Novel Thomas

About the Author Novel Thomas

Novel is a well-respected columnist and a foundation member of the CONTACT team. He graduated from Concordia University’s English department. His writing is insightful and thought-provoking.

Commentaries

Never out of sight, but always out of mind

OUR PARADOXICAL CIRCUMSTANCE Late last year, a half-hour preview of Montreal’s 375th anniversary celebrations, which runs throughout 2017, was televised on the local CTV outlet. It was a showcase of the city: “founding peoples” (in this case, French and English people, none of the ‘original’ peoples), places of interest and what to expect the duration of the 375th birthday celebration. One thing that I took away from the preview video was the absence of so-called “people of colour,” (“visible minorities…), or, to use another descriptive in modern Quebec parlance re. people who are neither French nor English, “Cultural Communities.” After …

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Commentaries

IT’S NOT SUCH A WONDERFUL WORLD

The problem is uncivilized nations and people with funny names who continue to test the established international status quo. They invariably elicit the wrath of the “civilized nations” of the world. In 1967, jazz great Louis Armstrong recorded a song “What A Wonderful World.” Over the years that song has been featured in several movie soundtracks and TV programs, and has also been covered by various recording artists. Occasionally, it can be heard on radio. It goes without saying that the lyrics of “What A Wonderful World” are not only beautiful, but also meaningful, making it easy on the ears. …

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Commentaries

The Ties Will Always Bind So What Else Can We Be?

So as life continues to unfold, I maintain an interest in the continent of Africa. I wasn’t born there, and that’s a moot point, but I am of there by lineage. And despite all that has happened there throughout my lifetime, I haven’t… can’t become jaded. It’s a world I inherited a few decades ago, which has become increasingly crazy and messed up in this, the 21st century. And it’s unfolding, some say unraveling as it should, forcing people out of necessity to converge (and unite) around ideological issues of specific and common interest, such as race, culture, ethnicity, politics… …

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Commentaries

Our Continuing Trying Times…

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far go together.” I occasionally hear that adage used on certain radio and TV programs during discussions… And every time I hear it, it makes more and more sense. For various reasons I never get tired of hearing it; it’s resonant. Apparently, it’s an old African proverb the likes of that other popular one, “It takes a village…” which is widely used in discussions… Problem is I’m not quite sure if it truly originated on the African continent (and was appropriated, co-opted by others), but every time …

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Commentaries

It transcends February

AFRICAN… BLACK HISTORY Just like Black history has become the flavour of the month of February, I can’t separate the African history of the Caribbean, Latin America (especially Brazil), the nations of the South Pacific, North America and Europe from the continent of Africa. Diluted by time as Black history might’ve become in some places, the reality is always there to see… African history must therefore be addressed holistically. If what’s happening there, where it all began, does not resonate, then… That said, it truly is disheartening watching and reading the news coming out of a handful of African countries …

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Commentaries

Like shattered glass we must put our pieces together

A Fractured History A Fractious People In a global context, our history is not about little islands in the Caribbean, each with specific and unique customs and historical facts (like the region’s multi-racial, -ethnic composition, etc.). It’s not about the South Pacific’s or India’s Andaman Islands’ African peoples. It’s not about Europe’s peoples of African heritage, or North America’s African peoples, descendants of the slaves… Actually, our history is comprised of the totality – all those places along with (and most importantly) the primary source from which, centuries ago, our ancestors were forcibly extracted and stripped of those things that …

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Commentaries

THE HYPOCRISY OF RELIGION AND POLITICS…

The Religion… I went to Union United Church the end of January to worship, something I do occasionally. And each time I pull on that big brown door it’s with great expectations of hearing some “good news” from the pulpit and the good members of the Union family, especially that the seemingly endless contention, which has resulted in the polarization of the congregation, has finally ended, and that everyone is now on the same page, singing from the same Hymn book, and working cooperatively. So there I was. After greeting familiar folk I settled in for another Sunday session of …

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Commentaries

It’s code for exclusion

Peddling Values In recent years, a newfangled term has rooted itself into everyday public discourse: values. Not a day goes by that I do not hear. Canadian values, western values… and I imagine in Europe the term European values is been tossed around in the media on a daily basis. There was a time when the only thing that immediately came to mind when I hear the word was (in reference to) money: the price of commodities one wished to purchase and so on. Now it has taken on a new meaning; whenever I hear it it’s in reference to …

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Commentaries

It’s a world they’ve imposed on us

MORE OF THE SAME IN 2017 And as 2016 ground to a screeching halt there was a resounding sigh of relief around the world by that international constituency that still cares about how the world is revolving. It was because of all the wanton violence, especially in those regional pockets of the globe where images of people walking, running for their lives with sounds of explosions, raging fires, billowing smoke and mounds of rubble entombing the dead and dying – sometimes the mangled bodies were visible or covered with blankets – an almost daily news staple. Especially those tens of …

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Commentaries

So it’s the season of peace, Christmas

In addition to the Nobel Peace Prize and what it symbolizes, there should be one awarded to those nations and political leaders that have been, and continue to be, complicit in helping the vaunted Nobel Peace Prize, for whatever its worth, lose its glitter. It’s time to seriously consider such a yet-to-be-named prize. The Nobel thing is simply not living up to its billing… How so? Simply because for generations and all those years I have been living and hearing about (and coming to understand) the significance of the “prize” there hasn’t been any peace to think of. And at …

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