From British daily The Morning Star:
The Dead Yard: Tales of Modern Jamaica
by Ian Thomson (Faber & Faber, £14.99)
Sunday 10 May 2009
by Roger Fletcher
LEGACY: The Dead Yard: Tales of Modern Jamaica.
How Jamaica is still suffering from 300 years of British rule
Dramatic changes in certain areas have given impetus to candid examinations of Britain’s role in creating the present world.
From the outset, Ian Thomson leaves little doubt that this role has been disastrous.
When he points out that cruelty has been “implicit in Jamaican life for the 300 years of British rule,” he bravely quotes Karl Marx who said that such history was “characteristic of the beastliness of the true Englishman.”
In just under 400 pages, the author gives us a detailed picture of the tragedy of this Caribbean island.
Both anecdote and evidence are skilfully combined to leave little doubt of Britain’s responsibility for the corruption and decay that make up modern Jamaica.
Interwoven with this are fascinating reflections on the cultural scene and descriptions of the profits of the twin trades of slavery and sugar that were exploited by the British ruling classes.
While the final chapter Take down the Union Jack explicitly condemns the perpetrators of the Jamaican tragedy, an earlier chapter dealing with Michael Manley and Edward Seaga leaves out a great deal.
And many readers will be surprised to read that “Obama has even won the approval of Castro’s Cuba,” a rather simplistic claim that demands much clarification.
Research to show which groups [in Britain] got rich from slavery cash: here.
Jamaican prime minister Portia Simpson Miller suggested today that the British government should finally apologise for enslaving Jamaican peoples’ ancestors: here.
Brazil’s census offers recognition at last to descendants of runaway slaves: here.