Wednesday, January 11, 2006

I should have quoted this in my "what 'Caribbean' means" post night before last--the opening paragraph of Lloyd Best's landmark essay "Independent Thought and Caribbean Freedom", published in 1971, four years before I drew breath, and still astonishingly relevant to the region:

When we think of the Caribbean we have in mind a canvas larger than that usually found in the gallery of the colonial mind. Certainly it includes the Antilles--Greater and Lesser--and the Guyanas. These together form the heartland of the system which it is our expressed purpose to change. But many times the Caribbean also includes the littoral that surrounds our sea. Admittedly, it is an extensive shore. And the contours which may be taken to mark it off are still--to an uncomfortable degree--a matter of personal taste. Yet our choice of boundaries is not, for that fact, baseless. For what we are trying to encompass within our scheme is the cultural, social, political and economic foundations of the "sugar plantation" variant of the colonial mind. Hence we sometimes include Carolina and Caracas with Kingston and Chacachacare, Corentyne and Camaguey; Recife with Paramaribo, Port of Spain and Pointe-a-Pitre; and British Honduras [now Belize] with Blanchisseuse and Barranquitas.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's hard to imagine a surname much better than best. I guess I've been put in my place.