Sunday, March 31, 2013

A call to action

Father Harvey is the kind of priest you hear questions raised about in Central America - those who were active during times of social unrest. He has been critical to Trinidad and Tobago in times of unrest like the revolution of 1970 and the attempted coup of 1990. He is a revolutionary in his own right having done a lot to make the Roman Catholic Church more relevant to Caribbean people. Some of the hymns in the official hymn book are penned by him, I am also sure many would have been inspired to write hymns through his encouragement and efforts.

            It’s Easter. In his message as carried in the media, he called for more positive stories to be told in Trinidad and Tobago. Knowing him as I do I don’t imagine he imagines as the Government does, that more positive stories be carried of the work done by the State. He is a man that stands for freedom, and I am sure too, freedom of the press. He takes on all comers though, and so it may not be a stretch to in fact imagine that he does mean even in the media.

            The media guard freedom, not for itself only but for all. The media are an extension of the population. I always say press freedom is assured by the culture of the industry, no one is hired or fired for their views, it’s an all encompassing slice of the population that makes up the many news rooms around TT. No media house can afford to take a stance aligned with a political party, it is assumed and understood by those within the fourth estate, that they serve the people and that comforts us, inspires us and keeps us focused on the tasks at hand.

            I have known Father Harvey personally for a few years. He is a man I respect. Many times while in church I would check hymns to see who wrote them, particularly if I like them. I remember crying at mass one day. It was a day when the closing hymn was Tell of my Love for the Islands. It says “tell of my love for the islands, tell it everywhere, tell all the brothers and sisters of the Father’s loving care, brothers who are seeking living in the night, sisters who are weeping, searching for the light, tell of my love to all people, live in my love every day.” This was written a long time ago in the 70’s perhaps. It’s still true today and it still makes me cry. Maybe I may want to consider the words of this esteemed cleric and tell more positive stories, if only so that I myself can stop crying. Christ is risen. Happy Easter.

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