Reparations for Bahamian climate refugees
The callous, white-supremacist response of Trump to the plight of tens of thousands of Bahamians was recently recognized by one of today’s most high-profile athletes.
Klay Thompson is considered one of the greatest shooters in the history of the National Basketball Association and is a three-time NBA champion with the Golden State Warriors. Thompson’s father, Mychal, a two-time NBA champion with the Los Angeles Lakers, migrated from his native Bahamas to the U.S. in the late 1970s.
Klay Thompson wrote the following on his Instagram thread Sept. 13 regarding Trump’s racist response to the total devastation that Hurricane Dorian caused in the islands: “[S]hame on our current administration for not welcoming our Bahamian neighbors in their greatest time of need. I’ve been so lucky to visit my family in Nassau since childhood, and in those times I’ve seen countless Americans use the Bahamian islands as their playground for letting loose and vacationing. And now we turn our back on the people who welcomed us with open arms, when they’ve lost everything?! There’s no excuse for this … and if you have one you’re a real piece of shit.”
Thompson is referring to Trump’s public labeling of Bahamians as criminals and his declaration that no U.S. borders will be opened to these islanders who have lost their homes, loved ones and livelihoods.
Even before the hurricane, the vast majority of Bahamians, a large number of them Haitian migrants, lived below the poverty line. Out of a total population of over 403,000 people, 70,000 Bahamians have lost everything due to the Category 5 storm, another of an increasing number of climate catastrophes. (CNN, Sept. 12)
The official death toll is 50, but it’s expected to rise significantly, since at least 1,300 people are still missing. The cost of damage to tourist-industry-dominated Bahamas is an estimated $7 billion.
The people of the Bahamas deserve reparations not only for what they are going through now, but for decades of super-exploitation of their labor and resources. Over the past year alone, the Bahamian tourist industry raked in revenues of $5.7 billion, half of the gross domestic product of the Bahamas. (Reuters, Sept. 15)
It is long overdue for corporate investors, made rich off of this suffering, to pay off this debt. As for the racist U.S. administration: Open the borders now!