Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Better than that...please.

Today the comment was made that things were expected to change under the People's Partnership administration. It was in the context of the expectation that they would solve our problems. I wasn't that hopeful in that regard. The change I had hoped for is being tested in what Im about to say.

The lasting legacy of People's National Movement founding father Dr. Eric Willams was that "no dog dare bark", he was a leader that didn't take kindly to being challenged. In my adult years when reason set in, I lived under former PNM Leader Patrick Manning. Things were so bad at one point that persons were reprimanded for referring to him publicly without the nomenclature, Mr., It was Mr Manning or you're being disrespectful. Along with that came the observation that it was a lack of respect for him that would make you refer to him as 'Manning'. My favourite personality, however, was Patos Manning, a clever and accessible alter ego to the starchy figure that ruled in the style his party fashioned.

The young people have a saying "jump out yuhself", it refers to an act that is out of character or out of the expected behaviour that we accept as a society. Well I'm about to "jump out" myself and even that is an admission of the fear that still grips many of us when commenting on the actions of politicians. Particularly as media, I have been trained to reserve public comment that may lead to my neutrality being questioned.

Today the Government hosted a meeting in East Port of Spain. It follows the brutal killing of two teenagers in recent weeks, one of them a pregnant girl.

Coming out of the meeting Prime MInister Kamla Persad Bissesssar said she would reserve her response to the people but say that their most pressing concerns were a need for housing and jobs. As many times as I turn it over in my head I end up perplexed. Im like really? You have two dead teenagers and not one person in that community could have said what actually lead to their deaths, what they want is jobs and houses? Isn't there a bigger problem at hand here?

I wouldn't go so far as to say that low cost government housing schemes have failed but they do remain among this most violent communities in the country outside of the hot spots that border the capital. The figures will speak for themselves.

We have some housing projects, among the first built in the Capital by the State, two teenagers are gunned down within their walls in essence and what comes out of a meeting stemming from that is a call for houses and jobs - a bloody red herring if you ask me.

Now policing is the police job but was that the purpose of the meeting today? How different and revolutionary it would have been if we all now had a reason behind the killings of two teenagers, one of them pregnant? One teenager, Trayvon Martin was killed in the U.S. and the whole world took an interest in the circumstances that lead to his death. The repercussions of that incident still ripple through the shallow yet conscientious world of pop culture with statements being made to this day, weeks after the end of the trial that acquitted George Zimmerman. Or am I being naive, was that case really America's race obsession and nothing more?

It is scant courtesy on the part of the authorities to not demand answers from the residents of East Port of Spain. To quote my good friend Gillian Moor what kind of P.R. pappy show did we experience today. To compound that description there was a supposed media black out of the meeting, yet Government Information Services Limited had full access to the whole thing! So now it might be that the goings ons would be edited and packaged and presented by himself when the commentary was on himself, you get me?

I don't know who to ask but I want to know why those two teenagers were killed. It brings to mind the Tecia Henry killing. A ten year old girl is sent on an "errand" by her mother, her body is found buried beneath a house some days later. I mean I may be concerned if only because I fear for my own life as I seem to be living among a breed of savage not of the same making. The then prime minister was criticised for saying at his party's annual convention that it was an internal affair, or something to that effect, that it was a matter that that community understood and not something that the rest of us should really concern ourselves with. Today's action amount to the same thing in that the lives have been lost and moving forward we forget that and work to give the people what they want. Well some of us want more and more than answers, we want a world where we don't have savages pumping bullets into teenagers and we may even want a world where girls are not only not pregnant at 16, but murdered.

Its like we're all acting with impunity - criminals, politicians, citizens and media. It was so glaring a side step of the real issue that lead to the meeting that the prime minister was proud to say that Housing Development Corporation officials were on hand to address the concerns of the residents who called for housing assistance. I understand them being there given that the HDC acts like a nanny to its clients so much so that it assumes a part of all that affects them but was it that it was known that there would be a call for housing? This blog is like the proverbial tree that falls in the forest with no one to tell if it made a sound and to a degree I like it like that, its just for my readers to consider my perspective but the more I think about it the more vexing it all becomes.

I accept that governing is like managing in that you make the best of even the worst that can and will happen. What then prompts this piece? Some might say an opposition to the ruling party in that I may not have commented if another party was in power. Who is to say? The change I had hoped for was that I would live in less fear of our leaders. It may be hard to convince those who have an interest in seeing it otherwise that that is the case but its more true than its alternative.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Of Hope

I enjoyed Iron Man but truth is it didn’t give me as much to think about as Man of Steel

After seeing Dave Williams' Press Play dance show recently I thought that art’s truth is sometimes in its shadows. Press Play for a dance show had stronger text than movement at times and in one piece in particular despite the balance struck, the text stood out, the ending line suggested that the Index Finger or voting finger or finger to detonate a world-ending bomb or pull a trigger was the only thing to get us out of the “hell” we live in. It was a particularly political ending to a piece that seemed more about how much the index finger is used in our lives, how prominently it features in our communication and our actions. Seems as if he went through all of it to say that life was in fact not pleasant and that that was related to politics. The truth to me lay in the shadow.

And shadowy the cinematography of both Iron Man and Man of Steel – the lingering imagery is to me a lot of shaded area and more so in Man of Steel, the subtext is what interested me in this regard.

How much has changed for me now that the “S” on Superman’s chest is a Kryptonian symbol for Hope and not for “Superman”? I mean I never knew that and it may be because I never really read the comics. I wasn’t a super hero kind of comic book reader, Richie Rich and Archie were more my scene. It's no small detail though! I mean how many of us knew that that "S" symbolised Hope?

It becomes more important for me when the nation-saving agenda of his nemesis General Zod enters my mind. It was in fact a coup that he led against the ruling council in the name of saving his people, the Kryptonians. We accepted that those who held power were right and that Zod like all insurrectionists was the evil one, it should also be said that like many, if not all insurrectionists, he was acting in the interest of his people, the nation of Krypton.

Like a messiah comes Kal El, Superman, bearing hope on his chest. At one point in trying to convince a military official that he was trustworthy he declared that he was an American, from Kansas. Kal El came from the ruling class and General Zod, who was his political opponent in essence, did not trust him. You see Kal El was entrusted with the DNA of the species and so the fight was for control of the future of a near extinct nation, Kal El being its sole survivor after Zod’s destruction. Yes, the just guardian of Hope is now without an Opposition.

Zod or his minions may be revived in a future production as they came back from the point of no return in this movie and so can do so again but for now as long as Clark Kent, Kal El, Superman is around we can say that hope is alive, but too, will be forever under threat.

Monday, August 5, 2013

ah lil parang

On Emancipation Day, at dawn, Calvary Hill, Arima. Burton Sankeralli and Melan Garcia.