The Diggers in Memoriam

¡Viva Panamá!

¡Viva Panamá!

Black West Indian diggers.

Black West Indian diggers.

Panama skyline from San Felipe.

Panama skyline from San Felipe.

Today, being November 3rd and a day of consecration to the spirit of patriotism in Panama as the Day on which Panama separated from Colombia on November 3, 1903, we thought it a perfect opportunity to post another one of Mr.  Louis Emanuel’s poems.  It is yet another reminder of the enormous debt that Panama has with the British West Indian workers and their descendents for making Panama a prosperous and modern nation.  Due, in large part, to their contributions we can all truly feel a part of our patriotic fervor this month.  

by Louis Emanuel

This canal completed, one century ago
Reducing the travel, of ships on the go
History has omitted, since then until now
A labor force obscured, totally unknown.

The Westindian laborer, then a viable asset
whose contribution concealed in a closet.
Thus history thwarted, at lectures a tidbit
of the men who came, to work and built it.

Fatalities ravaged, a great untold number.
Monkey Hill* known, as the final slumber.
Scores laid entombed, in landslides under,
dynamite blasts, spectral plots asunder.

A determined people, whom will not quit
fought for their birthright, a quest to exist
in a land, their forefathers, did not desist
Of toiling for this country, to be what it is.

Commemoration gala, on that August date.
One hundred years, an occasion to celebrate.
Is yet a monument, of a lone Digger in place?
By the powers to be, a travesty in this case.

*Monkey Hill, Presently Mount Hope Cemetery in Colon.

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