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Jasper the Lionhearted

Emancipation Day showers pelting down and I’m criss-crossing St James, searching in vain as well as in rain, for doubles for my daughter. In a side street, in the middle of the road, in the rain, he sits, wet tail wound around his damp, straggly, reddish-brown fur.

He looks like a preemie fox. Standing on rear tiptoe, his front paws at full stretch would barely touch my knees. He turns a baleful eye towards me. Bounce me, nuh. Raindrops spattering my spectacles, I call out to him. He moves reluctantly to sit right outside the driver’s door. His big brown eyes lock with mine.“It looks like he’s saying, “Take me with you”,” I say to my son, who arches a doubtful eyebrow. “More like, “End it all, please”.”

He doesn’t look cared for – looks like his owner couldn’t possibly care less, actually – but a small crossbreed, didn’t arrive here as a stray; and my wife has already dog-napped someone’s pet in Barbados, thinking she was “rescuing” him.

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Emancipation precipitation

SITTING at my desk on Wednesday, trying to avoid the irony of having to work on Emancipation Day, instead of setting fingers to keyboard, I turn eyes to window and watch the water lash the pane. It always rains on the Emancipation parade; you could almost set your watch by the banner at the head of the march reaching the National Museum and the black clouds opening up over the black people. Water lashing the pane and the Africans; well, better water than a whip.

What a place we come from, our history; what a dismal way to start anything. These little rocks we try to persuade ourselves are countries began with the bulk of the people in the place actually enslaved; and that was after the bulk of the people who were here before anybody else were methodically snuffed out, like fleas on a stray dog before you let it into your home.

How can anything that begins like that end well?

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​Pride in July 27th

IT WAS 28 years ago today, Abu Bakr taught the bandits to play, as the Beatles might have sung, if they’d come from Laventille and not Liverpool; and the song would not have been “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” but “Abu Bakr’s Lonely Boys Gun Banditry”.

Yes, 28 years ago today, measured both by calendar date and from Friday-to-Friday, after their midday prayers, 115 men apparently divinely-guided men left the Jamaat-al-Muslimeen compound at 1 Mucurapo Road – both literally and figuratively the opposite end of the road from today’s One Woodbrook Place – to begin their violent, six-day, bloody attempt to establish, by force of arms (if only WWII rifles), the Western hemisphere’s first Islamic state.

If it seems like a mouthful now, they certainly bit off more than they could chew, then.

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