Barbadian Author Andrea Stuart Discusses her Book Sugar in the Blood

Listen to Barbadian author Andrea Stuart gives a riveting insight into her book Sugar in the Blood at the Barbados High Commission in London. An introduction is given by Barbadian historian Richard Drayton who is the widely respected Rhodes Professor of Imperial History at King’s College London. The book launch comes at an interesting time with a reparation claim being explored by Caricom. The book highlights how the history of Barbados and England is forever intertwined. Sugar built Britain on the backs of slaves.


112 thoughts on “Barbadian Author Andrea Stuart Discusses her Book Sugar in the Blood

  1. “Repatriation”? This is the second time in two posts. Nice one.

    Richard Drayton…”Cambridge Professor” and :”Barbadian”….eh?

  2. @all BU
    People. I watched this video clip and it really got me thinking and stimulated enough to actually get up, sit down, write and fix deed to thought.

    To say I consider this work to be an important one is an understatement. To be clear I have NOT read the book as yet, given as I only became aware of its existence with this video posting, so I am certainly in no position to make any deep or insightful commentary on its technical artistry and historical accuracy and or social validity.

    I do not hesitate to promote this work because of the unreservedly impressed recommendations of professor Drayton, a friend and old school mate from KOLIJ and a man of irrefutable intellect and reputation and accomplishment. A FOREIGNER RECOGNIZED in ENGLAND to be one of the FINEST historians chronicling their OWN COUNTRIES HISTORY! I have little doubt therefore of any necessity to challenge the technical competency of the book. But this is also not what matters to me.

    What is important is that here we have an (unquestionably) young and gifted BARBADIAN speaking from a unique perspective about her and our shared history. The white man, the black man, the slave owner, the slave, the Englishman and Barbadian and the migration back and forth from one island to the next.
    I believe we see in this a creation of as equal importance and significance to this generation as staples like “In the castle of My Skin” were to the last.
    For once I believe we should get out ahead, recognize and celebrate AND SUPPORT AND PROMOTE not just accomplishment and greatness but OUR OWN!

    This is how success is achieved! TOGETHER! It’s not just about the one talent doing everything that needs to be done to achieve success on a world stage but about the people who get together behind them and give of their own expertise or contacts or other resources to take them to the top!

    For once let’s put aside our petty jealousies and differences and put our money were our mouths were and working TOGETHER do something worthwhile!


  3. P.S.
    I just looked at the various reviews on Amazon and it only increases my tremendous admiration and respect and pride in what this BAJAN work has the potential to leave its mark on the true shared stories of our peoples.

  4. I have now the read the book, under strong protest. I learned friend sent it to me with a note that said, “Please read this and spot the errors,” and I certainly spotted the errors. And to call the lady a historian is a misnomer. A better discription is “novelist”. It is replete with lacunas in fact and research and attempts to present facts that are not in evidence. It also distorts actual historical facts in pursuit of an agenda. But I am sure that Hillary Beckles thinks it is excellent – it transcends even his lack of scholorship and penchant for manipulation. As to being an aid to seek reparation, it is more like a weapon to shoot reparation in the foot (sorry, Ross, unavoidable use of the word twice in one sentence). I do not see it, as has been suggested, as a cause for Bajan pride, but quite the contrary. Unless, that is, you call it by its correct name – a novel. But as a novel, it is banal at best.

  5. Ms. Stuart went to great pains at the launch of the book to say she was no historian.

    I think it would be a mistake to read the book looking solely for a historical perspective.

    I admit I have not read the book as yet but plan to ….. life keeps me busy.

  6. @everybody
    Of course it’s a NOVEL! My point is that it is a STORY that links MANY OF OUR COMMON STORIES! It is not a Europeanized colonized ” colored” view and recording of historical events. You want accurate details, go get a history book! You want a romantic book featuring the big black Mandingo, go buy a Mills and Boons. Do you want to FEEL and relate to the origins of OUR cultured truths, then THIS is where this book fits in!
    As I said before this is NOT about trying to review and criticize the work. It is about recognizing its importance and relevance to the discussions of TODAYS world.
    The first thing Mandella did was to bring black and white together in HONEST and open discussion and acknowledgement of the horrors of the recent past. Have you not ever asked yourself why such raw and naked discussion NEVER happens in Barbados? People never talk about slavery and the links and chains that genetically bind every single one of us proud barbadians. Many would have us believe that all we black people are fresh pure from Africa and that white people are NOWHERE to be found in our lineage except as the evil oppressor and ” foreigner”.
    Why are we so afraid of this type of conversation? Too inconvenient to accept that white people were NOT the only demons in this world?
    Go look for errors and as usual miss the forest for the trees.


  7. Reparation for what? taking you from your huts made of cow shit and giving you a better ;life than in Africa where you would be killed and it is much harder to survive.idiots! How about all the other slaves all through history?
    black keep pushing this shit and you going to see what going to happen?
    wunna going get explodation instead !
    oh as a decedent of white Irish slaves from barbados whom were there before blacks and treated worst .good luck johnny.

  8. keep pushing and you may be sorry ! one small bomb would wipe out barbados.yyyyyyaaaaaaahhhhheeeaaaarrrrrrr!lol
    kidding of course.

  9. @David. That is PRECISELY what I am saying. Nepotism to the end. Has it occurred to anyone the connection between the author and another professor named Stuart? Well, she happens to be his daughter.

    @John. As I said, I have read the book. Also, one of the prerequisites (as Ross will certainly confirm) of our line of work is an excellent memory. If mine serves me correctly (and I can assure you that it does, as I have reviewed the comment) there would appear to be a startling similarity between a certain character discussed in great detail in the book from whom the author claims descent and one from whom you claim you are descended, as per your comments some weeks ago on BU in the legal action for reparation. I remembered this comment of yours, as you used it, in part, to ground your anti-reparation position and I reflected how lucky you were that you were at least able to trace some of your ancestors, when the majority of us cannot. I see that I made a comment to that effect at the time. Records were not often kept for slaves. Happy reading anyway! But remember the old pre-DNA testing adage, “Maternity is a matter of fact. Paternity is a matter of opinion.”

  10. Amused

    Many of us are related … I think that is probably a conclusion one could draw from what I have been told or read about the book.

    I figured out I have a whole set of cousins here a couple of days ago just by reading an obituary and putting two and two together.

    A couple of years ago it was the Internet that taught me the lesson again and I learnt of other cousins in the US.

    …. and years before that it was just a chance encounter with one.

  11. I haven’t read the book. I have no intention of reading it. Cyprian hasn’t read the book but says it’s marvelous – because someone says so. Amused has read the book and says it’s banal.

    Amused says it’s more a novel than a history. Cyprian exclaims it IS a novel. At least two of the Amazon reviews say it’s “non-fiction”.

    So what IS it? Well I don’t care much. From what Amused says it sounds like the sort of thing Amelia Nettleship might have written Amused will recognize the Rumpole reference which reminds me to tell him my memory is lousy and I take bottles and bottles of ginkgo.

    I also note that some Amazon reviews describe Ms Stuart as a professor, but then Cyprian says repeatedly that the real professor is Barbadian rather than Guyanese – presumably because he went to Harrison C.

    The post says it is all about repatriation and that the London Professor is a Cambridge Professor.

    What to do about any of this? I don’t know.

    But, frankly, I don’t think anyone should be voting about it – and, knowing the genre pretty well, and otherwise in happy ignorance, I would go with Amused.

    • @Ross

      You don’t make errors?

      It is your right to read or not read, who cares anyway.

      The book comes highly recommended by Professor Richard Drayton. BU thinks he has established enough of a reputation and body of work to give weight to his association with Andrea Stuart.

  12. David

    Yes – many

    Quite and quite

    His association with A Stuart is his business.

    David, if you don’t see the difficulty in writing meaningfully about this book given the conflicting evidence, either you need some ginkgo as well or you are totally without humour. But why pick on me – isn’t Amused (bless him) the boy you should ‘go’ for if you don’t like criticism? Sounds like scapegoating to me.

  13. David

    I don’t get the nepotism claim of Amused, it went over my head …. maybe I misread the post.

    Can’t imagine why this particular book has him tearing his shirt and his nighty to bits.

  14. Amused,

    we have a tradition in Barbados of people producing substandard crap that is feted as “history” and “well- researched” work. Any fool can “write” a load of bs here in Barbados and pass it off as authoritative work. On this small incestuous island, it will be celebrated because that is how we do it bout hay.

    • For the record Andrea Stuart lives in the UK to our best knowledge.

      Cyprian are you able to get a response from Richard Drayton based on the foregoing ?

  15. @everybody
    I keep trying to point out to you all that you are missing the point! I am not concerned with critiquing the work. To start people like different things and “art” to a great degree is highly subjective. My opinions therefore I consider unimportant or not critical to my come try.
    I can with a certain measure of confidence in the observations of others.
    1. Professor Drayton who’s intellect and integrity I can personally vouch for and who is further an INTERNATIONALLY RECOGNIZED AND ACCLAIMED HISTORIAN AND PROFESSOR AT AN ELITE WORLD CLASS INSTITUTION!
    And you seriously want to quibble and claim you can spot so many errors that he by implication has ” overlooked” or conveniently ignored? If this is not the definition of small mindedness and stupidity then I don’t know what is.
    2. The varied reviews of ordinary people who purchased the book on Amazon and a group in whom I have sufficient trust to post honest and unbiased critique and opinion.
    3. Professional reviews like the one partially quoted below
    From the New York Sunday Times:

    “There is not a single boring page in this book, which — as a longtime reader of nonfiction and skipper of boring pages — I can attest is an achievement in itself. In every chapter of “Sugar in the Blood,” history, fact, analysis and personal reflection combine to move the narrative forward, both the grand story of slavery and sugar and the more mundane but always fascinating story of family and business. And beneath every banal moment of cooking or cleaning, of selling or buying, of dressing or undressing, the threat of uprising and rebellion beats loudly, as it must have done on the plantation.”

    4. My listening for myself to the video and the words of the author herself. I found her to be eloquent insightful and articulate and DETERMINED to bring a high measure of integrity and unbiased unflinching unqualified and uncolored look at our TRUE story and history. And as to that slur that people in Barbados can hide and write a load of crap is in itself an insult and total load of CRAP! Can’t you judge quality for yourself, read between the lines separate fact from fiction and determine what is IMPORTANT AND RELEVANT?
    If you want to know more about the author, then just google it for yourselves. Don’t just take my word for it especially as I have only succeeded in possibly bringing such a measure of confusion with my intentions of bringing us people together who DONT want to be together.


    • Review by the NYTimes.

        A Family’s Story of Slavery and Empire
      By Andrea Stuart
      Illustrated. 353 pp. Alfred A. Knopf. $27.95.
      Slaves built this, I thought as I wandered from one grand 18th-century monument to the next. How rarely we acknowledge that Europe’s great cities were built on profits from the labor and blood of slaves cutting sugarcane half a world away.
      Stuart, a London-based author of Barbadian ancestry, writes of contemporary England: “Sugar surrounds me here.” The majestic Harewood House in Leeds was built with money from Caribbean sugar plantations, she points out, as was the Codrington Library of All Souls College in Oxford and Bristol’s mansions. The slaves of the West Indies built this wealth while unaware of its existence, or of their own connection to it. Without them, the vast empire that gave the world Victoria and Dickens might never have existed.
      In this multigenerational, minutely researched history, Stuart teases out these connections. She sets out to understand her family’s genealogy, hoping to explain the mysteries that often surround Caribbean family histories and to elucidate more important cultural and historic themes and events: the psychological after­effects of slavery and the long relationship between sugar — “white gold” — and forced labor.
      “Sugar in the Blood” begins in the late 1630s with Stuart’s maternal ancestor George Ashby, a young blacksmith in England, preparing for his voyage to the Americas. He was “most likely typical of the men who settled much of the New World, a man of action, not reflection, who did not take time out to write letters or keep journals,” Stuart writes, and she relies on historians and other personal accounts to flesh out his motivations, his reasons for migration and the “assault of newness” that was Barbados.

  16. Cyprian

    “Bringing people together’

    Here? On BU? Your task is very difficult if not impossible. Don’t be disappointed. You can only keep plugging away and (as I would say of myself) your little whispers will be heard by someone or other. It’s rather like the task of a priest. If ONE person moves more easily because you lived, that is a success story – and this without any reference to the conversation about the merits of the book or the criteria we use to assess it – well, if that’s what we’re supposed to do. But also remember – there may be another view from yours, equally tenable, equally persuasive, so you must not be too hard on us..

  17. Cyprian

    I have just noticed that some errors to be found in the intro have been corrected. See, someone listens sometimes.

  18. sugar in the blood, I thought at first this was about the rise of diabetes in Barbados, But maybe someone can tell me if this is irony or not. Here is an author complaining how money was made off sugar and sent back to the owners in Britain to let them have a good life style. Yet she writes about Barbados and the profit from her books goes back to Britain to improve her lifestyle Sugar was around for thousands of years and if it didn’t come from Barbados like every other cheap thing today it would have come out of asia

  19. Professor Drayton describes Ms Stuart’s book as ‘popular history’ which has, he says, a heavily researched substratum. Having heard Ms Stuart’s reading, yes, it sounds populist and I can quite understand why visitors to Barbados (as, eg, in the Amazon reviews) might find it compelling. Ms Stuart is a journalist who plows a very broad furrow not a professional historian, and so one can hardly expect the sinews of the ‘Structure of Politics…’ or ‘Decline and Fall…’ as much as Professor Drayton valiantly attempts to give the work serious academic credibility – a quality which, for all I know, may well be there though, having heard the reading, I rather doubt. But good luck to the book anyway. It does, after all, represent a fragment of its author’s life.

  20. @everybody
    I really do find these particular lines of discussion not just surprising but stunningly and sadly tediously disappointing!
    I will acknowledge that as individuals we ALLhave the right to fully express our OWN opinions and feelings and positions on whatever subject we choose in whatever manner we choose and regardless of who shares the same view or not. So I CANT criticize anybody for what they have or choose to say.
    When I hear nonsense like the irony of he author making (implicitly) “Ill gotten” earnings from stories that belong to “US” and she will spirit that money away like her ancestors to improve her own life in the U.K?…..
    What am I supposed to do but call such comment small minded and mean spirited at a level that I just can’t rationalize or consider reasonable or sensible or even worthy enough to be uttered by the educated and enlightened.
    Impolite and ugly.
    You are privy to what she does with HER own money? You know where HER book sales come from and where they go back to? When she comes back to Barbados as often as she does none of these proceeds go to support work and or other entities here?
    She is SELLING Barbados and putting us on an INTERNATIONAL stage.
    Less WE ever forget and for those who never knew and those who only pretend they never knew.
    She is writing to REPRESENT the lost voices of OUR ANCESTORS, hers , mine, theirs AND yours and that is not worthy enough or mean something to you?
    Well, what does that say about YOU?


  21. P.S.
    We have no problem with acknowledging the impact of Alex Hailey and a book called “Roots” on an entire generation and we are so easy to tear down and belittle a Barbadian whose work may have the potential to impact as greatly on this one?
    Why don’t you criticize him for writing and making money from the stories and on the backs of African slaves too?

  22. Cyprian

    But mean spiritedness is always the hallmark of a pharisaical society like ours.

    Mind, there is always room, surely, for the cynic in our discussions whose dry humour and waspish tongue invigorates and makes us look at ourselves more closely – and also the rebel of course, the man who is prepared to be cursed in the name of truth however misguidedly idealistic he may be.

  23. On the subject of new books – we must not forget local products.

    May I mention Sydney Simmons’ ‘STRANGERS IN THE VILLAGE’ which was launched last week.? It is sad that so many talented people have to publish books themselves here.

    If YAGGA ROWE (and anyone else interested in poetry) is reading me – there are moves afoot to publish an anthology of Barbadian poetry, an idea mooted some years ago which never got off the ground.

  24. @everybody
    There is always room for wasps and Bees. Too! I have absolutely NO problem with looking at ones self in the mirror BUT it cannot be done in the reflection of someone else. YOU are the one that has to stand there first and foremost and RECOGNIZE that it is indeed yourself that is falling short.
    When are we really going to learn? Our problem is that we are only prepared to couch our conversations in terms of “what can we get”. So we easily talk and fight for reperations. But if we spoke in the language of what can we give, what can we do to preserve and honor and ultimately FORGIVE then we will so easily get all that in the end we deserve!


  25. I think the author has taught us a valuable lesson.

    Our stories are important and are worth researching and documenting.

    I reckon I have a couple of books (perhaps even flims) in me too and until I can deliver I really don’t see it as right to criticize another who has delivered the goods.

    I prefer to learn from the experience.

    Did you know she has another book out relating to the French West Indies?

    How many of us have ever written a book, far less a learned paper in our lives? ………

    …. not to mention given a learned contribution here on BU and defended it!!

  26. Just another person making money off Barbados back, if she donated all the proceeds to children’s education on the island, for books or pencils I would be first in line to sing her praises.

  27. John

    Now I think you and I generally get on for all the right reasons. But I have to take issue with three things you wrote.

    1. ‘Unless you’ve written you have no right to criticize.’

    No John, literary critics do it all the time. It give them something to live on.

    2. ‘How many of us have ever written…?’

    John, you will never know and if you did it would only start quarrels of the “My Dad is bigger than your Dad’ sort

    3. ‘A learned paper on BU and defended it’

    I don’t think this is the forum for a “learned paper” to be defended and, if it is, I am sure you’re right that only very few of us are capable of it. Nothing of what I read really counts as a ‘paper’ – maybe ‘thesis to be explored’ but not much more than that. Of course H Austin gives us ‘War and Peace’ every week and I really don’t know who now has the staying power for it. I don’t. There are some contributors I enjoy reading – Pacha is one though I don’t agree with him much of the time. But I DO appreciate him very much.

    For myself, I did try a sort of paper once in the other place – ie an ongoing, examination of situations in the legal system which demonstrated how it was breaking down on a daily basis in my experience and what might be done about it – not exactly a ‘broad-brush- stroke’ thing as in ‘Tales from the Courts’ – more (since we’ve being doing history) a Namier like thing or (for art’s sake) a pointillist approach – anyway an empirical approach. What happened? Our AC, whom I’d not seen there before, unexpectedly appeared and disrupted the whole thing with his ignorant screeching the object of which was clearly to disrupt. I then heard, back here, that I should go back to the other place from whence I came – and this not from AC but from ‘someone else’, a humourful fella whom I had never seen at the other place either. So you work it out. But me produce something here? I’d have to be bloody crazy. Besides I do my bit as we go along as, indeed, we all do.

    Which reminds me to say…this post has been given ‘life’ because of Amused’s piece as the only one who claims to have read the book. He is not, of course, specific in his criticisms. Nor has he appeared since. I wish he would. I miss him. Without him there would have been nothing to talk about. Errrrr…you what? Am I trying to say something here?

  28. But let me say that I do appreciate this post as a very welcome variation from the standard fare of crumbling hotels, ministerial porn stars and subhuman judges. Thankyou David.

  29. Just read the NYT review and it is very compelling, perhaps I should buy it but I have some books on the go and so I’ll wait until after the holidays. I wonder if the ancestor Ashby is the same who owned property in what is now Oistin’s and Lodge Road. I remember Bobby Morris did some research on the family some time ago.

  30. Mean spirited??? Just tired of paying for the sins of the ancestors. Histories are like asses we all have one. I am starting to think you are not even from Cypria.
    I think you may be talking to me, but Thoreau said it better ” silence is golden the universal refuge the sequel to all dull discourses and foolish acts”

  31. Then come as close as you like David. Let me see the whites of your eyes sugar.

    Sarjeant had to run off after five minutes. That was exactly my response. Doubtless he will go back, as I did, and stay a few minutes more.

  32. RR

    I doubt there are many literary critics on here as I can’t remember many, if any books being critiqued here.

    What I found from my forays into history on this blog is that many bloggers do not read and have difficulty moving beyond the tired old brain washing that passes for Bajan history.

    There are even a couple who have professed to have learnt everything they need to know since the sixties and are not interested in learning anything more.

  33. @Ross. I am old. I wear bed socks in the bedroom to keep the old feet warm. What I want to know is how you know that I don’t wear anything else. You been peepin?

    As far as this book in concerned, if somebody will lend you a copy, read it. Only then can anyone be in a position to critique it. As far as I am concerned, it is like reading the books of Jean Palaidy (I think that is how you spell it) – historical in subject, but novels, except that Miss Palaidy is both more meticulous in historical fact and research and interesting in content. The problem with this book is it does purport to be a historical work, regardless of what the author may say. It is not intended to be a novel. There is no story line. It is intended to be taken as an authorotative historical work – and it ISN’T! Please don’t ask me to go into details. If you want to know what is wrong with it, read it and see.

    And Ross, as you well know, I completely agree with David (BU)’s comments in Tales From The Courts and I do sincerely think that this is a timely and necessary expose of what passes for a justice system and costs the taxpayers so much money to support. But you know that and that is as far as I am prepared to go with that one, as I am concentrating on this book that I have, for my sins, read. And there is a positive side – it will cure insomnia. INSTANTLY!

  34. P.S.
    We have been celebrating all week the passing of who may be considered unanimously by almost the entire planet to THE man amount men. More than anybody he would have earned the right to be bitter and demand reparations from a white population but what did he do? Not forget, not ignore or pretend lit never happened but IMMEDIATELY began to bring everybody together and BUILD something!
    He choose to give and give and give again because he KNEW that then he would receive a thousand fold.
    Maybe now you may get my point. There is nothing wrong with self publishing but one person cannot achieve anything on their own. It takes others to promote them, support them, encourage them and so structure the climate for them to produce even and ever more superior work!
    There are many talented and hard working authors on this island toiling away in obscurity and giving of their best, but you know what (?), they are doomed because everybody around them is about what they can GET before what they can give!
    Why would I seek to discourage anybody?
    Who am I to criticize their work? Each and every piece of cloth has its owner. What you may like I may not so there are markets available for EVERYBODY!
    Important noteworthy and relevant work is being all the time. Works by Ralph Thorne and ALVIN CUMMINS (for full disclosure MY uncle!) deal with relatively periods and situations not well served by most other current mainstream efforts.
    Works by Ralph Jemmott and Hilary Beckles again are special pieces of undeniable and incredible value to understanding the bases this society is built on.
    They will get NOWHERE unless WE recognize and TAKE them there!
    To me it is NOT enough to just wish them “good luck” and expect that magically someone else will “discover” them.
    THAT is why we are exactly where we are right now!


  35. @everybody

    When prose is poetry and poetry prose which on should it intend to be?

    I abandoned long ago the idea that expression can/should/must (!) indeed be so neatly pigeonholed and neatly classified and neatly trapped – (!) for the sake of my mental convenience.
    What are THE “rules” that I should stick to? What are the reasons behind our reasoning? What ultimately IS important?
    For me the answer is simple.


    The purpose is to communicate whatever the author wants to whomever they want to get it. It doesn’t even have to be you or me, it could be to themselves. It could be all about screaming at the Universe or it could just as easily be about communicating idea for purpose of common purpose. All that matters is;
    Does it work?
    Art indeed is not only in the eye of the beholder, but also (first) in the mind of the creator.


  36. I know that this comment is somewhat digressive of the topic at hand, but it ought to be examine anyway. Now, where are the Barbadian academics of like of Dr. Arthur Lewis and Dr. Eric Williams?

    Men with the kind of academic achievements that has trancended the small shores of the Caribbean archipelago.

    Now, Perhaps, it is my own wilful ignorance, but I am not aware of any Barbadian who has achieved international recognition, based on his or her academic excellence.

  37. P.S.
    You know I have never thought of Richard as a Guyanese. As a matter of fact when I really think of it EVERYBODY who went to KOLIJ with me at that time was and will always be to me BAJAN! Those sort of distinctions were never important to any of us as children. As far as we were concerned we were and are KOLIJ boys and as such will always be our identity.
    And this really brings home the point. Just because you were born somewhere that is NOT necessarily who you identify yourself as. So people born in Barbados but live all their formative years in the U.S. as far as I am concerned have more reason to be considered American than anything else.
    You love Barbados? You believe in Barbados and the common values and perspectives we share here? You will bleed for this rock?
    You are a BAJAN! End of story.

  38. @Cyprian

    If you wish to read a more definitive book on this subject, get The Sugar Barons by Matthew Parker. It is on the long side, but very thorough. You can google it and get a sense of how it was received.

    A few points of fact about Alex Haley and Roots: The TV series was one of the most watched in the history of American television. I watched it — wouldn’t go out on the night it was showing. The sad thing is, despite the power of the narrative, Haley was disgraced and exposed as a fraud — by his BLACK peers in academia — for claiming that Roots was based on true family history. You can check that out too.

  39. @call a spade
    Thanks. I just read the review of The Sugar Barons on the Wall Street Journal. Very interesting and I must note that the new work by Stuart would seem to fit nicely into the space where his book does not really get into the more visceral and complex relationships between slave and master.
    I think I had heard somewhere about Haley’s fall from grace but to be honest as I said before it really doesn’t matter to me. The story is the story and it could have been a thousand stories all experienced by a thousand different slaves over the generations. What is and will always remembered is exactly what you said. The nights it was on EVERYBODY was at home watching and talking about it the next day.


  40. Cyorian

    You have written a lot and I’m trying to catch up. But one thing I’m clear about……..
    I will NOT bleed for Pharisaism.

  41. Cyprian

    I would ask you to look again at your 5.23 comment and see whether you don’t find some aspects contradictory. Let me give you an example. You say, in effect, that you don’t give a fig for a man’s country of birth and that distinctions of that kind were not (and are not) an issue for you and others as schoolboys. That would also be my position. But then you say that the good professor was, to you, “BAJAN”, that the author is “BAJAN” (despite her south London accent), that you would die for the shared values (you what?) of BIM and so on. Now which is it?

    It is the kind of contradiction in your first post (I think). You say you haven’t read the book but eulogize it because it was promoted by a trusted friend. You then tell us what it’s about, why it’s important to us, why it has the potential for greatness, why it is a work of art (who cares whether it’s poetry or prose) and all the rest. You don’t see the difficulty?


    How nice to see you. Look – I know you wear bedsocks. I also know they are orange bedsocks.

  42. Somewhere above I canvassed the case for greater prominence being given to local writers. As chance would have it, I saw today the piece in yesterday’s Nation by Harry Russell at page 8. In the final paragraphs he says much the same thing but with greater insight, and refers, in particular, to the frustration which must be felt by local writers at the “paltry support” given to them by the reading public (I suppose it exists).

    Which leads me again to say how grateful I feel for this post and I hope there will be more like it and irrespective of whether we can match Cyprian’s enthusiasms.

  43. So wait Ross
    …you is Sherlock Holmes now…?
    You don’t think wunna carrying this book thingy too far…? the woman write a book … Horay!!
    Cyprian probably like the girl…what he has to read the book for…?

    …just PRAY that ac don’t get any bright ideas ’bout writing nuh damn book…. 🙂

  44. buush tea i already wrote a book. called Barbados Above Ground… expose…. with u the lead character,,,,,,,,,,,,,BTW i would never guess that amused wore orange bed socks , could it be that they glow in the dark……

  45. All I can say is….. VOICE OF FIRE…..three stripes on a canvas that the Canadian art museum paid a 1.8 million for. We poor mortals that can never understand the meaning behind these works, must be satisfied with the explanation from the people who can dissect the pain , the hurt the exhilaration behind the brush strokes that were able to make this masterpiece. If not for these people I would have spent that money on something stupid like a new mri machine at the childrens hospital. So to those with the that incredible insight that saved me from myself.Thankyou

  46. On March 29th Amy Wilentz writing in the New York TImes called Andrea Stuart’s book astounding…minutely researched history…fiery magic of this book…a colorful and complicated narrative…The book is full of wonderful characters…One of the many pleasures of “Sugar in the Blood”…But the book’s importance consists not only in such vivid and specific retellings …There is not a single boring page in this book…this powerful book

  47. @lawson December 9, 2013 at 8:06 PM “Sugar was around for thousands of years”

    Wrong lawson.

    Commercial sugar production is only a few hundred years old. Transatlantic slavery was developed to produce sugar.

    Before that time a few ric people and a few country people got a litle bee honey.

    The rest got nothing to sweeten their mouths.

    Why do you think that the whole world is struggling with a sharp rise in diabetes.

    Our bodies have not yet evolved to handle the huge quantities of sugar in modern societies.

    Of course some sugar now is made from sugar beet and from corn.

    But even so corn/maize is a New World crop and was unknown in Europe, Asia or Africa , or Australia until after 1492.

    For hundreds of years form about 1600 to 1850 sugar was the crack cocaine of the age. Very expensive, much coveted. People would do anything to get it and to get the money flowing from it, including enslaving other human beings

  48. Simple Simon to say that sugar cane only came about a few hundred years ago is nonsense ,what do you think the sugarcane was found growing wild in Barbados? if you are talking about the industrial revolution that upped production for a craving Europe that falls in your date bracket I agree. So was it the slaves, the technology or the machinery that produced this bumper sugar crops that Britain was built on?.
    Some sugar comes from beets ,,,,,,how about 60%

  49. Dear lawson:

    I said commercial sugar production…Of course the sugar cane is very old, but there is a big difference between sucking a piece of sugar cane and commercial sugar producton

    @lawson “So was it the slaves, the technology or the machinery that produced this bumper sugar crops that Britain was built on?.”

    It was the enslaved people who produced the bumper sugar crops that Britain was built on.

    Wasn’t much machinery…my own father as a boy fed a sugar windmill…brutal hard labour.

  50. @everybody

    Indeed I have written a lot, and I do apologize for boring any of you. And BTW I have never met the good lady or have no grand design to win her affections either. To be clear also I am not enthusiastic about the book because it comes recommended by a friend,. I only used that as a frame of reference from which I can with a measure of confidence draw certain (but definitely not all) conclusions.

    Again I must go back to this. You are missing my point to a certain degree. I didn’t start this to really discuss the book. As I say again and again, each piece of cloth in the shop has its owner. You can pass judgement love it or loth it for yourself. What interest me is THE CONVERSATION that it promotes about SLAVERY! About the links that exist between us and them. Between now and then. The chains that bind us irrevocably to a (buried) past.
    As the author said in her interview her intent was to give voice to those forgotten voices. To keep THEM alive!

    So for me this is NOT to be treated as a history book. It is not really about facts and figures and first hand accounts of events so you can quote regurgitate and pass an exam! It is about something far more transcendental, about preserving emotion and passing THAT down through the generations.

    Even after the invention of writing, history has always been recorded and handed down from generation to generation through story. Through voice and around a warm intimate fire on a cold dark night under the same stars that their ancestors saw.
    That connection is what is important to me and that needs to be preserved. It’s not just about the story but everything surrounding it.

    Why are we so afraid to look at ourselves in the mirror of slavery? Especially not here in Barbados that was at the absolute center of probably the worst inhumanity ever known to man for CENTURIES? I have been on this planet for 51 years. I can’t begin to imagine existing under the conditions and knowing nothing else.
    We can’t forget that. We mustn’t forget that.
    That’s what is important to me.

  51. “Sugar and Slaves” by Richard Dunn is another book worth a read.

    I think that the similar books on show an effort by various authors to discover what were the historical themes (perhaps theme) that made us what we are today.

    Each one is providing a product with a slight variation on the accepted themes but I think most, if not all fail to arrive at a single theme and reflect naturally, the author’s bias.

    They are all no doubt diligently researched and well written but I do not find any that really come to grips with the actual people who lived at the time.

    Historians love generalisations and to be able to state in a few sentences how things worked at the time they are researching but it just isn’t possible with the human condition, there is always an element of entropy.

    In addition, the customs and mores of a particular era are a part of a continuum and have origins from well before the era being researched.

    The American experience with slavery is quite different from the Barbadian experience, or for that matter the experience in Jamaica, Haiti or Guadeloupe.

    This makes for an almost limitless source of material on which to write.

    In today’s world, internet databases on genealogy bring a new fresh dimension to historical research and threaten many of the past held sacrosanct ideas.

    I like the opportunity for empirical research the internet gives to the average John Public. As I have said in the past, I don’t trust historians to get it right!!

    • @John

      A how can a definitive theme be fleshed out if much of the research material is extracted from records created by the a whites. There must of necessity be author biase.

  52. The white plantation owners had many questions: how was the conspiracy hatched? how did Bussa and his friends manage to keep it secret in an island as small as Barbados? Can such incidents happen again? There was one decision though: such incidents should not happen once again and for that draconian disciplinary measures were enforced by the British military. Captive and unlucky slaves were summarily executed. Some were shot, some hanged and inspired by the Spanish Inquisition, some slow roasted over fire. The hanged men were left as is to decompose in the heat. Torture and executions were done publicly to intimidate the survivors and force them into compliance.
    – See more at:

  53. @John

    A how can a definitive theme be fleshed out if much of the research material is extracted from records created by the a whites. There must of necessity be author biase.

    The data which gives rise to a particular theme to which I refer are found in parochial Baptismal, marriage and burial records which are in themselves incomplete. Some gaps can be plugged by the data contained in secular wills and deeds.

    This data continues to be kept ….. by the relevant authorities at it was from the year dot.

    Did you know that like most slaves at the time that records of numerous (I am beginning to think most) “whites” as you call them do not exist in the parochial baptismal and marriage registers?

    This occurs because many (I think most) “whites” were not members of the Anglican Church and did not get baptized period and were not married in the Anglican Church!!!!

    Thus, if you look at burials vs baptisms at the time of the 1689 census you will find that there were almost twice the amount of burials as there were baptisms.

    This I think is because most “whites” did not get baptized in the Anglican Church at the time!!

    Fewer slaves did either!!

    I think this realization is the beginning of the understanding how Barbados became Barbados and is the beginning of arriving at what I believe is a definitive theme.

    In other words, it is the absence of data rather than its presence which leads me to this conclusion!!

    Historians peruse the empirical records looking for themes as presented therein and then write their conclusions, which we then read. I am saying I think they have missed a, perhaps the, basic theme because of the absence of records.

    Sometimes what is not there is as important as what is!!

    Thus, it is the absence of records, not the presence of records which I think is the key.

  54. @John
    Thank you. At last we can begin THE discussion with meaning.
    Although everything you said is correct remember this is not about searching for the one perfect book or grand overarching thread that best ties everything into one neat convenient package. Rather than speaking of bias first, I choose to say ” perspective”. In that bias is something that will naturally reveal itself in any (opinionated) work. And that will again naturally come because EVERYONE has a different perspective. Both from the points of view that author and order their own character as well as those characters they pen.
    As to the comments way before with respect to this forum NOT being the proper place for intelligent discussion or to present (learn-ed) arguments.
    Why not? Where is a better place? At the University? When is a better time? When my ” betters” bring discussion to the fore and discuss it in the precincts of parliament?
    As far as I am concerned this is the type of discussion I expect to have each and every time I especially take my time to write.
    If I want to “hook up” and talk foolishness then Instagram and Twitter and Facebook is for that. To me this forum should not just be about complaining and bitching and venting and trying to see who can out insult who. Don’t get me wrong, if that is what floats your boat then I would never be a spoil sport and get in between that. But I expect more. I expect a lot more. Maybe I expect indeed too much!
    I find it fascinating that we are so easy to speak and say but not stop and solve.
    What are the solutions to our (little) problems? What must WE do to achieve the desired outcomes? Where do we start?
    Maybe with intelligent conversation.


  55. David

    We all have our subconscious bias’ and some conscious bias’. You do. I do. And Beckles? A machine has a bias too – if it’s programmed that way.

    Which, of course, raises the question: ‘What IS a FACT of history?’

  56. Cyprian

    ‘The comments way above about this place not being a place for intelligent discussion’

    Now Cyprian – where exactly was that?

  57. Cyprian speaks of the value of an oral tradition – and he has a point. BUT how often does a story (a version of events) become embellished in the telling?

    Consider the Gospels. The earliest is reckoned to have been written roughly 40 years after Jesus’ death. How then do we KNOW we have his authentic words? Well, we don’t and there is no contemporary ‘sayings’ Gospel (other than a hypothesis and leaving aside Thomas which most think was second century – though not, in fact, me).

  58. Fox

    You can’t imagine how close you are to unraveling the mess our historians have made of our history.

    Your choice of moniker is inspired!!

    Ask yourself WHY is it the 1816 uprising took more than a century to come to fruition?

    If you look simply at the outcome and not what is missing the theme will pass you by!!

    Very often what is missing is what is important!!

    • @John

      See Cyprian’s comment. The biase or perspective to use Cyprian’s euphemism must be accepted as a reality based on the source records were created. It is therefore critical to get as many ‘narratives’ in play so that we (especially Black people) can plot overlaps to test for truth.

  59. @robert
    VERY often! But so what? Are you looking to read a history book for facts then buy a history book for that! But what importance is fact unless it informs the present?

    And that is not me trying to be contradictory. You can read for the sheer pleasure of the words as they appear on the page. You can read to learn for the sake of expanding your mind and being able to impress your friends on Jeapordy. Or you can read to learn something about a past to inform action in the future. How much does “accuracy” really matter all the time? 1864 as opposed to 1863? He went left at the battle of Hastings instead of the right? It’s all about the IMPORTANT message that you want to take away.

    That’s why I am not worried particularly about bias. It’s like expecting a Christian to write something other than “his” bible. Did a diminutive David really slay the giant Goliath with a pebble? What’s the important point you need from the story?


  60. @robert Ross
    Your 9:38 comment to john on the 10th.about presenting and defending a learned paper. What is that BUT INTELLIGENT conversation?

  61. David I was wondering like in the movie theaters you could put a rating on each article posting. A IQ rating if you will with a bare minimum for each one so I know which ones I can write into. Not knowing the people it is hard for me to tell if they really are that pompous, or arrogant .with a major sense of importance or just having fun. Clearly it is not my intent to offend any massive cranium contributor and add to his lifetime of pain as I sense he and the other Kolij boys (you know they called them that ) were beaten up regularly. If it helps, I am sorry to have said anything about a book that neither of us has read.

  62. @ Lawson
    If it is I (me) who are one of these KOLIJ boys who. prompted your comment above as I said before, I really do apologize.
    As I also said before.
    We dun talking bout dat ever since!

  63. In the pursuit of truth we ought to consider the words of the philosoher Jacob Bronowski, when states that: ” There is no absolute knowledge. And those who claim it, whether scientists or dogmatists, open the door to tragedy. All information is IMPERFECT, we have to treat it with humility. That is that human condition.”

    Or we can also consider the philosophical words of the German existentialist philosopher Karl Jasper, when he states: “As we question reality, we confront borders that an EMPIRICAL or SCIENTIFIC – METHOD, simply cannot transcend.”

  64. Consider the words of the existentialist philosopher Soren Kierkegaar, when he tells us that, ” Life can only be understood backwards but have to be live forward.”

  65. So we have before us a compilation of different philosophical perspectives, that speaks to the nature of FACT, and how ought to regard its integrity.

  66. In the famous words of Philosofur Jason Price ‘ Life is an experience-Live it. Life is a mystery; solve it. Life is an adventure ; have it

  67. Cyprian

    I must ask you again…..where was it said (other than by you) that this was not a place for intelligent conversation? Mind – given your thesis about the irrelevance of facts, I suppose it really doesn’t matter whether it WAS said or not.

    Of course I am gratified that anything I may have said to John is regarded by you as intelligent; and so, since you have every confidence in my capacity for the same, will you now direct your mind to the point I made about the Gospels – or, again, don’t you think it matters whether Jesus said those things or not? Of course, I’m not concerned about whether it was a pebble, or a brick, or a punch in the throat. Whichever it was hardly adds to the fund of human knowledge in your sense.

    On the question of chasing truth through facts – at no point did I suggest that, with Mr Gradgrind, all I want is facts. But then, again, accuracy does seem to have a poor record with you. Do you really prefer ‘spin’?

  68. Fenty wrote

    “There is no absolute knowledge and those who claim it….open the door to tragedy”.

    Is that aphorism, metaphor or a claim to a universal, absolute knowledge? If the last then you’re in for a rough time.

  69. @ross
    Ok my friend. You want to go down that road, let’s take a walk on the wild side.
    Let’s say that Jesus NEVER said or did ANY of the things claimed in that ridiculous work of fiction called “the Bible”!

    What does this mean for all the world?
    True believer, non believer or for those caught somewhere in between – Will everything now change and their world come crashing down around their ears?
    Because of the dreadful lie that was Jesus are now the messages and values and interpretations in this fiction now invalid and in serious need of rethought? Come let anarchy reign!! Will this be the new rallying cry!
    What now?

  70. @ross
    And what happens Mr Ross when you ” add to the fund of human knowledge”? Will we become Gods any faster because we have now increased this fund and have “accurate” information? Will all future religious wars now cease because one side or another has absolutely and irrefutably been proven wrong?

    Or even maybe a more important question. Will whatever you uncover in your exhaustive research change the past?
    Will it bring back the millions upon millions of lives lost when you “discover” that the Gospels aren’t really gospel at all?
    No Mr. Ross.

    What may change may be your perspective on the past and your informed action in the future. But if that action is so ONLY predicated on the accuracy of this particular STORY then I suggest you have a far deeper problem than I can solve.

    Accuracy CAN be important. Build a bridge, you better get the numbers right. You want to go somewhere in particular you better know left from right. But accuracy is obviously NOT always necessary.
    So enlighten me. Are your precious Gospels accurate or not?


  71. Ross, these philosophical quotes were merely introduced to add some meaure of vivacity, to what I thought was a less than interesting confabulation. And whether rightfully concieved or wrongfully interpreted, their only serves as a medium through which to inform our thinking as to the thinking of others.

  72. @ross
    We can spend all night and all day for the rest of your entire life running after accuracy. You can learn something new about the past every second of that entire life and still not get to one percent of everything there is to know. To what point? What really matters is what you DO with what you Do know.

  73. Cyprian

    Is there a chance – just a chance – that as this post develops you might just be beginning to utter priggish platitudes?

    Jesus and the crashing world – yes it would for some – but then you give the game away once you refer to the Bible as a “ridiculous work of fiction”. Of course for you, given that premise (upon which I don’t comment), the stars could never be budged from their courses and so you seek to impress your values on what you take to be the values of others or those values YOU SAY they should have, as you repeatedly tell us, busily shifting your ground as you go. I firmly believe you may have missed your vocation. Do you want to join me in Belmont Road?

    Do you want to “become a God” Cyprian? Forgive me for mentioning it. I do so only because you do. Of course, you must understand that for me the whole of life only makes sense if the sun orbits the earth. What about you?


    Yes I realize what you were about. I made the point simply to show, however, that there is a danger in confusing aphorism with exegesis. As for your remark about “a less than interesting confabulation”, I think you have a very strong case and so I’m going to join Lawson at Harry’s. Come if you like.

  74. If you were thinking of writing a book about Mohammed perceived accuracy may be the order of the day. Robert you are more than welcome. but nobody goes to those strip clubs anymore…. they don’t like to stand in line.

  75. @robert
    Mr Ross, what are you talking about? What has anything I said got to do about me and MY personal beliefs?

    Where did I say I was or was not a Christian or Jew or Buddhist or animist or atheist or anything for that matter? I asked YOU to IMAGINE a particular situation, one that YOU opened the door to and this is how you behave? asking me or rather TELLING me that I have a desire to be a “God”!
    And you want to pretend THAT constitutes intelligent discussion?
    I have NEVER told you what you should believe in? I don’t care. If you choose to accept the word as gospel that is YOUR choice. But it is the fact that you seem to even lack the capacity to question or imagine an alternate scenario that merely involved your beliefs is what disturbs me.
    For you the whole of life only makes sense if the sun orbits the earth -and by implication does the earth orbit you??-
    Do I want to be a “God”? Short answer. None of your business.
    Why don’t you respond to the question I originally asked you? What IF…?


  76. BT

    By letting it go or cutting it over the heads of slips for six. But for me now, BT, it’s close of play and so I wish everyone here, and most especially Cyprian whom I respect and who has taken up a job offer in Belmont Road, a very joyous Christ-Mass.

  77. @fenty
    Where we are now in our understanding of life is for me very interesting. Jasper is at once correct and (in my opinion) a little (misleadingly) incorrect.
    It (kinda) supposes that the possible methods of critical analysis are limited to either empirical or scientific. That’s why he can talk about borders posing a challenge.
    However what if there is a third that we now simply have to develop a new vocabulary to articulate it?
    Now I am really playing fast and loose with what I am pushing so don’t take everything I say to be “gospel”. But for example ever so often new words appear and old words from other languages enter the English language that describe concepts not previously characterized in western culture. The African word ” Ubuntu” is the newest for me that comes to mind.
    When I was taught basic physics there was this more or less universally accepted understanding that light could either be only a particle or a wave. Then Heinsburg introduced the strange idea you could accurately describe either one thing or the other but not both at the same time because observation of one affects the other. Then Schrodinger extends the weirdness that only when someone is looking will whatever being observed be compelled to choose a particular state of being. But what trumps all that is the idea introduced by quantum physics one thing can exist in two (or more) places at once. String theory has now introduced arguments for dimensions that exist beyond ours and conditions that existed before and mechanisms that drove the Big Bang!
    How can we describe the stuff of dreams and thoughts and things that embrace infinity? We see all these things, we know and experience all these things and can even speak in common tongue about these things but an actual description of what the hell we are talking about is still beyond our current vocabulary.


  78. @robert
    Merry Xmas to you too, and looking foreword to seeing you in a better place at another time. Even maybe this Belmont road you keep talking about!
    See ya

    • @Cyprian

      Now you are talking BBE talk. Many confuse temporal with a reality which is still unraveling for humankind.

  79. @Mark Fenty, robert Ross and cyprian.
    First of all cyprian, thanks for your recommendation on my eshua a.k.a. Jesus the Nazarene, scheduled for early in the new year.Should be of particular to the brainwashed and indoctrinated. I ampleased at your attempts to have meaningful discussion on this blog, instead of political cussing and swearing.

    Mark Fenty: and those who don’t know of the academic achievements of Barbadians . We have a Nobel Laureate among us; one of our own a Bajan, lecturing at Cave hill. I hope this is high enough for your liking.

    Dr. Leonard Nurse
    Tel: (246) 417-4344/4316 • Email:

    Dr. Leonard Nurse’s longstanding relationship with the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) shot him into the media spotlight, when the IPCC was jointly awarded the 2007 Nobel peace Prize for its contribution to climate change research. Dr. Nurse has been a member of the IPCC’s research and author team for four global assessment reports. In 2007, he was selected as Coordinating Lead Author by the IPCC for the chapter “Small Island States” in the fourth assessment report, titled Climate Change 2007. For his contributions Dr. Nurse received the Companion of Honour of Barbados. He was also the recipient of Barbados Centennial Honours (BCH), January 2001 and the Governor-General’s Award for the Environment, February 2001. Dr. Nurse, in addition to his commitment at UWI, functions in various professional capacities. He is appointed Barbados’ Special Envoy for the Environment (1999–present); is a member of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission Consulting Group for Capacity Building (August 2004–present); a member of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP) of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) of the World Bank (2002–present); and a council member, Bellairs Research Institute of McGill University (1991–present). He was also Vice-Chairman, Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO, Sub-Commission for the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions (IOCARIBE), 1995-2002. Prior to his appointment at Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies (CERMES), Dr. Nurse held the posts of Director, Coastal Zone Management Unit, Barbados, and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Government of Barbados. Dr. Nurse’s academic qualifications include a BSc (First-Class Hons. UWI, Mona, 1975); MSc (Memorial University, Newfoundland, Canada, 1979); PhD (McGill, 1987).
    Dr. Nurse is particularly concerned about the impacts of potential climate change and climate variability, with special focus on small island states; evaluation of climate change adaptation and mitigation measures, and their applicability to small islands; human impact on coastal dynamics and beach systems; methodologies for predicting coastal erosion and accretion rates in tropical low-energy environments.
    I would als refer you to the work of Dr. Carl Wade of MIT, and of Course Kamau Brathwaite and George Lamming. All highly acclaimed internationally for their work.

  80. @David,
    I wrote a
    @ cyprian; “thanks for your recommendation on my writing. If the contributors want to have a sense of contemporaty bajan history they could get these two books; The royal Palms Are Dying, and “The Wind Also Listens”,available at They are also invited to the upcoming book launch of “Yeshua a.k.a. Jesus the Nazarene” to take lace early in the new year. It would be interesting to get the reviews of those; the brainwashed and indoctrinated (hello GP, RR, etc.)

  81. @everybody
    You know something, after reviewing this entire conversation both about the book by Ms. Stuart and my subsequent observations on slavery, connections, and life itself , it strikes me that the African word I mentioned above goes a long way in describing a lot that I am talking about.
    For those unfamiliar with Ubuntu it is one of the ancient African philosophies and reasoned explanations of existence. The idea that I exist because of you. Actually even that it is what you and everyone else do , in the very act of doing it that “makes space in the universe” and allows me to exist.
    It is so amazingly opposed to a western philosophy centered on the individual being at the center of all things.
    “I think therefore I am.” Comes immediately to mind.
    What the book attempts to show is that one society exist only because of the actions of another. That it is her intent (and even more moral duty and human obligation) to make space for their dead voices to live today. What I attempt to argue is that it is our actions that are needed to ensure her success.
    I don’t exist in this universe alone. Of that I am pretty certain. So maybe is is not because we see the stars, but rather because the stars see us and we are allowed to exist.


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