The following piece may or may not have been part of the speech I gave at Khalid Wasi’s independence forum last year. None the less, I am reproducing it here
Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. I’d like to begin by thanking you for attending this forum and listening to the thoughts my colleagues and I hope to express.
As a young Bermudian I have the unique opportunity to share my voice on behalf of the youth as best I can. While I have not known or lived in the time of segregation, I do know some of the stories of those who did and am thankful to the struggle of others that blessed me with this ignorance.
No man, woman or child should have to face the travesty of being ruled by another, a slave by mind or body. I am proud to live in a day where true freedom from slavery and segregation is within reach, though I won’t deny that remnants of the battle still remain. Much like the war on terror, the war on subjugation may never be won until we can accept our differences and embrace true equality.
True equality is a means to an end as it is only when embraced that we shall forever achieve peace. Regardless of what your belief, be it Jesus, Mohammad, science, fate or other, the belief that we can achieve better lies in the hearts of each one of us. Noble faiths place in the hearts of individuals the belief that in the eyes of god each person is equal. True religion instills in the hearts of it’s believers the freedom of rule from another.
This battle of equality has led us to our place today. Some believe that there are still steps to walk ahead, while others feel our journey is near complete. Some believe our only saving grace will be to separate ourselves from our history by achieving independence from our mother state. Others believe that old memories won’t go away and independence won’t bring the needed change.
I share the belief that our own independence from the UK will not bring the change that is needed. It may relieve some of the suffering that still lies in the hearts of those forsaken, though it will never mend our history or greatly change our everyday. In the end we will have separated ourselves from an arrangement in our favor for a change we may never see, based on a history some have never lived.
I for one do believe that independence is what we need to achieve, though my definition of independence is different from that of many. I believe in true independence, where our differences will be seen as a virtue, something we can embrace that makes each individual unique, not as something to divide one from another. True independence will not be achieved by our separation from the UK. That independence may mend past deeds but will do little for the battle against the subjugation we do still wage.
What I am speaking of is a different form of independence. In our next stage of struggle we should be striving to achieve not independence from the UK, but independence from the continued rule of any other. We live our lives trapped within the confines of the remnants of the colonial system of government. The basis of our constitution was written with the representative democracy system that we use today which has resulted in two warring parties. It’s creation was based upon the thoughts and ideas of the UK and what may work for their country, but does not work for ours. It is from this that we need to achieve separation.
Why should we continue to not be able to decide for ourselves to what fate we are best suited. Why should we elect into power individuals who can rule for their own term and have power absolute during their reign? Should we not have the ability to free ourselves from rule and choose new leaders at any time deemed convenient? Should we not have the right to decide for ourselves what is to be our own destiny and fate?
It is this battle, not of subjugation of body but subjugation of mind that my generation must now face. The freedom of expression by the individual and the very freedom of choice, the one thing they truly can’t take away. Our people want independence but they don’t see it the way I see it, they don’t see that we remain enslaved, only now not through body but through mind.
As a young Bermudian I am ready to see a new revolution, a resurgence of the energy and drive that when embraced can overcome our history and write a new fate. I am ready to live in the day where my government is held accountable on more then just election day. When we see can see change for the betterment of all people, not just those elected to lead the way.
It is our duty as individuals to ask our leaders to set the stage, to amend our constitution so that it is one of OUR people, not that of another state. To give us notions such as set term limits in office. To give us the ability to recall our leadership to election at OUR leisure, not theirs, so they can always feel accountable and know fear of losing power at any mistake. To give us the freedom of choice to decide our own issues, and to require our leaders to consult us, if that freedom is to ever change.
I believe in freedom. It is up to you to decide if you’re with me, or if you’d rather remain enslaved.
Freedom is true independence and it is true independence that I seek.