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Curious Culture

History — what a curious cultural understanding we have of our own Barbadian past.

Remember when the late Errol Barrow understood the High Altitude Research Project to be about sending projectiles into space using a big gun, now rusting at Paragon, and we, as a people, accepted that story. Historical fact!

Many years later we learnt that perhaps they were developing a big gun to lob shells in war time. The first use seemed to have been by the then apartheid South African government against the freedom fighters.

Now I suppose we will let the gun rust instead of engaging the HARP successors in reinstating the weapon and its mechanism so that it becomes an historical sight for locals and visitors — history to forget or remember? Just as the folks who paid for and erected a statue of Nelson because they had a certain understanding of his “importance” so too we had an understanding of HARP. Is it the curious culture in us where we rail against one but, interestingly, turn a blind eye to the other?

— Michael Rudder

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