To Love the Land

Slave farmers


Marko, a Grenadian farmer, describes the human labor from “breast to death” that sustained the land and people as they toiled for colonizers from generation to generation, and how his “heart humped” when the young Grenadian, Maurice Bishop, came to power.  The old farmer’s hopes were pinned on the new government, which successfully initiated land reform and an educational and health care system geared to the needs of the Grenadian peasants.  Sadly, Marko’s reflections preceded the United States’ invasion of Grenada, resulting in the death of Bishop and his entire government cabinet.

Ah can’t tell you how long we wrestled with these hills and valleys from breast to death….this land makes you old before your time, grey hairs your life while you’re still young…and if it’s not one thing it’s the other—hurricane, landlords, drought, flood—farmers are going to have to make a better living or this country will die.  This is a country of youths, and yet the age of the average farmer is fifty-five…part of it is that before you can buy enough land to make a living you’re too old to work it well…but all that is changing.  The morning after Fairy fell, I heard Brother Bishop say, “This is a revolution for land, for jobs, for liberty,” and I felt my  old heart jump….This time, me, and all the farmers around, those with land and those without, are part of the settlement…we will take over the land from those who owned it since long time past days, and who used it so badly….Anyway, only He who created the land got a right to own it, land is for all of we….


Jan Carew, Fulcrums of Change, 158