In Jamaica Kincaid’s story A Small Place, she explores the reality of Antigua through tourism, colonialism, and present-day Antigua. Kincaid uses different tones and even in the first section addressed ‘you’ to make the reader feel affected, displaced or uncomfortable. Kincaid expressed anger towards the colonialism that she experienced while growing up in Antigua and goes on to explain how it has molded the corruption of modern-day Antigua.
Kincaid argues that there are so many fundamental issues with developing countries such as Antigua because of European colonialism. Just as we read in Things Fall Apart, the colonizers treated the natives terribly- enslavement, murder, imprisonment. Just like the village of Umuofia was taught and told that Europe was a place of elegance and beauty, so was Kincaid told while growing up in Antigua; although, in both examples the colonizers were the exact opposite with their rude and brutal treatment.
Kincaid goes on to argue that due to their poor leadership and governance under colonial rule, it set a bad example of how the country should be ran after gaining independence. It led Antigua to be susceptible to the corruption that now rules the island. Additionally, when the colonial control withdrew their forces, the country was left with very little making it harder to succeed as an independent country. The corrupt government hides its struggles with the flock of tourism to their pristine beaches and perfect weather.
This essay does a great job inspiring conversation about identity, power and injustice. Can you see the connections? The Antiguan identity being falsely molded by colonialism and tourism. The corrupt nature of power in modern day Antigua. The injustice served by their corrupt governors and the injustices left when the colonizers retreated home. There are so many more unexplored avenues of this story. Kincaid writes in such a way to make you feel uncomfortable but in such a way that the displacement is eye-opening.
Since Christopher Columbus landed and “discovered” America, its native people have been treated as the Other. Without diving into the many past and current injustices that have been and are imposed on Native Americans, there is one specific systemic injustice that can be again linked to a lack of importance and urgency within the judicial system. Faith Hedgepeth was a co-worker, fellow student at the University of North Carolina, and a friend of mine. She was raped and murdered in 2012, a huge devastation to our small college town. Although the police have appeared to work diligently and still reassure us the case is still being worked on, the killer is still at large. Her death led me to learn about the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) movement. There are alarming statistics that highlight the epidemic of MMIW. Indigenous women are ten times more likely to be murdered than any other demographic; Indigenous women are more than twice as likely to be the victim of a violent crime than any other demographic. What is most alarming about these statistics, is that they only report a small percentage of crimes against indigenous women. The Urban Indian Health Institute conducted various studies to gather information to compare numbers to those (like the ones above) given by our government and found that the rate of violence experienced by these women were much higher than reported. For example, the institute found there to be over 5,700 cases of MMIW but only 116 of these women were placed on the United States’ Department of Justice missing persons list. There are specific shortcomings that try to give reasons why the government failed to protect our these women including jurisdiction issues between government and Native lands, lack of services including emergency care and amber alerts, lack of community awareness, and lack of communication between government officials and native people. A call for action is needed for our judicial system to protect and uphold the law of justice and fairness for all and to stop the othering of indigenous women. Below is a video for reference of the suffering and injustice these families are facing. To learn more and raise awareness, you can visit mmiwusa.org.
Fuzhou was built over 2200 years starting in 202 B.C. by the king of Yue kingdom. The city was not named Fuzhou until 725 A.D. and was named because of its region close to the mountains. The ancient Chinese believe mountains to be a sign of luck so the name can be broken down to understand it’s meaning- “fu” meaning luck and “zhou” meaning region. It is now the capital of southeastern China where it sits on the bank of the large Min River, very close to the East China Sea.
There were many changes established by different forms of power as dynasties rose and fell. During the Yuan Dynasty, the Fujian Administrative Institution was set up. About a century later, Zhu Yujin proclaimed himself emperor and settled in Fuzhou when he decided to change the name of the region from Fuzhou to Fujing. The Quig Dynasty in the 17th and into the 20th century officially set Fuzhou as the provincial capital.
Fuzhou prospered in the 16th century up to the 19th century as it was an important port for trade of tea. Western culture was introduced to the port in 1866 as it became a site for experimentation with technology and the Fuzhou Navy Yard was established. An arsenal was built under French guidance and a school opened that became the center of study for Western languages and technical studies.
It wasn’t until 1946 when Fuzhou was an official city. Fuzhou has continued to grow more recently since the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949. Fuzhou was liberated and became the capital of Fujian Province of China in 1949 as well. The city now makes many more exports now including industrial chemicals, processed food products, timber, electronics, paper, and other textiles. In 1984, the P.R.C. designated Fuzhou as one of China’s ‘open cities’ to invite foreign investments. It is not currently a popular tourist city, but offers beautiful scenes of mountains and rivers, historic temples, and relaxing gardens.