edited by Hubert Taylor
In October 2005 amidst some days of social turmoil in my home district in the UK, a frustrated young man turned to me and said angrily, words I will long remember,
"Your generation has left us nothing; no respect, no pride in our heritage, then you complain when we stand-up and fight for our dignity.".
I was unable to disagree with him then and after further thought I concluded that he was and is, perfectly correct. I have not met the young man since though I keep a watch for him. When (hopefully) I do meet him again I will offer my hand to him in appreciation of his instructive frankness — a moment of truth.
Thank you my 'Son', wheresoever you may be today.
Basis of the young man's lament
The young man and I were both African (race) and share common heritage of being of descended of West Africans who were removed to European Slave holocaust colonies in the West Indies — in barbarous fashion and bound as cargo to be used and abused as mere chattel.
The youthful lament says to me" as a people perhaps we have failed to spring new roots of our own and instead remained submissively bound and grafted as 'surrogate (pseudo) Europeans'.
Surely over four centuries of shedding blood, sweat and tears in the material building of the kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, should have produced great heritage for African peoples of the kingdom? A heritage encompassing high and noble social, political and economic standing; a heritage worthy of a people said to have risen from the cradle of human civilisation.
Had the young man raised a valid point?
It seemed to me that the answer was and is, unquestionably yes and many heads should for a moment at least, hang with shame, remembering —
'Where there is no shame, there is no honour.'
And thus what?
Subsequently — eighteen months later — I did meet again, the young man of my experience. I found that he was a soldier in the British Army and had, in the interim, been on military duty in Afghanistan. My young man had thus, perhaps been fighting and killing people in their own countries, on the part of a society in which he finds for himself,
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