Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 6th 2016 Contents B2
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, October 6, 2016
From Page B1
You understand what I am say-
ing? So it is not for me to question
the construct of anyone s belief. If
you have your belief, then I am
happy for you because you can t
go through life without a belief.
So whether it is Hindus, Mus-
lims, Presbyterians, other Chris-
tians, Rastafari, whatever, all of
them have a sense of belonging,
because we all have a desire to align
our soul with easy passage after
this life. So you can t question what
somebody s root is.
Now for Rastafarians and Mus-
lims---they do not eat pork; but
Catholics might love their roast
pork. The Hindus might love the
pork but not the beef. So if it is
that you want to impress two Indo-
Trinidadians when you inviting
them for dinner, you have to find
out what religion they are, to be
able to know what menu to put on
the table. Because you might give
the Hindu beef! And you might
give the Muslim pork!
The overarching image is that
we are all Trinidadians, but that
unity only comes together for
sports, or events like that. That s
when you see it the most, when
there might be a nationalistic
awareness that comes with it.
But outside of that, you re going
to have the interest groups. It
could be a social or a religious
group, like Asja or the Rastafarians.
The Emancipation Committee
reflects awareness of African cul-
ture. The Sanatan Dharma Maha
Sabha is tied to understanding
So race is just one aspect of a
shifting complexity of identities.
How long have you/your family
had roots here (best estimate)?
Generations. In the case of my
Amerindian grandmother, cen-
three. My great-grandmother was
from Pubjab, Pakistan. My grand-
mother was born here, in Trinidad,
so she was a first-generation
Trinidadian. My mother was born
On my father s side, my
Amerindian grandmother was born
in 1884 in Aroquita in Caura. Her
name was Bascilicion de Leon.
Then four brothers came from
Spain via Venezuela, and she mar-
ried one of them. That union pro-
duced Rafael Arias Cairi Llama de
Leon---The Roaring Lion, who was
my father. He named me Hadzrat
Rahab ibn Llama de Leon.
So you notice he took an Arabic
word (ibn) which means "son of"---
so I am "son of Llama." So my
name is actually Hadzrat Rahab.
In Trinidad, we often confuse
or oversimplify people s actual her-
itage. For instance, we call many
people "Syrian," and are totally
oblivious to who actually came
from Syria or from Lebanon, whose
ancestors are fighting against one
another. It is really family fighting
against one another.
In much the same way, you may
call many people "Indian," without
realising that Pakistan and India
have nuclear warheads pointing at
So how au courant are we with
what we are really talking about?
What do you like and dislike
about T&T culture?
I like the underlying love
between the people. And I think
that comes from our party men-
tality. There s an underlying
togetherness amongst Trinidadi-
ans, which you may see more
when you travel, and you interface
with the diaspora.
Here in Trinidad, when the
house on fire, or when de car run
off de road, nobody stops to find
if is an African or an Indian driver.
Look the two guys who dive in
the river and saved someone in
Caroni some months ago, no one
needed to know what party card
the man had. I think that is what
I like most about Trinidadians.
But no one is infallible. As I
sometimes say, nothing is wrong
with Trinidad---it is Trinidadians
who are the problem. But that is
when I look at areas such as
national security, where we always
argue with the minister and the
commissioner and this and that
and the other, but the real problem
You know, climate, and place,
influence culture. For instance,
when you walk down the streets
in England, no one is watching you
in your eye because they are walk-
ing fast up the road, because it is
cold. Whereas in tropical countries,
we walk more relaxed, it is warm,
and we tend to know and greet
everybody. But in cold countries,
they may not even know their
neighbours. They don t have our
If you have a pit bull in North
America, he lives inside with you;
the mailman, the milkman, your
girlfriend, your boyfriend, they
are all at risk when they come
through that door. Now if you take
that same pit bull and put him in
Trinidad: he lives in the yard, he
knows the rubbish truck, he knows
the children going to school, he
might know the neighbour, he
knows the woman who walks up
the hill. So the same pit bull has
a different socialisation because
The same thing with us. And
these little things seep into your
persona to create the whole.
Rahab, proud to be a dougla
The overarching image is that we are all Trinidadians, but that unity only comes together for sports, or events
like that. That's when you see it the most, when there might be a nationalistic awareness that comes with it.
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