I am the sugar at the bottom of your cup of tea

Nisreen Kaj

Reina Sarkis

November 30, 2015 8:00 pm

Anna Fernando, Nadim Houry, Nisreen Kaj, Andrea Salvini, Reina Sarkis

Identity is always a question of representation, invention, framing, or de-framing the familiar and the foreign, this inside of a time frame also.
Stuart hall pressed the fact that what is held as strictly British – the tea-drinking ritual – is in fact only made possible through the other, geographically, economically, and socially, since the tea plantation has only existed elsewhere in India, Ceylon, or china. Hall himself was coming from Jamaica. To him, the British identity could only be constructed, or say, mediated through the possibilities of the others. Hall questioned: “can identity be thought and relived through difference?” the question of the different “outside history” will guide the discussion among the speakers coming from different fields about identity and nationality in Lebanon.

‘People like me who came to England in the 1950s have been there for centuries; symbolically, we have been there for centuries. I was coming home. I am the sugar at the bottom of the English cup of tea. I am the sweet tooth, the sugar plantations that rotted generations of English children’s teeth. There are thousands of others beside me that are, you know, the cup of tea itself. Because they don’t grow it in Lancashire, you know. Not a single tea plantation exists within the United Kingdom. This is the symbolization of English identity – mean, what does anybody in the world know about an English person except that they can’t get through the day without a cup of tea? Where does it come from? Ceylon, Sri Lanka, India. That is the outside history that is inside the history of the English. There is no English history without that other history. Stuart hall, old and new identities, old and new ethnicities