Banner: Freedom for All
Slavery in the pastLegaciesSlavery nowWhat is onResourcesCampaign
Home
About Us
News
Contact us
Links


THE NARRATIVE

The different voices of the narrator are English, Ebo, Yoruba and Jamaican patois.

In a solemn and dignified voice, old West Indian Henry said to us: "Be still and listen...

We were caught, bought, shipped and enslaved
Found hope in God's grace and were saved...
So, why were we not as good as you?


You forced your culture on us in short time
But destroying ours was the greater crime
This dishonouring was long and brutally done
And has made us all what we have become...
Nyaa, ? gini b? na anyi adiro nma ka unu?
Kilode ti awa ko se da to eyin?
Soe, wa mek unu tink unu betta dan we?
So, so why were we not as good as you?


During our slavery we had many fears
That your legal codes would kill us
And damage our children for years...
So, why were we not as good as you?


You destroyed our families and gave us one name
Such as: Nigger, Quashi
Sambo, Boy
Horatio, Wallace
Sarah, Jane...
Nyaa, ? gini b? na anyi adiro nma ka unu?


You derided our new music which was "noise" to your ear
But it gave us a voice that has lasted for years.
You sneered at our colour and laughed at our frame
But we had your children since our blood is the same...
Soe, wa mek unu tink unu betta dan we?


You preached we were subhuman but pleasing
Which Hume and Carlyle confirmed with "reasoning"
But they would not have been clever then
Had they been taught in plantation pens
Soe, wa mek unu tink unu betta dan we?


No writer, preacher, politician of worth
Should have been silent for so long
When kit and kin inflicted such hurt...
Kilode ti awa ko se da to eyin?


Our beaten bodies were sore with pain
Yet you branded and bred us and sold us for gain...
Kilode ti awa ko se da to eyin?


We dug strange fields in New World's dew
And were oft-times sick un-noticed by you
We tried our obeah but it failed
To protect us from the evil that prevailed...
Nyaa, ? gini b? na anyi adiro nma ka unu?

What was our price, what was our worth?
To live in a hell you created on earth
You ate or sold the food we grew
And our children died instead of you...
Nyaa, ? gini b? na anyi adiro nma ka unu?

Our dead children brought great sorrow
But our steely women were our tomorrow
They were the metal of our arm and eye
That drove us daily to defy...
So, why were we not as good as you?

When we fought and rebelled in our defence
You hanged or slow-burned us for impudence
Often in dark silence we would cry
If this is life, then let us die
And fly from the self interest of the lie...
Kilode ti awa ko se da to eyin?

We ate scraps and lived like rats to survive
But fought and "smiled" to remain alive
We are the "savages" that made you rich
But you buried us in a dirty ditch...
Nyaa, ? gini b? na anyi adriro nma ka unu?

You whipped our faces, put filth in our mouths
Which you tied shut, to prevent spitting out.
We endured this "civilised" violence alone
Where your prosperity and prejudices were sown
Only hypocrites and cowards deny their past
Because, good or bad done is meant to last...
Soe, wa mek unu tink unu betta dan we?

Our slavery was a dream rape
From which there was no escape
It was a nightmare come true
A world away and chained by you
The enlightened and the brave
That, "never, never will be slaves"...
So, why were we not as good as you?

Chained, we heard the 12th of April's cannons groan
The hundred year's dice of war was thrown
Again and again we were the prize
In a game of greed you had devised...
Kilode ti awa ko se da to eyin?

Unlike the progenies of animal and grass
Our children will remember the past
But no task on earth is harder
Than to redress the "sins of the Father".
Abolition was not an Act divine,
It was then politic to cover the crime...
Nayaa, ? gini b? anyi adriro nma ka unu?

In future, ignorant fools will say
Others suffered in a similar way
But such denial and cultural play
Will not wash this cruel crime away...
Soe, wa mek unu tink unu betta dan we?

We are not chattel to slave and kill
We have the same humanity:
Love, rage and will...
So, why were we not as good as you?

For surviving the most profitable evil the world has known
Put up no stone...just repair the damage done, alone.
Our right to live here is not for review
We paid a bitter price to live like you."

Geoff Palmer
Adapted from his book, The Enlightenment...Citizens of Britishness.



ACTS logoActsbanner
© All rights reserved, Action of Churches Together in Scotland, www.acts-scotland.org