Betrayal is the  cancer that destroys national liberation
Round Table with Oscar
June 23, 2017

Betrayal is the cancer that destroys national liberation

The Portuguese dictator Caetano was a vicious ruler, both in Portugal and even more so in the African countries which were colonies of Portugal. In Guinea Bissao and the Cape Verde islands, Amilcar Cabral and the African Independence Party stood up and took on the struggle to free their people from the tyranny in a political and territorial struggle for about 15 years. They won. It is a truly remarkable observation that although he faced such a criminal opponent, Cabral declared stoutly “No matter what the enemy throws against us, the greatest battle we have to face is the battle within our movement itself”.

He made that profoundly disturbing statement in a conference in 1965 and in 1973, he amplified it. “Betrayal, (he said), is the cancer that destroys the national liberation movement.” Months later, Cabral himself was shot dead by one of his own, in Judas style, to satisfy the Portuguese!

Those of us with nation building agendas need to put this question regularly to ourselves: “Is it I, the betrayer?”

The advice from Amilcar Cabral (in the photo above) to “Never stop learning” is a warning against both mental laziness and intellectual arrogance. The colonial rulers and today’s bosses placed the people’s minds in a dustbin, a useless obstruction to their power and command. Do you notice how many ways to learn Cabral listed? Book learning is only one. In the march for nation building therefore, to stop learning in all possible ways is to start betraying the future of our nation and ourselves.

Several ways to become a traitor

“Me, my family and I.” “Me, my party and I.” “Me, my business and I.”

We need to unlearn this nation crushing teaching that is so deep in our bones. Let us examine ourselves honestly. When each family, each party, each individual and business closes its eyes to see first, second and third for its own opportunity, who will see for the nation? From top to bottom, in that order, this betrayal of St Vincent and the Grenadines is a cancer. Try not to point index fingers; let us look instead at an SVG where we love our neighbours same way we love ourselves. Cabral used to say to the privileged people: ‘Turn yourselves around and become united with the deepest yearnings of the people’. There is your identity and destiny. Betraying the nation is a part of all of us. Let us learn that and stop the cancer from metastasizing.

Our Colonial Subconscious abides within us and in many tongues we call for the comfort of a colonial mother from overseas, who as “help of the helpless, to abide with me”. We betray our own God given and ancestor delivered ability to grow and govern ourselves. Like abandoned orphans, we and our leaders seek a sick breast-sucking hold on to white, colonial, eurocentric and mammon kissing self-hate. We sell our fragile regional unity in the Caribbean for Europe’s promise of partnership. We dishonour Chatoyer, Toussaint, Garvey, Elma Francois and martyrs like Walter Rodney and Maurice Bishop. We abide in the arms of Elizabeth, Churchill, Cameron and May. We elect nation dividing Dons and Primadonnas in a hand-me-down democratic wardrobe. We refuse to tell our colonial minds to “Let my People Go”. We betray the nation within our grasp. A mental cancer is eating us out.

The Nation Building Agenda is calling for souls.

The present situation is becoming more and more a naked ulcer, a stinking sore for those with eyes to discern and noses to smell and betrayal is no longer an option. The battle is among us, to learn again what we forgot. Mandela said it. “The march to freedom is irreversible.”