MEGHA VENKETASAMY

The core fuelling of the #BlackLivesMatter movement is rehumanizing the lives of black people.

Many have failed to understand this. The sacred within such a movement is to render sacred to black folks and their descendants.

Fractures happened at several points in time, black people were demonized and dehumanized and they still are. And this dehumanization and demonization have been carried forth.

This is not just a mindset or values or culture problem.

One tiniest fracture is carried forth across time and space. As humans, we are so fertile in our core, that we carry forth much than what we are aware of.

Today epigenetics is shedding light on trans-generational trauma, how traumatic events that happened centuries ago have a very real impact on family for generations to come. There are a growing number of studies that support the idea that the effects of trauma can reverberate down the generations through epigenetics.

If we dare move close enough to our own stories, we will see much of what we do as acts of survivals and how trauma is weighing us and, in most instances, these are trauma that were passed on.

Naming people lazy or unwilling to work blinds us from deeper truth. When trauma lurks, some of us are either in flight or fright while others are in freeze or frown. Trauma is much more complex than this.

While it may seem easy to name those who have shifted, it will take more than free education, health care system, democracy to heal a nation from trans-generational trauma.

Speaking of rehumanizing the lives of black people, we cannot not speak of trauma and the call to engage in this work.

This applies to our Mauritian context equally. Remembering how Africans were brought on this land, how they were sold and traded as commodities; acts which are committed only with objects.

To Mauritians with African Ancestry, no compensation can level up and overturn what has been passed down to you through your ancestry.

I am a Mauritian Woman with Indian Ancestry, my ancestors came from Vulloor and Chittoor, they were indentured labourers. Their plights were not same as the African descendants; this does not mean that my ancestors have not had it hard. They have had their share of hardship and trauma. Most of them did not come here willingly, they were abducted, lost their families and I cannot even think of what they have been through.

Life on sugarcane fields was not easy. The system that they were brought in, was and is dehumanizing. I am yet to uncover the extent of what I have inherited as trauma across generations. I can only hold space and do my works and honour their lives.

I come from a middle-class family. Years of reclaiming and ancestral works have shed light on much for me. One of the beliefs that was passed down to us is “There is never enough”, SCARCITY. I have lived years with this belief. This is deep rooted trauma.

As a woman of colour, I was taught that the world is a danger zone. I have lived with this belief for years in my body. It took me years of reclaiming to understand how this belief runs in my bones and blood, the chemicals in my body react and respond accordingly for my intent is to protect and to be safe.

Today, I ask, is this mine? To whom does this belong?

What I write may sound insignificant and even illogical but such is the essence of trauma.

I ask what about the African descendants, “what do my black people carry in their bones and blood as trauma? What works to be engaged in for the way forward?”

In this system that has dehumanized and demonized black people, many other people, this is a long list, I am also aware of my privileges.

As a woman of Indian Ancestry, I have privileges. I have access to places and I am treated with more seriousness and utter respect compared to my brothers and sisters who do not belong to same ancestry as I do.

I have grown up witnessing people questioning the safeness of being around people of African descent, especially when it gets to employing them as house keepers, gardens and so forth.

I am aware of those who have privileges beyond me. These past years, I have sat, grown, and cried in circles with women from the white community. Women who are brave enough to speak of their privileges. This is a tough conversation to have. This conversation calls for ownership of how our privileges can be catalyst for healing of the community by opening doors to those who will never be accepted within.

The white community has privileges in Mauritius, and this is a fact.

As a woman of Indian Ancestry in Mauritius, I was born with my share of privileges and this is a fact.

Privileges spread across in shades and colours.

Each community has its share of privileges.

This conversation is beyond the groups and communities mentioned above.

Too often out of our concern to maintain social harmony, we coax each other into oneness. We consciously and/or unconsciously shut people off and this adds to their trauma.

But oneness is inexistent if we keep shutting off the other from telling their share of stories, their pains, their wounds and their narratives.

Inclusiveness means to hold space for the beauty and ugly and most importantly for the discomfort that our stories and others’ stories bring to us.

It is easy to speak of a united nation; this is a myriad, a façade that we are quick to hide behind and the intention is good, for deep within we all seek community and harmony.

There are deeper wounds at play, what we need most today are safe spaces to allow people to open, to share, to talk, to commune and to relate. This is the beginning of healing.

If we pause long enough to trace our rising figures of addictions on this small island, this resounds heavily. Addiction is never the issue but rather the symptomatic expressions of a decaying source.  The core of addiction is trauma.

Leaders at community levels, in organizations, in cities, in villages, across networks, we have a key role to play, that of strengthening our backs, softening our fronts and opening our hearts to hold safe space for people who will dare show up with their stories and wounds.

Once we start this process, we will inevitably overturn the structures of this current system that does not support diversity, divergences and differences.

To You African People, To You People of Indian Ancestry, To You People of all Communities however you identify yourself as…

Know that as trauma runs within your bones and blood, so does the medicine and the ability to overturn what was taken away from you.

Know that you have possibility to heal and to reclaim your worth as humans.

It will take more than conversing to heal.

Now is the time to engage consciously in works with the intent to take ownership of our history.

Reclaiming our Humanity.

Knowing that we are worthy and there is no absolute power on earth, not even God, not even a shamed history that can invalidate our worth.

Note: I do not seek approval for my words, and I stay open to learn and to hear and to grow. This paper cannot contain the entirety and complexity of the issue at hand, have this in mind when reading through you and be intentional to seek, to open, to learn and to question.