We’re talking peace and goodwill

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This is our final publication of THE DAILY OBSERVER for 2019. We will return on January 2, 2020. NEWSCO wishes to thank all the readers, sponsors, advertisers and well-wishers for your unstinting support these past several months. We can say, without fear of contradiction, that our newspaper and radio entities would not have survived, indeed thrived, without your tremendous outpouring of love and goodwill.

Ah, goodwill! It is the need of the hour. This past year was marked by much rancour and animus, and it contributed no end to a lowering of the political discourse. Would to God that we could somehow rise above hatred and malice aforethought. Would to God that the proclamation of the angel Gabriel, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, goodwill toward men” would become a reality. ‘Tis the great desire of nations!

Why, in the name of all that is good, does every blessed thing have to be seen through the prism of  partisanship and narrow parochial interests? Is it not a truism that there is a whole lot more to unite than divide us? First and foremost, are we not Antiguans and Barbudans? Should we not be lifting each other up, rather than tearing each other down? Whatever happened to Shelly Tobitt’s exhortation that we “Don’t pull to pieces, pull together / That’s the way we should live our lives!” Whatever happened to the haunting rhetorical question and declarationfrom King Short Shirt’sWANTED: “Do we want a better world? Do we want a peaceful world? Do we want a world that’s free from hatred, pain and suffering? No more sorrow, no more chains, no more human sovereign . . . (Chorus) Wanted – love and understanding in the world today! Needed – peace and happiness! People – we could live together; you for me and I for you / There’s nothing that we cannot do / If we get together, holding hands, loving each other . . .People, let’s rise . . .!” Hmmm! Now there’s a thought!  It is one of Short Shirt’s greatest songs, and we submit that it ought to be our anthem for 2020.

Let this year be one in which we engage in vigorous and healthy debates on the issues. Let us abhor the ad hominem attacks on each other. After all, “reasonable minds can disagree without being disagreeable,” and our goals are the same – a betterment for all Antiguans and Barbudans. Let us eschew the gutter politics of personal destruction! “Let there be peace, and all dem fighting cease!(LAMENTATIONS, King Short Shirt)

Of course, as Peter Tosh once said, “There can be no peace unless there is equal rights and justice!” The Reverend Al Sharpton, the great Civil Rights Activist in New York, echoes similar sentiments with his favourite catch-phrase, “No justice! No peace! Seems, the call for peace ought not to be at the expense of the people and their right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. There ought not to be peace if the people are being advantaged. Consider the case of the Reverend Martin Luther King who delivered a pointed sermon entitled WHEN PEACE BECOMES OBNOXIOUS in Alabama in 1956. He was responding to the delight with which many white Alabamians were hailing the relative peace and calm that followed the unfair expulsion of Autherine Lucy (the first black student) from the University of Alabama, after many days of rioting. According to the good Reverend, “This type of peace stinks in the nostrils of Almighty God.”

Again, we are calling for peace and goodwill, but not to the detriment of the poor and dispossessed. We will never hold our peace while wrong is goin on! (Peter Tosh)

Here’s to a most blessed Christmas, and we’ll see you next year!

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