Saturday 19 October, 2019

Mottley urges Barbadians to free themselves from mental slavery

Prime Minister Mia Mottley

Prime Minister Mia Mottley

As the country reflects on the struggles of emancipation, Prime Minister Mia Mottley wants Barbadians to use August 1 to inspire at the personal level and to claim our mental freedom, daily.

In a message to commemorate Emancipation Day 2019, she further encouraged Barbadians to use “that personal mental freedom as the platform, the building block to wrestle from our institutions and our society the stubborn remaining vestiges of that most horrific of times that scarred our collective humanity”. 

“Never lose sight of the importance of this Emancipation Day to people whose ancestors came to these shores, not as guests or tourists, but in bondage as chattel, to be used for the economic benefit of others. Yet today, while we are no longer slaves destined to a life as economic tools for others, we have quite a distance to travel on the road to liberate ourselves mentally from the vestiges of that horror.

“I have preached this message many times before; and, I will continue to do so as long as I have breath. That’s because change does not come overnight as we work to achieve mental emancipation any time soon,” the prime minister said.

Mottley, who made history when she was elected Barbados’ first female Prime Minister in May 2018, stressed that mental freedom was a fight with that would continue to struggle for generations to come, given the scars of bondage run deep on the individual and institutional levels in our society.

She noted that for some, there is persistent self-doubt and an ingrained distrust for our own, while for others theirs is a daily struggle to accept or identify with our culture.

“Regrettably, some see mental emancipation as something passive or even academic, seeing it as the pursuit of others. But it is not. We need to draw on the example of the resilience and courage of our ancestors.  

“The fight today may require different tactics — but I say no less vigour or persistence,” Mottley urged.

In Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, August 1, is observed as Emancipation Day, as it commemorates the day on which we celebrate the anniversary of the 1834/1838 abolition of slavery in the British Empire. 

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