Epub Richard Price ä Epub Alabi's World eBook æ ä freepe.co

In the early 18th century the Dutch colony of Suriname was the envy of all others in the Americas There seven hundred Europeans lived off the labor of over four thousand enslaved Africans Owned by men hell bent for uick prosperity the rich plantations on the Suriname river became known for their heights of planter comfort and opulence and for their depths of slave misery Slaves who tried to escape were hunted by the planter militia If found they were publicly tortured A common punishment was for the Achilles tendon to be removed for a first offense the right leg amputated for a second Resisting this cruelty first in small numbers then in an ever increasing torrent slaves began to form outlaw communities until nearly one out of every ten Africans in Suriname was helping to build rebel villages in the jungleAlabi's World relates the history of a nation founded by escaped slaves deep in the Latin American rain forest It tells of the black men and women's bloody battles for independence their uneasy truce with the colonial government and the attempt of their great leader Alabi to reconcile his people with white law and a white God In a uniue historical experiment Richard Price presents this history by weaving together four voices the vivid historical accounts related by the slaves' descendants largely those of Alabi's own villagers the Saramaka; the reports of the often exasperated colonial officials sent to control the slave communities; the otherworldly diaries of the German Moravian missionaries determined to convert the heathen masses; and the historian's own mediating voiceThe Saramaka voices in these pages recall a world of powerfulspirits called obia's and renowned heroes great celebrations and fierce blood feuds They also recall with unconcealed relish successes in confounding the colonial officials and in bending the treaty to the benefit of their own people From the opposite side of the negotiations the colonial Postholders speak of the futility of trying to hold the village leaders to their vow to return any further runaway slaves Eually frustrated the Moravian missionaries describe the rigors of their proselytising efforts in the black villages places of licentiousness and idol worship that seemed to be a foretaste of what hell must be like Among their only zealous converts was Alabi who stood nearly alone in his attempts to bridge the cultural gap between black and white defiantly working to lead his people on the path toward harmony with their former enemiesFrom the confluence of these voices set throughout the book in four different typefaces Price creates a fully nuanced portrait of the collision of cultures It is a confrontation he suggests that was enacted thousands of times across the slaveholding Americas as white men strained to suppress black culture and blacks resisted determined to preserve their heritage and beliefs


10 thoughts on “Alabi's World

  1. says:

    Alabi's World concerns Maroon history of Suriname a small country in the northern part of South America In general the word Maroon refers to people who escaped European slavery in the Americas or the Caribbean and established their own communities often with the help of native peoples The book deals even specifically with the history of one particular Maroon tribe the Saramakas and one of their forefathers the titular Alabi who still live along the Saramacca River in Suriname I employ here a common spelling variant of the tribe's name useful in distinguishing references to the people from the geographical region The Saramakas' founders lived in slavery in Dutch colonial Suriname Beginning in the seventeenth century these ancestors of today's Saramakas fled captivity primarily though not exclusively from Jewish owned plantations into the surrounding forests and waged a war of liberation against the colonists Methods of Maroon warfare included freuent raids on plantations destruction of property and the freeing of additional slaves The Maroons of Suriname including the Saramakas were so successful in interrupting the economic life of the Dutch colony evading capture and assimilating new escapees into their communities that the Dutch sought a peace treaty with them in 1762 a full century before general emancipation in Suriname As Alabi's World depicts post treaty life for the Saramakas was still difficult and fraught with challenges to keep the peace and maintain their freedom to provide for themselves and to retain their culture in the face of conversion and acculturation efforts by Christian missionaries And while I have strayed to the topic Saramakan culture contained a uniue amalgam of practices language rituals and art from a number of sources diverse African peoples including Dahomey Loango and Yoruba among many others Native Americans primarily Arawak and even from the European cultures represented in Suriname Dutch Belgian Moravian missionaries Jewish planters et al This distinctive hybrid culture persists to this day and remains dynamic By the time of Price's writing in 1990 Saramakan culture maintained many aspects that would have been familiar to their eighteenth century forebears Though Price observes the culture had certainly begun to change under the influences of technological modernization as well as political and social conflicts that have troubled Suriname since its alarmingly recent independence from the Netherlands in 1975Even in 1990 the Saramakas yet maintained vivid and intricate oral histories of their tribe's origins Price learned these histories through several years he spent living among the Saramakas and they comprise the nucleus of Alabi's World He cross referenced these detailed oral histories with written primary sources produced by Dutch bureaucrats of the period and by German Moravian missionaries who proselytized to the eighteenth century Maroon communities of SurinameOver the course of years Price accumulated compared and interpreted an astonishing amount of source material written and oral to meticulously lay out the story of the Saramakas during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries within the pages of Alabi's World Unusually but compellingly for an academic work of this kind Price uses his own interpretive narrative only sparingly instead favoring large sections of direct uotations from the oral histories of modern Saramakas which he gleaned through personal conversation in most cases from the bureaucratic documents left behind by Dutch postholders and from the journals letters and memoirs of Moravian missionaries stationed in Suriname during the eighteenth century Additionally extensive endnotes occupy a full half of the book and not merely endnotes full of citations but full of narrative lengthy uotations from Price's primary sources and relevant images You will want to read each and every one of these notesSagely Price chose the liminal figure Alabi as his focal point upon which to balance the broader story of the Saramaka and colonialism in Suriname For Alabi converted to Christianity one of the first among his people to do so He developed sympathy for the white folks in Suriname and feelings of pacifism But for over 30 years he also served as tribal chief over the Saramaka and the other Maroon tribes of the area most of whom remained non Christian Thus he had to arbitrate over internal conflicts and represent his people to the Dutch and Moravians even while feeling increasingly distant from his people and their religion A convergence of cultures created Alabi and his difficult situation of constant negotiation between those cultures In a number of ways he embodies the broader tensions and conflicts evident in colonialism itself cross cultural interaction power relationships between cultures self identity and crafting of the Other freedom of self determination finding and preserving a sense of home and belonging Alabi's World tells a captivating and freuently harrowing story Moreover Price exhibits great evenhandedness and empathy in his presentation of this historical moment in Suriname's colonial history while dealing forthrightly and untimidly with the racism and violence displayed by colonialists missionaries and Saramakas alike though displayed in different degrees and for different reasons unuestionably I have never read any work of history or anthropology like this and am eager to explore of Richard Price's works many of which also deal with the Saramakas The lack of jargon and focus on primary sources also makes Alabi's World an engaging read even for a casual readerAlthough Dutch administered Suriname also was the site of the plantations of colonists from many European nations


  2. says:

    Price's discourse concerns the cultural confrontation between the Saramakas and the Colonials of Surniame There is no thesis or arguement in this book The author uses post modern methods through out the text to show this cultural confrontation Price treats the subject matter with a holistic perspective and that is why there is no index to this monograph The primary sources are awsome Price uses these sources then his own narrative for the discourse A good book since the reader can gain the perspective of how the Saramakas saw themselves and how they were seen