Manikarnika The Queen of Jhansi (2019)

  • Update Time : August, 6, 2019, 4:53 am
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The following is an edited version of a short essay posted on Facebook by Trinidadian poet Shivanee Ramlochan, responding to the reception of Venezuelan migrants in Trinidad and Tobago. 

I have been thinking about the physical and psychogeographic architecture of displacement. The reasons are obvious and immediate ones, and they preoccupy me every day, in thoughts of what I have said about the global Venezuelan migrant crisis, and what I have failed to say. I confess to a certain paralysis of sorrow in the face of so much daily reported. . . xenophobia on its own barely, scarcely, feels like the right word.

A sidestream discussion, on that topic: if I am to say anyone is xenophobic, I’m more interested in thinking about the roots of that disavowing of the foreign: what causes it, from country to country, from village to village, from citizen to citizen? And how, truly, are the tendrillings of Trinidadian xenophobia rooted in the rhetoric and action of postcolonial trauma, and its attendant paranoia, its attendant and inherent suspicion, its sense that, having worked so hard through the inheritance of forefathers, what is ours *is ours*, by God and the laws of *this land*?

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