Monthly Archives: October 2013

Farewell Ms. Alvera Coke

Hail Mi Irieites,

AlveraCokeMs. Alvera Coke, the mother of the late Peter Tosh has passed away.  Here is the statement from the estate of Peter Tosh:

The Peter Tosh Estate with great sadness acknowledges the passing of Alvera Coke. Born in Belmont Jamaica May 25, 1917- she passed at the same home in which she grew up, in her bed today. As the matriarch of the Tosh family she leaves behind the great legacy as the mother of Peter Tosh and grandmother of ten. Her grand spirit and guidance will be missed.

Ms. Coke, we give thanks and praises for your love and inspiration. Your son got up, stood up for justice and was the voice for the voiceless.  I and I are forever thankful for your grace.

The Netherlands Never Let Us Down!

Yes Mi Irieites!

With only one more show to go, Eindhoven, we performed our second to last show in Amsterdam at the Melkweg, last night.  And if the truth were known, the crowd was electrifying as ever.  Please allow me to rephrase that; the “Nether Lands” has “Never Let us down.”

alanderson
Incidentally, Al Anderson came backstage with his family.  We had no idea he was there or else we would have presented him on stage for old time’s sake.  Least we not forget that it was here in Holland that we shared the same stage with Al when he was one of the lead guitar players for Bob Marley and the Wailers, 35 years ago! Fret not, we hope to feature him for a brief moment in our long over due documentary.  We hope that your wait will be significant..

On another note, I found time to check the Anne Frank museum here in Amsterdam and although the queue was halfway around the block, it was worth the wait, believe me.  At first, I was feeling quite agitated, knowing that the tour bus would be leaving midday, sharp.  I am already known for my lateness.  But finally, we, (Rande the merchandise guy) and I got in viewed managed to view all; enlightening and forever memorable.

Anne Frank was Special.  Her energy during those time will remain with me, forever.

Bless!

Czech it Out, Czech it Out

czech

Bless up everyone!  Our first time in the Czech Republic.  On the streets of Prague and I hope to be getting a treat tomorrow “Czech-ing” out the museums.  Talks of viewing Mozart’s original manuscripts as well as a few Picassos.  We shall see.

By the way, the show was great.  Thanks for the hospitality Lukas, and those from Rastafari Radio…..

Czech Mate!!!

30th Anniversary – Maurice Bishop (29th May 1944 – 19th October 1983): The Fight Against Fascism Continues

Yes Mi Irieites,

ADN-ZB Häßler 11.6.1982 Bez. Dresden: Maurice Bishop, Vorsitzender des Politbüros des ZK der Neuen Jewel-Bewegung und Ministerpräsident der Revolutionären Volksregierung Grenadas, besuchte die LPG in Niederkaina, Kreis Bautzen. Hier bei einem Meeting mit Genossenschafstbauern und Arbeitern der LPG.It appears that October has been a landmark for many a revolutionary.  First it was Hugh Mundell, then Thomas Sankara and now the Right Honorable Maurice Bishop, the second Prime Minister of the island of Grenada.

Bishop became Grenada’s Prime Minister after seizing power from his predecessor Eric Gairy in a coup, while Gairy was out of the country on business (March 1979).

In the course of his administration Bishop had formed several organisations: the People’s Revolutionary Government of Grenada (P.R.G.G), People’s Revolutionary Army (P.R.A), New Jewel Movement (N.J.M), just to name a few.  This development was triggered while studying in the UK.  And although he majored in the subjects of Law and Economics, it was during this period that he got heavily influenced into campaigning against racial discrimination in Britain as well as being proactive with the Black Power movement of the USA.

So in the eyes of the Grenadian Population, things were looking positive and bright for Bishop once he took charge, until he aligned himself with Cuba.  This initiated an alliance where various projects were to be carried out that he thought would benefit the island.  One of the projects involved was the construction of a new international airstrip that was to be located in the southern region of the island.  This was a project that was once proposed by the British while the country was still colonised.  However, it did not favour well with the US, who, as far as they were concerned, believed that it was a plan to be served as a landing strip to accommodate Russian military aircraft, etc.

As well as US opposition, Maurice was also getting a hard time with those within his own administration who thought that these projects and organisations were a waste of the taxpayer’s money. A proposal for joint leadership was refused by Bishop.

It was in the first week of October 1983, when things grinded to a halt.  Bishop, was placed under house arrest by the Deputy Prime Minister, Bernard Coard.  His incarceration didn’t last very long once the people got news as to what had happened.  The protesting got to such a height that he was immediately released.  But within two weeks of the protest, Bishop, as well as close family members and a part of his administration, were rounded up once again and taken into custody.  They were all placed against a wall outside of where they were confined and got massacred by a firing squad later that day.  Finally, an invasion by the US ultimately took place October 25th, stopping all Cuban participation on building the airport strip.

Maurice Bishop will rise up in history as the bravest leader the Caribbean has ever had in recent times.  His stance in favour of working class rights, women rights, and education as well as his stance against racism, Apartheid and sex discrimination has already been noted by those of us who are conscious and concerned in the affairs of the diaspora.

Come to think of it these ideals are a carbon copy of Thomas Sankara’s blueprint policies to elevate all of Africa.  Unfortunately, we are living in times where all great revolutionary thinkers get cut down in their prime by their peers, especially peers that are suppose to be working with you side by side, each day.  The airport was built and was named Point Salines International Airport but was renamed in honour of the New Jewel Movement leader, “Maurice Bishop,” in 2009.

Here’s a an excerpt from a speech on fascism by Maurice Bishop:

“… the extremely undemocratic, repressive and corrupt nature of the puppet Regimes carefully trained and promoted from among local professionals and bureaucrats by Imperialism to maintain their presence on the backs of our people, is a very consistent Caribbean condition.”

And with only four months to go for Grenada’s 40th anniversary of Independence, here is Steel Pulse’s tribute to the “Real Spice” of Grenada.

Maurice Bishop, Ya Big!!

Incidentally, this is also the 30th anniversary since the Pulse embarked on our first Caribbean tour.

PS -  a Happy Birthday to another icon and revolutionary: Peter Tosh!

Thomas Sankara: Dec 21, 1949 – Oct 15, 1987

Yes Mi Irieites,

ThomasSankara
Once again we take time out to pay homage to who, as far as we’re concerned, one of the greatest African leaders of all time, Thomas Isidore Noel Sankara, the leader of Burkina Faso, who was assassinated in a coup d’etat on this day October 15th 1987.

As a matter of fact it was only 2 months ago that this African president had reached his commemorated milestone of 30 years since he took power (August 4th,1983), at the age of 33.  On taking power he renamed the once colonised “Upper Volta” to Burkina Faso, meaning, “Land of Upright People.”

Whilst Sankara’s ideals were a good template for all of Africa, there was that faction of the elite within his country and administration that were not supportive of his policies, consequently, toppling him from authority to ultimate murder.   This is an excerpt from a speech he made a week before his untimely demise;

“While revolutionaries as individuals can be murdered you can not kill ideas.”

So here’s a tribute to a great leader, and may I add, a blossoming musician, whose name and credibility I have honoured so much that I named one of my sons after him for it to be a continuation of my reverence.

In Remembrance of Hugh Mundell

Yes Mi Irieites,

It’s a truly welcomed and deserved “day off”  for the entire Steel Pulse entourage on this European tour.  However, we take time out to remember Hugh Mundell who was murdered this day 14th October, back in 1983.   The 30th anniversary of this reggae legend should not be forgotten.

In the earlier years of Steel Pulse’s presence in the Bay Area of San Francisco, we bumped into Hugh quite a few times.   We were shocked when we learned of his death soon afterwards.  For quite sometime in the early 80′s Hugh Mundell’s career became quite dormant.  After a long hiatus friends advised him to return to Jamaica and produce the classic songs he was capable of composing.  It was on taking such advice he met his death in JA.  It was said to have derived from some kind of family dispute.

Hugh’s hit album “Africa must be free by 1983,” contained a lot irony, if you get my meaning.  I’m sure his own spirit of freedom was what he was referring to.

Jah Bless another legend….

October 3, 1935: Italy Invades Ethiopia

Hail Mi Irieites,

ethiopiainvasion

October 3, 1935:  Ethiopia, one of the only two independent African nations at the time, is invaded on by facist Italy under Benito Mussolini. The Italians, seeking revenge for their prior humiliating loss to Ethiopia over 40 years earlier, commit countless atrocities on the independent African state. Poison gas, aerial bombardment, flame-throwers and concentration camps are all employed against the ill-equipped Ethiopian people.

Black outrage at these war crimes was universal and equanimous.

The League of Nations, forerunner to the UN, was criticized sharply for supplying weapons to Italy and not to Ethiopia. Such actions confirmed the suspicion that the war was had a racial motivation and sought to extinguish the last light of African power in the world. What became the “Black Peril” was the largest ever mobilization of Africans the world had ever seen over 500,000,000 strong. From Kingston to Johannesburg, from Detroit to Ghana, form Port-of-Spain to Paris, Black men and women offered to go fight in defense of Ethiopia.

And, as battles raged between Ethiopians and Italians in Africa, battles raged between Blacks and Italians in the streets of New York. In South Africa, Black workers began a lengthy march up the continent to assist their African brothers in Ethiopia. Elsewhere, ex-service men discarded their European and American citizenships to bring their military expertise to the defense of Ethiopia. The exiled Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie I became a legendary figure to many. Not before or ever since was such a strong sense of Pan-Africanism seen throughout the world. And though Italy initially succeeded in occupying the African nation, Blacks everywhere would continue the struggle until Ethiopia was free.

Jah bless. I and I never forget.