 'cast the first stone', as it were.

This is more relevant as the Caribbean now finds itself joining the struggle. The Caribbean more than any other place in the world has had to lift itself out of the legacy of colonialism, and like nowhere else on the planet it is blessed with a diversity of colour, language, food, culture, customs, and religion. But unlike the struggle facing many people of colour in the United States, the Caribbean has a unique dynamic, where this demographic actually stands in the majority in nearly all of the islands. It means the Black Lives Matter movement takes on a different dimension here. It means the issues at hand have to be more clearly defined, are more intricate, and have to be more carefully dealt with. Sadly, it also creates a window for individuals/dissident groups to push their own agendas. This can only undermine a very important movement, and we must all be much more discerning when we see attacks being launched at people and institutions in society.

Many of us in the region identify with and can relate to the issues inherent in the Black Lives Matter movement. We want to be and are part of the struggle. We want to stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters hurting in America and the world over. But like the looters and fire starters in the US, let us be on guard against those who would abuse this hallowed movement and, as the peaceful protesters in the US helped to weed out the culprits, let us too not hesitate to admonish any perpetrators who, in the end, may cause more harm than good.

Angus Jones

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