Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Leon-Gontran Damas

“Women stand; always standing” (Feb. 21, 2010)

“Our women are standing up in holds, in cabins, in kitchen, on the bridge, facing the wind, the sun, and standing in the blood: Always standing but free. Life is not a spectacle.  A suffering shouting man is not a bear dancing.  My “negritude” is not a stone, a tower, or a cathedral: It plunges in the red flesh of soil.  We did not invent or explore the moon but earth would not be earth without us.  ”

Aime Cesaire (1913-2008) was born in the French Martinique Island.  Brilliant student, he received a grant to attend the university of Louis-le-Grand in Paris in 1931.  Aime met the future and late President of Senegal Sedar Senghor in this school.

Black Paris” of the 30’s was an opportunity and an eye opener to black transcontinental.  He befriended Leon-Gontran Damas and founded in 1934 “The Black Student”, encouraging black students to revise the effects of white dominated culture on the “Negritude” or Negro culture.  His “Notebook of a return to mother land” was the work of a life time and propelled Cesaire into politics.

Cesaire wrote:

“Europe in the last 3 centuries was very lucky in one aspect: It became the crossroad for all kinds of philosophies, cultures, ideas, feelings, and the distributor of human energy.  The question remains: has colonization actually got divergent cultures in contact? I think not.

Not a single human value was a success among all the colonial procedures and elaborates plans. The colonizer ended up a degraded man; he got in touch with his base deepest vile emotions and instincts.

The colonizer resurfaced his racial hatred, endemic violence, and picked and chose moral values that suited the vanquisher.

Two sets of values were adopted relative to rape, violence, human dignity, and human rights:  one set befitting the European and another applicable and accepted for the colonized people.

Europe wallows in statistics of infrastructure achievements. I am interested in the human dimensions. It is in the sacrifices in health, safety, and miseries of the colonized that did the infrastructure work to facilitate trade and commerce for the colonizers.

I am interested in the millions who learned to fear, to feel helpless, to kneel down, and to developing inferiority complexes. I am interested in how tribalism was deepened and expanded to accelerate the divide and rule strategies.

It is such a shame that only finance and mass industrialization prompted Europeans to come in contact with Africa. Colonizing Europe replaced archaic injustices with modern abuses; it confused old inequalities with the odious racism. Colonization has definitely de-civilized the colonizer.




January 2023

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