“M'Lud, what is the role of an army officer?”
He then read from a military document the definition of an army officer. “An army officer is one who manages violence.”
There was a long pause as his listeners, the members of a court martial, waited nervously to hear what Senior Counsel Alexander would say next.
When it seemed that the wait would be endless, he said, “My client, Lieutenant Lassalle, is excellent at managing violence.”
These were Alexander's opening remarks at the court martial at the Port of Spain Town Hall in October 1970.
Here was Senior Counsel Alexander, aligning himself with the vision and raison d'etre of the mutiny at the Tetron Barracks on April 21, 1970.
“Mih Lud,” with that Trini twist to it, was Allan addressing Judge Advocate Mills-Odoi's colonial aping, and also addressing those uptight Third World army officers, all still holding grimly to their colonial strings, as that was where they sought approval.
Then his barrister's wig was tilted, like a sailor's cap, yet here he was, carrying all the dignity and gravitas of a master barrister. The wig was hallowed and usually it was worn upright to fit the colonial mind-set of success. But that was not how Allan wore it. The tilt of that wig on his head was a clear statement: “This is not part of my identity.” It was also a clear statement of a Caribbean man, with that provocative rebelliousness in the way it sat on his head.
Allan was a lawyer who knew all his rules and regulations and the protocols of the courtroom. He had done his homework, and was a doyen at what he did, and now on the colonial stage of that court martial he played his mas with elegance, with honour, offering to all of us the inspiration and guidance that we can master the ways of the colonial mindset and transform it into our own way of being a Caribbean people.
He had accomplished the transformation that Frantz Fanon pointed to in his writings from the colonial clone, which he had kicked into the bin of history, to being his own Caribbean man.
He was saying it loud and clear:
“Look Mih, ah here, Mih Lud.”
RIP Allan, you showed a glorious path for us all to emulate.
TRINIDAD Y TOBAGO: Allan Alexander’s glorious path
Con InformaciÃ³n de Trinidad Express
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