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Rise and Fall of an Empire

A Progressive Caribbean

Jerome Teelucksingh

Rise and Fall of an Empire: A Progressive Caribbean emphasizes the significance of literature, media, history, slavery, culture and ideology which helped shape the Caribbean. This interdisciplinary work includes lesser known events, individuals and organizations that have emerged from colonialism and contributed to the foundations of a Caribbean Empire. Furthermore, these personalities and groups made valid contributions to the improvement and betterment of Caribbean societies. There are obvious contradictions within the Caribbean region that denote noteworthy progress whilst other indicators reflect a regression. Undoubtedly, these are features of a dynamic people and stable region that should be considered an Empire.

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4 Caribbean Responses to the Italian-Ethiopian War

Extract

Caribbean Responses to the Italian-Ethiopian War

George Lamming, the esteemed Barbadian writer, in his novel mentioned a British school inspector who defended Britain’s lack of involvement and the unfolding events in Ethiopia (Abysinnia):

We are living my dear boys in difficult times. We await with the greatest anxiety the news of what is happening on the other side of the world. Those of you who read the papers may have read of the war in Abysinnia. You may have seen pictures of the King of Ethiopia and the bigger boys may have wondered what it is all about. The British Empire, you must remember, has always worked for the peace of the world. This was the job assigned by God and if the Empire at any time failed to bring about that peace it was due to events and causes beyond its control.1

There was an element of truth in this fictional account. It was a historical moment in which persons of African descent, residing in the Caribbean, would rally to the cause of Ethiopia.

As early as June 1935, in a report published in England’s Sunday Times, Emperor Haile Selassie appealed to Britain for weapons to defend Ethiopia against a possible attack from Italy. His desperate plea ←67 | 68→for assistance received an overwhelming response from hundreds of British officers and members of the British Army who willingly offered their services to Ethiopia. These offers were forwarded to Ethiopia’s War Ministry.2...

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