Having been provoked, Ainsley, the ‘patient pedagogue’, threatens to produce ‘particularly painful punishment’. Telling the whole story of Jewish history in Jamaica is a dangerous business. It sometimes imprisons you in other people’s fictions.Next thing you know, I’m going to be labelled as ‘anti-Semitic’.Ainsley Henriques, honorary secretary of the United Congregation of Israelites in Jamaica, ought to know the African-Jamaican proverb, ‘Cock mouth kill cock’. In his opening sentences, Ainsley launches a childish attack on the messenger, not the message: “Your columnist Professor Carolyn Cooper reminds me of the lines often given to recalcitrant school boys. It’s not only black people in Jamaica who know that sometimes words have to be eaten. In a Gleaner article headlined, “Jews The Victims of Slavery, Too”, published on Friday, August 3, Ainsley gives a most peculiar response to my column, “Jews and Plantation Slavery in the Caribbean”, published on July 8.But how is this history different from the other long stories that are compressed and told on those same poster boards?Furthermore, Ainsley shamelessly switches the topic from the role of Jews as agents in the enslavement of African people.‘Playing Fool Fi Ketch Wise’ The final paragraph of Ainsley Henriques’ response to my column is rather disturbing.
How, in Jehovah’s name, could the word ‘minimal’ be appropriate in this context?
Pontius Pilate Several years ago, on a visit to the magnificent National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City, I had a little catch-up with our tour guide.
We were in the Gulf of Mexico Hall, looking at Olmec artefacts.
Having sold their human ‘cargo’ and counted the profit, Jewish traders simply washed their hands of the whole sordid affair, just like Pontius Pilate.
And then there were those Jews who did own slave plantations.
Once you get past the tongue-twisting alliteration, what Ainsley seems to be saying is this: my insistence that Jews played a major role in plantation slavery in Jamaica is ‘persistent perversity’.