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Maharaj: Emancipation represents victory over oppression

Trinidad Express / As the nation celebrates Emancipation Day, President General of the All Trinidad General Workers Trade Union and Political Leader of The National Solidarity Assembly, Nirvan Maharaj, has extended greetings to the nation on the celebrations.

The following is the release sent from the organisations:

“President General of the All Trinidad General Workers Trade Union and Political Leader of The National Solidarity Assembly, Nirvan Maharaj, wishes to extend on behalf of both organisations, his warmest greetings and sincerest congratulations to our Afro Trinbagonian Brothers and Sisters and by extension the wider Nation as a whole, as we celebrate Emancipation day, 2017.

“August 1st 1838 represented the beginning of a new dawn in the lives of thousands of people of African Descent. A people freed from a system of slavery, designed to rip from them every shred of cultural, philosophical, economic, social and political identity.

“Though the enslaved were freed on paper and Emancipation was legislated by Parliament, a piece of paper could not change overnight a way of life, the thought patterns of different groups in the society and economic, social and political structures, based on the perception of the superiority of one race over the another, that had been the foundation of the islands for hundreds of years.

“Simply put, a piece of legislation could not immediately modify custom or how people thought of each other, or as if by magic, end discrimination, exploitation, oppression or feelings of inferiority and superiority.

“Thus we pay recognition to the efforts of the formerly enslaved persons of African Descent who had to carve a life from a society based on systems calculated to always keep them at the lowest rung of the societal ladder. Theirs is a story of victory, in the face of overwhelming disadvantages, as in time, they moved from chattel slaves to doctors and lawyers, teachers, farmers, businessmen, politicians and leaders of societies to which they first came as property.

The All Trinidad Union and The National Solidarity Assembly, pay special tribute, homage and respect to our Brothers and Sisters of African descent who resisted slavery both actively and passively and those who though fettered by the physical bonds of whips and chains, of beatings, abuse, misery and pain, were still able to hold on to and maintain their ancestral linkages.

“Today we join the rest of the Nation in celebrating Emancipation Day and the contributions of our Brothers and Sisters of African Descent, who rose above adversity to become an integral part of the Society of Trinidad and Tobago, a Nation based on the foundation of Unity in diversity.”

 

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