Editorial: To take a stand

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It is being billed as a rally/public meeting beginning at seven this evening in front of the old parliament building, and from all accounts, it promises to be quite an event. Apparently, the plethora of disquieting issues facing Antiguans and Barbudans have reached critical mass, and notwithstanding party affiliation, people of goodwill are ready to lend their voices of discontent to the protest.  From the eBooks fiasco to the Global Ports giveaway to the YIDA fakery, to the Deluxe bailout, and the Bahamas Hot Mess head-scratcher on Friars Hill Road and the Sir George Walter Highway; not to mention the lack of an overarching vision from the various ministries and the feebleness and ineptitude of many of the elected MP’s (See the on-again Antigua and Barbuda Broadcasting Service [ABS] strike which begins today), it is manifest that Antiguans and Barbudans have more than enough angst to go around. As the late Tim Hector used to say, “Enough has become too much!” and “Up with this, we will not put!”

“Why art thou down cast down, oh my soul? And why art thou disquieted in me?” Because something stinks in the state of Denmark! With the flippant way in which officialdom makes and breaks promises (See ABS strike today), sets and breaks deadlines (See ABS strike today), ignores and disrespects the people (ditto), even the most sanguine of persons will eventually become disturbed and discomfited.

Ah yes, equanimity of spirit is all well and good! But we have to be careful that in being so very longsuffering and “Gentle Jesus meek and mild,” we do not become sheep. We have to be careful that we are not being led “Like sheep to the slaughter!” After all, we ought to be ever mindful of the very grave declaration by the great American journalist Edward R. Murrow that “A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves!” So sad! And so true! It is incumbent on us to hold our leaders accountable and to our expectations; we are responsible for the type of government that we have. This idea is embodied in the popular aphorism, “The people get the government they deserve!”

Mr. Sonny Serite from Botswana, writing in the SUNDAY STANDARD, had this to say of Murrow’s remark: “There are several interpretations . . . and they all come to the conclusion that governments are shaped by their nations. The attitude of our leaders is determined by our attitude towards them . . . If, as a nation, we give them the green light to always mistake us for the lavatory . . . then we will always be in [deep doo-doo] (He uses the “s” word) . . . [Batswana] are so docile and irritatingly submissive . . . that our leaders in government find no shame in treating us like monkeys in the zoo. We are a nation that is comfortable with being uncomfortable in our own country . . .” Ouch! Talk about rolling over and playing dead! (Not the ABS staff who are back on strike today!)

In his song, ZIMBABWE, Bob Marley tells the oppressed Zimbabweans that they are justified in their struggle against the oppressive regime. He declares that “Arm in arm with Psalms, we’ll fight this little struggle / ‘Cause that’s the only way we can overcome a little trouble / Brother, you’re right . . . so right / We go fight, we’ll have to fight; fight for our rights / . . . No more internal power struggle / We come together to overcome the little trouble / Soon, we’ll find out who is the real revolutionary . . .!”  And suffering and disaffected peoples all over the world have been taking Brother Bob’s exhortation to heart and making a stand! The Zimbabweans did. So too the South Africans and Angolans! So too the so-called “Yellow Vests” in Paris! And our brothers and sisters in Haiti!

What are we waiting for! The ABS workers are leading the way!

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