On Friday Maya and I attended the ending of the Caribbean Studies Association (CSA) Conference. We walked into the middle of the closing plenary: the Grenada Revolution in Retrospect: Lessons for the Contemporary Caribbean. I began scribbling notes the moment we sat down, swept away by talk of revolution in general, and then more specifically within a Caribbean and Grenada context. I was immediately carried away by the intriguing voice of one of the panelists who spoke about revolution being a necessary part of our past, present and future. Without revolution how else would slavery have been toppled, colonialism dismantled, he expressed.
Revolution is a process, a universal construct and yet a word that carries such heavy and uplifting implications depending on who is defining, how it is being defined and within which context. The danger of a single story continued to be underlined heavily across my page as the panelists and audience shared their views. I beleive the majority of us attending the session would agree the stories shared that afternoon were critical stories to learn and unlearn from. I walked away from this forum with questions such as: Why aren’t these stories an important and critical part of our children and youth’s education? Why has there been to a large extent national amnesia around Grenada’s revolution? Why is there a need to escape this part of history when there are so many teachings, so many lessons to incorporate into ways of moving forward on a community, national and regional level? Why must we throw away history because we choose to focus on single stories of Grenada’s revolution and furthermore who dictates what stories we settle on or for?
After inhaling the other educational and empowering forums during the afternoon Maya and I jumped on the bus to head home. While traveling through and over the Grand Etang we were hit with the popular soca music of today. After being part of powerful conversations and revolutionary ‘aha’ moments I literally felt hit in the head by the lyrics busting out of the bus; lyrics like “Massage the pum”, and “Kick in she back door”, and “How she like it? Real hard” and “I going home with she tonight” and “Drink drink drink..” My mind went to the revolutionary music during the late 60’s and 70’s and into the 80’s; music inspired by upheaval and change; music with political, social, racial, spiritual implications; the rise of reggae music and soca with political social messages. I couldn’t help think of the state of music given play time in Grenada today, music drowning any thoughts of revolution, of transformation, of critical consciousness; music that dehumanizes, trivializes, sexualizes, oppresses the human race. What happened to the political, spiritual, emotional, class conscious music of the past? And why aren’t people questioning the shit that is hitting and dominating the airlines today? Why are we dancing to it, celebrating it, defending it in the name of freedom of speech, and whose speech, whose freedom? The words of one of the panelists struck me at that moment, “We must not contribute to our own stifling, our own dehumanization, our own deliverance back to the plantation”.
Feeling down and out after the bus ride Maya and I walked up the old cocoa road on our last leg home when a jeep full of Caribbean womyn stopped alongside; beautiful warrior rainbow womyn journeying through the country side after spending a week at the conference. They were heading to our house to drop the movie projector I lent them for the launching of the 7th edition of ARC magazine. They were squished happily into the jeep vibsing on African music and high from the week spent together. Revolutionary hope was restored as Maya and I piled into the jeep and inhaled the power within that vehicle, the power to affect change, the power to revolutionize and transform, the power to ignite critical hope!!