Carry On Friends: The Caribbean American Experience

Martine Powers: Creating 'The Empty Grave of Comrade Bishop'

June 11, 2024 Kerry-Ann Reid-Brown Season 2024 Episode 233
Martine Powers: Creating 'The Empty Grave of Comrade Bishop'
Carry On Friends: The Caribbean American Experience
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Carry On Friends: The Caribbean American Experience
Martine Powers: Creating 'The Empty Grave of Comrade Bishop'
Jun 11, 2024 Season 2024 Episode 233
Kerry-Ann Reid-Brown

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Embark on a remarkable journey through Caribbean history with us as we welcome Martine Powers, the senior host of the Washington Post Reports, as well as the host creator of the gripping series "The Empty Grave of Comrade Bishop." Martine's personal connection to the Caribbean, stemming from her Trinidadian heritage and family ties to Grenada, brings an intimate and profound perspective to the complex story of Maurice Bishop. Discover the intricate mysteries surrounding Bishop's execution and the enigmatic disappearance of his body, alongside speculations about possible US government involvement.

Creating this series was no small feat, and Martine's dedication shines through as she shares the challenges and triumphs faced over two years of meticulous reporting. Balancing her primary job, relentless travel, and the hustle of gathering credible sources, Martine's commitment to bringing Caribbean stories to life is nothing short of inspiring. Her journey underscores the cultural significance of accurate storytelling, especially for Caribbean Americans yearning to see their heritage represented with depth and authenticity.

Our conversation delves into the politically charged atmosphere of Grenada during Maurice Bishop's era, offering a nuanced view far removed from the stereotypical vacation paradise. Through compelling anecdotes and powerful interviews, we capture the intense experiences of those who lived through this turbulent time. We also shine a light on the often-overlooked histories of other Caribbean nations like Jamaica and Haiti, emphasizing the need for more stories that reflect the vibrant, resilient spirit of Caribbean people. Join us to uncover these untold narratives and gain a richer understanding of the Caribbean's multifaceted heritage.

Reference:


Connect with Martine Powers - Martine.Powers@washpost.com

Caribbean Legal Solutions is the easiest way to find an attorney in the Caribbean. Visit their website at caribbeanlegalsolutions.com 

Disclaimer: This podcast ad contains general information about Caribbean Legal Solutions and is not intended as legal advice.  Always consult with a qualified attorney for legal advice specific to your situation.

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Embark on a remarkable journey through Caribbean history with us as we welcome Martine Powers, the senior host of the Washington Post Reports, as well as the host creator of the gripping series "The Empty Grave of Comrade Bishop." Martine's personal connection to the Caribbean, stemming from her Trinidadian heritage and family ties to Grenada, brings an intimate and profound perspective to the complex story of Maurice Bishop. Discover the intricate mysteries surrounding Bishop's execution and the enigmatic disappearance of his body, alongside speculations about possible US government involvement.

Creating this series was no small feat, and Martine's dedication shines through as she shares the challenges and triumphs faced over two years of meticulous reporting. Balancing her primary job, relentless travel, and the hustle of gathering credible sources, Martine's commitment to bringing Caribbean stories to life is nothing short of inspiring. Her journey underscores the cultural significance of accurate storytelling, especially for Caribbean Americans yearning to see their heritage represented with depth and authenticity.

Our conversation delves into the politically charged atmosphere of Grenada during Maurice Bishop's era, offering a nuanced view far removed from the stereotypical vacation paradise. Through compelling anecdotes and powerful interviews, we capture the intense experiences of those who lived through this turbulent time. We also shine a light on the often-overlooked histories of other Caribbean nations like Jamaica and Haiti, emphasizing the need for more stories that reflect the vibrant, resilient spirit of Caribbean people. Join us to uncover these untold narratives and gain a richer understanding of the Caribbean's multifaceted heritage.

Reference:


Connect with Martine Powers - Martine.Powers@washpost.com

Caribbean Legal Solutions is the easiest way to find an attorney in the Caribbean. Visit their website at caribbeanlegalsolutions.com 

Disclaimer: This podcast ad contains general information about Caribbean Legal Solutions and is not intended as legal advice.  Always consult with a qualified attorney for legal advice specific to your situation.

Support the Show.

Connect with @carryonfriends - Instagram | Facebook | YouTube
A Breadfruit Media Production

Kerry-Ann:

Hello everyone, Welcome to another episode of Carry On Friends, the Caribbean American experience. And let me tell you I'm really excited about this episode. But before I get into the episode, I really want to shout out Carol. Carol is a supportive listener who is instrumental dare I say instrumental and the catalyst for making this episode happen. So before I get into my guest, I'll introduce her shortly. Carol sent me an email. Did you hear about this podcast? I said yes. Months later, she sent me another email. You need to email her so she could come on the podcast. She's on vacation, but when she come back, email her. And so, as a podcaster, a lot of times you're talking to yourself and so when an audience member is that engaged, they're emailing you and they're doing follow-ups. It is one of the best gifts that you can have as a podcaster. So, Carol, I love you like, cook food big up yourself, and it's because of you. My guest, Martine Powers, is here on the podcast. Hi, Martine, Welcome.

Martine Powers:

Hi, thank you so much for having me. I'm so excited to be here, and also thank you to Carol, who I know. I love Carol, I'm a big fan of Carol now?

Kerry-Ann:

Yes, all right, so I'm going to do a brief introduction on Martine and then she's going to tell us a little bit more about herself. So Martine is an audio journalist and she's a senior host of Post Reports, which is the Washington Post's flagship daily news podcast and drumroll. She's also the host of the seven-part episode podcast series the Empty Grave of Comrade Bishop, which is about none other than Grenada's own Maurice Bishop, who was executed in a coup in 1983 with several other people and the whole mystery around the body, and the body disappear. And so if you have not listened to this podcast series, well, after this episode run, go listen to it. You can binge it, but I'm excited to talk to Martine. Martine, welcome to the podcast. So excited to have you. How are you?

Martine Powers:

I'm good, thank you, and I'm excited to jump into the podcast. I have to say it's been like maybe seven-ish months now since it came out, and so, as you're saying this, I'm like, oh yeah, it's such a fascinating history and I just love the experience of being able to dive into it, and now that I'm a few months out of it, I feel like it's even more exciting to hear other people who find this part of Grenadian history and Caribbean history just as engaging and just as, I think, informative to our present moment.

Kerry-Ann:

All right. So why don't you tell the community of friends a little bit about your personal story and connection to the Caribbean?

Martine Powers:

Oh sure, yeah. So gosh, where do I start? Well, I'm Martine. I am originally from Miami, though I live in Washington DC now, as you said, I work at the Washington Post. But my mom is from Trinidad and my whole life had been going to Trinidad, like twice a year, to visit my grandma and my aunts and my uncles go to Maracas, like do the do the like typical things you do in Trinidad and, um, in the last, what was it? Seven years? Uh, my parents have been living in Grenada. My parents lived in Miami for most of my life Obviously, that's where I grew up, um, but they decided to retire in Grenada because, you know, I think, as lots of Trinidadians will understand, like to go back to Trinidad. As my mom would say plenty traffic, plenty crime, and so they had friends in Grenada and they decided to move there. So in the last few years, I've been spending a lot of time in Grenada to visit my parents and we have some longtime family friends who live there as well to visit my parents, and we have some longtime family friends who live there as well.

Martine Powers:

And basically, what started to happen was I was there meeting people who you know were part of the Grenadian government in the early 80s or who lived through this part of the revolution and that part of the revolution. And people would talk about the revolution and I didn't even know what they were talking about. I never heard the revolution. The airport's called Maurice Bishop International Airport. I was like Maurice Bishop, like who is that again? And it was through having more conversations with people in Grenada, and even you know friends in Trinidad, who were like, oh, you got to, you got to hear more about Maurice Bishop, you got to listen to the speech that he gave at Hunter College, that like changed people's lives. I started to realize like this person is incredible and he was very controversial as well. And, you know, I think it's important to recognize that there are a lot of Grenadians who are not down with the legacy of Maurice Bishop, but he inspired so many people. And hearing about him and hearing about what it was like in Grenada in the early 80s and like how people take such pride in this part of Caribbean history, that was really interesting to me.

Martine Powers:

And then I heard about this thing that happened in October of 1983, where Bishop was murdered and these other people were murdered, and not only were they murdered, which was, I think, highly traumatic, basically for everyone who was in Grenada at the time. But then their bodies were never recovered, which is like a whole other mystery unto itself. And it wasn't until I started hearing people say, well, you know, like people have been saying for a while, it was actually the US government who disappeared those bodies, or the US government had something to do with the fact that those bodies were never recovered. First I thought, like is that? You know? People say stuff like that, like is that really real?

Martine Powers:

But I started to look into it. I started to see the accounts people had given in the past, some of the documents, and I was like, oh, this has some legs to it. And it felt like you know, as a person who's a journalist at the Washington Post, what the Washington Post does is we cover the US government. I mean, we, like hold the government accountable for things that happen here and happen in countries around the world. And so it felt like there was this intersection of here's, this thing that, like, my family cares deeply about and people that are close to my family care deeply about about, and people that are close to my family care deeply about, and I happen to have this job that puts me in a position to ask some real questions and try to track down some answers that so many people in Grenada are still so invested in. So that's kind of where the idea came about, though it took years to get it off the ground.

Kerry-Ann:

So I'm glad you say that I'm gonna get to the years. So what I love about the series was not only because it was informative, but there is a distinctive Caribbean element or essence about the series, because you're speaking with a lot of people from Grenada, some people from Trinidad and a couple of Jamaicans in there and Bayesians also, and Bayesians.

Kerry-Ann:

Yes, but for me I was completely hooked. I love documentaries regardless. I watch so many documentaries. But you kind of told a similar story in episode one. But it's when you called your mom and your mom said I'm paraphrasing like honey Martine is on the phone, could you stop that? I can't hear her. I thought, yes, this is going to be good because it was. And then you heard the crickets in the background, all of that stuff, and I thought like yes, this is going to be a nice warm blanket reminding me of home, to be a nice warm blanket reminding me of home. And that was what drew me in or made me more excited, not only because of the historical element, but because there was all these other aspects of history that for lack of a better word common people are participating in, not historians or not, you know, dr, so-and-so like everyday people who can recount and tell aspects of our history and do it with the Caribbean flair that we know of right.

Martine Powers:

Oh, kerri-ann, it just makes me feel so good to hear you say that, because that's exactly what I was hoping to do and, yeah, I'm just so glad that that's something that resonated with you, this idea of like, because I think that's the thing that I felt a lot, where I could imagine other people and, frankly, like Americans coming in to tell this story and to be clear, like I'm you know, I was born in the US, I'm an American, I speak with American accents, so it's not like I can like completely stand in for the experiences of people there, but I so wanted. I was like the texture of what it means to like be of this place and to have family here and to grown up around these accents is something that I really, really wanted to get across and really wanted to bring that richness of here's what you can hear Grenadian accents and Jamaican accents and Asian accents and so, yeah, I just thank you for saying that and I'm glad that we were successful in trying to make that texture really apparent.

Kerry-Ann:

We were successful in trying to make that texture really apparent. It really was. It came with the traditional cast of characters. You need to find somebody. There's an auntie who knows somebody, who knows somebody, who knows somebody, and there was that in the series as well, and I was just like this is Caribbean life at its finest right. So let's go back to how long it took for this series to actually happen and let's talk about the process, like what was it for you to get this, the series, approved, and how long did it take to actually record and produce the series?

Martine Powers:

Yeah, yeah. So it took a while. I honestly first started thinking about this like maybe in 2018. So a while back and for like a year or so, I was just I was doing some of that research. I was I was hearing about like oh, there's this mystery, but I kind of wanted to make sure, if I pitch this to the post, is it going to be something that, like you know, I know who are the people that we need to try to track down, like I have a plan for how we would investigate this, how we would report it.

Martine Powers:

So it was sort of a year of research and, to be clear, like I have a, I have a real job. That's like we covered, you know, this daily podcast. It's always breaking news about Trump and what's happening and wars around the world or whatever. So it's you know, a lot of this was like finding time just on the edges of my days to be able to work on this. And then, and then 2020 happened, and then it was COVID, and then it was like like I can't even get to Grenada to see my parents, let alone like think about traveling for some documentary thing, and so it wasn't until like 2021 that I started kind of making noise about it. But the thing is is that I knew and I don't want to be disparaging about my employer, because the post has been incredibly wonderful and all this and gave me a ton of time to work on this, or way more than I think than people at other places might have, but I still knew it was going to be like an uphill battle, right, because this is a place full of, you know, americans who, some of whom are familiar a little bit with Grenada from the invasion, but don't know a lot about this place Think that it's called Granada, you know, it's like the standard stuff. And so I was like, ok, how do I like make the case that I'm going to tell you about this small island at the bottom of the Caribbean and you're going to be interested, as these characters and the characters are so great.

Martine Powers:

And so I ended up just making like a one episode, um, uh, like history podcast and not to get too deep into the details, but there's a podcast at NPR called through line who, um, which, if you're into history podcasts, you should definitely listen to through line, because um, uh, ramteen and run to where the hosts are the hosts. They have a similar kind of take on. You know, like their families are from other places in the world, you know, not American places in the world, and they look at history through the lens of, like, what are the stories that we can tell that are different than how we tell the story in the US? And so I kind of went to them and was like, hey, I think you guys should do a thing on the US invasion of Grenada. Like Americans might know that it happened but they don't know the story about it. Like it would be interesting to kind of tell it from the perspective of, like what was happening in Grenada before the US showed up. And so I did this like one episode history podcast with them.

Martine Powers:

And I wanted to do that podcast because I thought it was a really interesting story to tell and it didn't have anything to do with, like the bodies or much of like the aftermath of Bishop's death, but mostly I wanted to use it as like a proof of concept, right? So when I came back to people at the post, I was like, well, if you listen to this 45 minute podcast, like you can hear just a little flavor of some of the history and some of the like shocking moments that we could unpack if we really leaned into this. And so so there was that I wrote a pitch memo, I wrote an outline, I made a like a fake trailer. I mean most of the tape in this trailer like never saw the light of day. But but just because I like really had to like dot my I's and cross my T's to make the case like I'm capable of doing this, here's a plan, here's what it would take, and so they finally said yes.

Martine Powers:

And then after that it was about yeah, it was basically one year of reporting, and in that year I think I made two trips to Grenada. One was an actual work trip, one was a vacation to see my parents, where I was just doing work stuff on the side, and that year I was still doing my main job, but then I'd have one to two days a week to work on this. So I was really hustling to get the reporting going. So that was one year, and then, basically the nine months after that I had full time to work on this, and then it was like we're writing scripts, we're recording narration, we're making drafts, and, and so that that last nine months was the was a real like rubber to the road you know, even as we're writing scripts, people that we're trying to get in contact with for months and months, for over a year, like are finally calling us back.

Martine Powers:

So then we have to go back and rerecord things, because things are changing now that we finally heard from this witness and so it was definitely exciting, but it was well, it was stress and, you know, I think we could have worked on it for a whole nother year and found even more and but at some point it was like OK, we got a lot here and like let's get it out, let's give people an opportunity to listen to it.

Kerry-Ann:

I love that you are able to tell the story in this way and I'm a history geek and the fact that you're telling this story in a way that so, from you know your pre-research, it's about like what two years, two and a half give and take, and Even you just talking about you know the people you are trying to reach. One of my favorite parts was, I think, towards the end of the series, you're trying to get in touch with this one person. Y'all were looking through, scouring through phone books. Y'all were asking the Jamaicans who worked at the Washington Post do your mother, your grandmother, some auntie know somebody? And I was just like, yes, this is how we do things Ask somebody if they know somebody. And he came through at the end and I was like they did it.

Kerry-Ann:

So it was a bit of a suspense in that part as well, but it goes to show the effort that it takes to tell these very Caribbean stories in an American context. Right, and I think where you live in America as a Caribbean Americans, you're like but we know this, why the world don't know this? So what were some of the things that you uncovered or learned about your culture or being Caribbean and these things that are important or known to your parents and people of your parents' generation or even younger folks, but it's not that I don't want to say not that important, but it's not top of mind or front of mind for those who live in America and what you learn about how that impacts Caribbean folks and telling those stories or trying to get those stories to be told, if that makes sense.

Martine Powers:

Yeah, yeah, I mean I think the trick with this podcast, and what I found personally really challenging, was this feeling of like I know there are going to be aunties and uncles who are going to listen to it. People like you who like know this history and this is like a part of their culture, are going to listen to this podcast because you know there are so few, like from major news outlets, right, like there are so few kind of like deep dive storytelling, especially into the Eastern Caribbean. I mean, I think there's, like you know, a certain way that, like Haiti and the Dominican Republic and Cuba are covered, but, like, once you get down to Barbados, grenada, trinidad, dominica, I think you don't see that type of coverage from mainstream news outlets. So it was like both trying to speak to an audience of Caribbean people and also speaking to an audience of Americans who, again, like there are people who are going to listen, who are like Granada, like I thought that was a place in Spain and like having to give a dumbed down version without making it feel like we're like speaking down to people or recognizing that it's going to be a diverse audience hearing this.

Martine Powers:

But I mean the thing that I found so powerful about just imagining this time in history is that there's such a kind of US cultural imagination about the Caribbean. That's all about like chill vibes, right, you go to the Caribbean, you go to a resort, there's beautiful rum punch, you like eat lots of things with coconut in it, and you know someone might be playing steel pan and it's great. You know that it's all very like tranquil and relaxing and everything's on island time and you know, certainly like you can go to any of these islands and obviously, like there is an aspect of that and I think that's something to be proud of too. Right, it's a place where people love pleasure and love to be with each other and slowing down, and I think that's so lovely. But also that I think it's been true the whole time, but especially in this era, that, like what's happening in the Caribbean politically is fascinating and it has this intersection with socialism and communism.

Martine Powers:

And Maurice Bishop is out there making Ronald Reagan mad and annoyed and Maurice Bishop is living rent-free in Ronald Reagan's head and to hear what it was like in Grenada at this time, where there is a Soviet embassy and the Soviets are hobnobbing with the North Koreans and then there are, you know like Europeans who are there and they might be spies. Everyone is wondering like who's a spy for everyone else? And it's like this. You know, what you could describe as a small place is this epicenter for so much geopolitical high stakes negotiations and, like everyone here has this connection to something bigger in the world.

Martine Powers:

And I think that's what I was excited to tell that, like this is a part of the world that is important and has, like this, rich political and cultural history and like stuff that was going on there was intense and it was, you know, really difficult at times and obviously really scary at times, but that this time was important and that the people who are at the center of this were important people. And I feel like that's a lot of what I wanted to get across.

Kerry-Ann:

Yes, beautifully said. It was a lot of misunderstanding, like who are these people, why? Why should I care? But you were able to tell it in a way that I appreciated, because it was through a different lens, because, again, we think of all the ways that we've gotten the message or the story about Grenada, maurice Bishop and even before him, his coup with Gary and all these other things. It was like telling a fuller picture.

Martine Powers:

Because and not to cut you off, but because, yeah, like, even for people who the Americans that I find, who know about the US invasion of Grenada, they still think of it like, even if they're on the side of I think, that the invasion was the wrong thing for the US to do. A lot of times it's rooted in this idea of like, but you know why did we even show up to this tiny island anyways? This was so silly and I thought at the time like what a waste of time and resources and American lives to invade this place that is, you know, the size of Atlanta. It's just understanding of that history that's not rooted in what was actually happening there and how it felt to be on the receiving end of that. But sorry, continue with your question.

Kerry-Ann:

No, exactly that right. Because again, everything feels very distant and it was very real to the people who live there, the people in the region, like all the other Caribbean countries who came in and to be part of the investigative process. I thought that was something new that I learned. I didn't realize that there were all these other Caribbean countries that were part of the investigative process and it was just like wow. But for me it was the stories from the widows and the children that was the most impactful. What they remembered, what they they remember the day very clearly, you know, cause it's like it is forever etched, frozen in time in their minds about what that day was, what they were doing.

Kerry-Ann:

And I just really appreciated the telling of the story. You know, I felt like the speech. Again, we know lots of people don't really care for Maurice Bishop, but I think giving the broader picture and not being biased in the telling of the story as in making Maurice too much of a hero, kind of telling both sides Again, love the story, love the story, love the characters in the story and even you sharing some of the angst, I guess, about getting the data or the information you needed to complete the story. Um. So I kind of felt that you felt some responsibility in, like I need to tell this story.

Martine Powers:

I don't want my mother and my father to be ashamed of me make even more progress and I still think that there's like more to uncover and and we're still trying to get documents and get more people to talk to us. But it's like to me it felt a little bit like this is kind of one of the last shots to get a clearer picture of this because, especially, it's been 40 years now and so like a lot of people have died since then. You know, it's like right around the mark where people who are in the military if they're like 25, 26, 27, you know those people are in their late 60s and so that's. You know, the Washington Post is not going to send another reporter to go like do more of this again and really wanting to get as many answers as we could with the opportunity that we had here, and I think we did get like a lot of pretty good answers. So I think that there is still more to tell of the story.

Kerry-Ann:

I do agree. And so, as we kind of wrap up, I mean, now that you've done this, what are your hopes or what do you think the opportunity exists for more stories like this, maybe not from a major news outlet like the Washington Post, but telling of Caribbean histories or Caribbean stories in a way that a mostly American audience can appreciate or learn about the history of this region, which is so complex, which you and I know is. It was the first little test tube of a lot of things that we now experience in the world. So I'd love to get your perspective on, now that you've done this project, where else can you think it'll go and the opportunities for Caribbean stories and podcasters to tell more stories?

Martine Powers:

Yeah, that's a really good question. I mean specifically with this mystery and with Grenada. I mean specifically with this mystery and with Grenada. One of the big closed doors that we had that one hopes will open soon is there's a lot of classified documents that the State Department has about the US invasion of Grenada. That records are supposed to be made public but they still have to go through them to make sure that there's like nothing that would still affect the US's relationships with other places or whatever, and so I think once some of those documents become public, I have some optimism that there might be nuggets in there that can close some of these gaps.

Martine Powers:

You'll also hear when you listen to the podcast. There's one or two people, one person in particular, who I'd really love to get him to agree to an interview, and he's told me many a time at this point that he doesn't want to be interviewed about this. But I remain optimistic that maybe in the future he'll be open to talking about his time in Grenada and what that meant. So there's some of that stuff. But I think to your point more broadly, there's so many stories in the Caribbean that I think are, yeah, just ripe for the telling. I mean one that comes to mind Jamaica, and I think many of your listeners either might have read or be familiar with A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James, which I believe they're making into, I think, a Netflix series or at least like a TV series.

Kerry-Ann:

Listen it was supposedly bought by HBO. I cannot remember her name, but the woman who did Insecure I can't butcher her name, issa Rae, not Issa. But the woman Malatakis I cannot remember her name was was associated with it at this one point, so I don't know, where it is now. So it's it's supposed to have some film rights but it's not there. But I agree that book was.

Martine Powers:

Yeah, yeah. And when you talk about the role of, you know, the US clandestine services in Jamaica at that time it was, you know, and like manly, and there's like the political stuff, the spy, espionage stuff, the Bob Marley stuff. I mean I think that that's a part of history that would be like great to dive into more. Thinking about more recently is, you know, obviously Haiti is in this like incredibly dire moment right now with the situation with gangs there and this new peacekeeping force that's coming in, which includes is headed by Kenya, but I believe will also include Bajans, bahamians and, I think, jamaicans you might have to fact check me on that part but the idea of Caribbean peacekeepers going into another Caribbean country in, I think, a very fraught and complicated moment, like some of it brings a little Grenada-like to me and what it means for you know, like the military of one Caribbean country to go into another. But also, I just think that that's a story that is, at least to an American audience, is being told with American voices in many ways, and I just feel like there's so much more that needs to be done and reported.

Martine Powers:

That brings in more of that texture of like what it feels like for Haitians to be going through this and what it feels like for Haitian Americans and how fraught and complicated this all is. And, like my uncle, my husband is Haitian and I love him dearly and he's just such a like fun, interesting, vibrant, funny person, and I feel like that's such the quality of Haitians generally and is the quality of, like, caribbean people in general, right Like this is a place of people who love life and love to like, connect and be fun and funny, and I feel like that's what I want to hear more of, as this conflict is currently being covered is more of that texture, of what it means to be Haitian and how proud Haitians are of where they come from, even though this is a really, really difficult and frightening moment. And, yeah, I just think that there's a lot to do on that. I don't know if I'll be the one to do it, but I would encourage other people to really like take a stab at that.

Kerry-Ann:

I definitely like that. You brought up the point of Jamaica. So just quick sidebar you know, when I moved here to this country in like 93, like up until that point I mean, I was too young to participate in politics. But even though I couldn't participate, you experienced politics, right. So in Jamaica around election time, you know, I don't have to be scared of these conversations about Democrats or Republicans, right? This is such a different approach than when you're in Jamaica.

Kerry-Ann:

You live in specific communities that are particular political party and I think for me when and January 6th happened and everything leading up to that, it was very frightening to me because I saw a point where I was I'm over 40.

Kerry-Ann:

So there's a point where growing up in Jamaica, where politics could get very violent. That's what this brings up for me, this anxiety, because I know where that can go. And seeing this play out, I'm like, oh, this feels very reminiscent. I remember there was when I was very young, they had a campaign about wearing blue and they had this PSA song. All we are saying is give peace a chance because they didn't want political violence. And to see that play out January 6th and all the things that are happening gives me that level of anxiety because I've seen the threads of this. This is in Jamaican politics in the 80s, so it's interesting that you say that, because we have these different perspectives living outside the country and now living here and seeing how the country's now changed and juxtaposed to where our countries are now moving to and the US is moving away from what we were trying, it's just very interesting.

Martine Powers:

Yeah, no, I think that's a really important point and I mean just to just to quickly mention I don't know if it's OK for us to say like when we're recording this, but you know, we're recording this on what? Friday, may 31st, which is a day after Trump was just convicted and this hush money trial in New York, which is what I actually now cover, like now that I'm back on Daily News. But I saw this meme that someone posted yesterday that I thought was really insightful, that it just showed a map of the Americas and it's like North America and South America and the Caribbean, and like these are all the places where heads of state or heads of government have been convicted of a crime, either before or after they're elected. And like now you add the US to that, and I just I think that there's been a lot of the narrative of like oh, this is historic, that America has never seen a former president charged with a crime, and that's true. But actually, like in the scheme of the world and in the scheme of this part of the world, it's actually not that unusual.

Martine Powers:

And to think about how these things can kind of escalate and play out, and like even I was having a conversation with one of the other producers who works on this podcast yesterday where we're like well, what happens if Trump is put on house arrest during that campaign?

Martine Powers:

But what if his supporters went to his house to try to free him from house arrest? Which is like kind of what happened with Maurice Bishop, right, that he was on house arrest and people thought that it was unjust and they tried to free him, and the circumstances are hugely different in both of these cases. But that's just all to say that. I think there is a little bit of an American bias against thinking that like, oh, the US can go in that direction, right, that it's like, well, we're Americans, we solve things a different way and in these like small chaotic countries and Latin American in the Caribbean, they do things a different way. But like, we're exceptional and we're not exceptional, and I think for a lot of people, january 6th was a wake up call to that. But I think even now it's, without being too like pessimistic or alarmist, I do think it's insightful to understand well, this is how things escalate in other countries and it's not outside the realm of possibility that we could see a future escalation here in the US, whatever this looks like.

Kerry-Ann:

But not to say that I want that to happen. No, and that's exactly it. We don't want it to happen. But you have a generation of Caribbean folks at my mom and everyone is just like Lord Jesus, what is going on? Like they're very like oh, so um, but this is for another podcast, but I I do appreciate um you being on the podcast, truly enjoyed the conversation. Big up to all the Jamaicans at Washington Post who pitched in on the investigative, many, many grandmas were asked if they knew an Earl Brown.

Martine Powers:

It was yeah, it was funny to send out that message because we have like a Black People Slack channel at work and I was like, ok, listen up, black people Like among you I'm sure there are Jamaicans please, everyone, raise your hand and then you have to commit to uh, yes, calling your family members and I felt you, you're like when she said, when you said Earl Brown, I said, boy, that feel like every other Jamaican, every two Jamaican men with that name yes, my last name is Brown I'm like, I don't know, I have to go now.

Kerry-Ann:

So it was in those moments where you're just like. I mean, culture is life. You know, even in these serious moments, they find some way to bring some levity into these things and it's a really great series and thank you again for helping to spearhead this and bring this again for helping to spearhead this and bring this. You know, so a new generation of Caribbean Americans, children born here to Caribbean parents, can understand a part of their history and culture. And so the Empty Grave of Comrade Bishop is available on all podcast platforms. I'll include that link in the show notes. And, martine, any final words where people could find you all that good stuff.

Martine Powers:

I just, yeah, just listen to the podcast. The podcast that I do for my actual job post reports. That's a daily show, so certainly subscribe to that too. And yeah, other than that, I try not to. I used to be on Instagram and Twitter and went on to try to be less on that because it's just like ruining my life. So so, yeah, just just listen. And and if you want to reach out, my, my email is always open. Martinpowers at washpostcom. So thank you so much for having me.

Kerry-Ann:

Thank you and, as I love to say at the end of every episode, walk good, I love that yeah.

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