Hello everyone. On Friday, December 13, 2013, my older brother Chris was brutally attacked at work. He works for a tourist hotel in Port Maria, Jamaica, his country of birth and where he lives now. He barely escaped with his life.
[trigger warning: graphic violence]
Four armed men entered the hotel where he works. Employees ran out screaming, fearing for their lives. One of the men had a gun. One of the men had a machete. The other two were ready to fight. Fear filled the air. My brother handles information technology for the hotel. He was in his office working peacefully that day. All of a sudden, the men busted in. While the hotel has security at night, there is none during the day which impacted everyone’s safety. The men may have known this. They came for computers and anything of value. They jumped on my brother. Four men versus one man. His life was on the line. He could not run away but had to fight his way out of there. He did. He wanted to live. He managed to get the gun away from the most dangerous of the four men (which is amazing to me that he lived; so thankful). While he wrestled and fought two men on the ground as one gathered the goods, the other used the machete and chopped his hands, fingers, and head.
He managed to escape. Body hurt. Bleeding. Pain. He got a taxi and went to hospital. The area near the hotel is desolate so he couldn’t walk to one. His hands and head are severely damaged. He needs extensive hand surgery by extremely skilled people. He has ligament, tendon, nerve and bone damage. His thumb had to be re-attached. He has a massive scar on his head as well. He’s dealing with severe inflammation and we are worried about staph infection and gangrene.
Why I created this campaign is that he is not insured and my family cannot cover all of the costs needed to not only take care of his surgery (which we need to happen immediately), but also for him to survive on. He’s a man who cannot work anymore because he can no longer use his hands for now. He has a long road of surgery and recovery ahead of him.
We need the money for the surgery IMMEDIATELY. We need consistent funds for him to be able to survive as he goes through therapy for a while, as well.
We need your help, love and support. Please [DONATE] and SIGNAL BOOST this if you cannot afford to donate. No amount is too small.
Inconvenient figures have been whitewashed from the coverage of Nelson Mandela’s death.
The photo pull-out sections show the South African leader with Bill Clinton, with Princess Diana and Naomi Campbell and the Spice Girls. But his close friendship with Fidel Castro and the two men’s habit of calling each other ‘brother’ is written out of history.
At his memorial service today, the presence of figures like Cuban leader (and Fidel’s brother) Raul Castro is treated as an example of Mandela’s ability to straddle political and ideological divides. After all, something has to explain the presence of these evil figures at a service for a saint.
But Castro is not being given pride of place as a sign of Mandela’s ability to straddle divides. He is given pride of place because black South Africans, unlike Brits or Americans, recognise Cuba’s proud role in the end of apartheid.
While Britain was supplying arms and military equipment to the apartheid regime, Cuba was sending its men to fight it, securing key military victories and crippling its room for manoeuvre.
For decades, Cuba supported the armed struggle liberation movements in South Africa, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Angola and Mozambique. In 1961, when Che Guevara attended a summit in Geneva as industry minister, he attacked “the inhuman and fascist policy of apartheid” and demanded the expulsion of South Africa from the UN, all decades before Britain could bring itself to challenge the racist government.
The climax of the decades-long campaign came when Cuba supported liberation forces in Angola against South African interference. In the 1988 battle of Cuito Cuanvale, a victory celebrated across southern Africa, South African soldiers were defeated a volunteer Cuban army , dragging PW Botha and FW de Klerk to the negotiating table.
Mandela described Cuba as “our friend”, a country which “helped us train our people, who gave us resources that helped us so much in our struggle”. He added: “The defeat of the racist army at Cuito Cuanavale has made it possible for me to be here today. What other country can point to a record of greater selflessness than Cuba has displayed in its relations with Africa? For the Cuban people internationalism is not merely a word but something that we have seen practiced to the benefit of large sections of humankind.”
When challenged on his friendship with Castro by Clinton, Mandela replied: “We should not abandon those who helped us in the darkest hour in the history of this country.”
What does it mean? Does it mean that the gay people and political campaigners imprisoned in Cuban jails are any more free? No. Does it make it any less sickening that the Cuban regime treats freedom of speech as an aberration against single party rule? No. Does it protect Cubans from impoverishment in the name of dogma? It does not.
But it speaks to a far more complex and nuance reality than that tolerated by the mainstream media.
While Margaret Thatcher was branding Mandela a terrorist and selling arms to the apartheid regime, Communist Cuba took up arms against it. While Britain was strutting the world stage, throwing around high-minded accusations about human rights, Cuban volunteers were dying in Angola fighting the racist regime.
For all the endless hours of coverage about Mandela in the last few days, a typical reader would have no idea about the role Cuba played in the overthrow of apartheid. The media refuses to look at history independently. It is still guided by government-mandated assessments of good guys and bad guys. Cuba are bad guys, so they could not possibly have done anything good.
The public are fed a sanitised and self-serving view of history. It’s small wonder Britain’s moral posturing on the world stage contrasts so disappointingly with its moral failures.
Another unknown fact was Jamaica’s participation, though indirect. At the time Prime Minister Michael Manley sent aid to Cuba to help in their training and support for Mandela. Jamaica was a growing economy around that period, newly independent from Britain but with a sense of purpose and pride. When the American President and British Prime Minister heard about this they threaten the Jamaican government. The government did not heed the warnings, therefore suffered tremendously and until this day 2013, we have not recovered. The mass migration from teachers to doctors, stunted the growth and progress of a nation that had a bright future in front of them, all due to two world leaders who penalized this small country by referring to us as becoming too “socialize” through association with Cuba.
I had no idea that Jamaica played a role (no matter how small) in the fight to end apartheid. It is not taught in schools and is not mention in our texts-books. Thanks to a radio talk show programme earlier in the week this information was made public. Now I understand the significance of a major road way here in Jamaica known as Mandela Highway.
Indeed, we nod in recognition when you say "Wi likkle but wi tallawah" for where would the Pan-Africanist movement be without the input of Marcus Garvey? The other day I came across this rather interesting article.
JAMAICA’S pioneering role in the fight to dismantle the evil regime of apartheid was highlighted during a memorial service in tribute to Nelson Mandela at the University Chapel in Kingston, yesterday.
Jamaica was the first country in the western hemisphere and second in the world to India which officially banned trade and travel with the fascist apartheid Government which practised a brutal form of racism in South Africa.
During the reading of the eulogy, South African High Commissioner to Jamaica Mathu Joyini conveyed a message of gratitude from the South African people to Jamaica.
"My Government has asked that I convey the gratitude to the Government and people of Jamaica for the support, solidarity and bond of friendship between the two countries. Jamaica played a significant role in the dismantling of apartheid, not only in South Africa but in the region. It is that solidarity which has carried South Africa through some difficult times," Joyini said.
In his historical overview, Professor Rupert Lewis said Jamaica’s involvement in the fight against the racist regime begun decades before National Hero and former Premier Norman Manley officially banned trade and travel with South Africa in 1956 when Jamaica was still a colony of Britain.
Lewis said Jamaica’s contribution began in 1901 when Pan-African committees were set up in various parishes by Robert Lowe and began to hit out against the trials of the South African people and educated Jamaicans about the Boer war.
National Hero Marcus Garvey, he said, was also active in the fight against apartheid in the 1920s. “Garvey hosted mass meetings in the United States. He was an inspiration to many South Africans,” he said.
Lewis added that it was in the 1970s that the country’s solidarity with the African National Congress took on steam due to the rise of Rastafari, the black power movement, while radical students bolstered by the activism of South African- born journalist Peter Abrahams also helped to shed light on the plight of the black South Africans.
Former Prime Ministers Hugh Shearer and Edward Seaga were also very vocal about the horrors of the system at the United Nations, Lewis said.
He also pointed to former Prime Minister Michael Manley, who was supported by the late Dudley Thompson, who drew the ire of then American Secretary of State Henry Kissinger for his refusal to condemn Angola’s independence which was won in January 1975 when the Portuguese Government, the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola, the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola, and the National Liberation Front of Angola signed the Alvor Agreement.
The rebels were assisted by Cuban troops, whose planes were allowed to refuel in Jamaica.
Jamaica was also instrumental in getting a sporting ban on South Africa.
"Jamaica has on all occasions expressed its opposition to apartheid," Lewis said.
In his tribute, former Prime Minister PJ Patterson hailed Mandela’s indomitable courage, saying his memory will live throughout the ages.
"It was Nelson Mandela, from behind the prison bars, that solidified the struggle. We who were privileged to work with him at close range detected a disarming humility," he said, "There is still much work to be done not only in South Africa and all Africa but globally to achieve his goal."
The contribution of Jamaica’s artistes, especially Peter Tosh and Bob Marley, in highlighting the evil system to the world could not be overshadowed and played an important role in dismantling apartheid which ended when Mandela was elected president in May 1994, said Patterson.
Sit’enkosi! (We thank you!)
Sibanye! (We are one)
Jamaica and Cuba suffered standing up in solidarity with Mandela and South Africa. Suffered. I hear you. The West used the IMF and the World Bank to destroy the economy of countries that were
I hear you. The West used the IMF and the World Bank to destroy the economies of any country that dared to march to a different drumbeat. Any country that dared show solidarity to the South African Liberation Movement was destabilised through economic manipulation no country was spared from the Frontline states (Zambia, Tanzania, Mozambique, Angola) to Cuba and Jamaica . The West Indies has produced many champions of the Pan African movement from Marcus Garvey, to George Padmore to Stokely Carmichael. The support is not unnoticed, those in the nous have nothing but respect for Jamaica none more so that my partner’s brother who even married a girl from there, sadly she is late, but their child is a reminder, proof of the bridge that exists between the motherland and the diaspora. And to this day he speaks highly of the unique spirit of the Jamaican people, great visionaries he says; brilliant thinkers and artists, the writers, the poets, the musicians, the freedom fighters and of course the athletes.