Sunday, November 11, 2012

The gathering storm - the Peter O'Connor commentary

As I watch the clouds gathering, along every horizon we can see, I wonder what can we do to mute the gathering storm, and if not to mute it, then to survive it—self, family, community, country?

I have watched such storms build before, dark clouds rolling inwards, tumbling upwards, spitting flashes of lightning and rolling out thunder, then hurling winds and sheets of rain down upon us. But those were real clouds, which, for all their apparent fury, would pass in a couple of hours, leaving a mess which we could clean up.

The clouds I see today, as yesterday, and which will be there tomorrow, are different. They are created by us, and fed with all of our indiscipline, selfishness, greed and corruption. 

I see the rising clouds of hate and intolerance, and I fear the lightning and thunder still to come. And I wonder if the rain to follow will ever wash this land clean again? The Book says that last time the earth was not washed clean, and they said it would take the fire next time. Who knows? 

But is there anything we can do to mute this gathering storm? Maybe if it was a real storm we could, because “Gord is ah Trini”, and all we would need to do is wine and dance before Bacchus, and it would pass by, like “always”. 

And if it was a real storm, I would try to apply what I recently read in a book called “Weather Shamanism”, by Nan Moss with David Corbin. Given to me by a special friend, the book’s subtitle is “Harmonizing our connection with the elements”, and discusses the authors’ interfacing with “Weather Spirits” in times of droughts, floods and hurricanes.

But that book, and those interfacings and experiences, although shown to be effective, are not about the storm I see forming over our lives in this land. Our gathering storm is metaphorical, but it is ever so much more dangerous than what the weather might bring. And we know it well. We have experienced it before. And yet, in the experiences, we have never learned.

This past week I shared with various people an article I wrote in 1987. It was published in the Sunday Guardian of September 6th, at the height of a campaign for Local Government Elections, nine months after the NAR had swept out the PNM government of the previous thirty years. 

We are seeing today the same things I saw and wrote of in 1987. We are seeing today, a step by step repeat of the build-up to the murderous coup of July 1990.

And in seeing this, instead of wise men, our poets, our commentators and our media remembering and saying “Hold on! Cease this! Proceed quietly and with caution”, all these voices, led by our leaders, are calling for hatred and division.

And there is no one to whom we can turn to ask them to lead us away from the destination to which we are marching, shouting, cursing, in a rage which is sweeping the land separate and apart from our commitment to political destruction. I lie? Well tell me who is it that is going to turn us away from this race to self-destruction in which we are competing?

And all I can feel is disappointment--- a deep sadness at the failure of a potentially great society. But truth be told, I could never hold out high hopes. Vainglorious hopes and fantasies, maybe, but not pragmatic reasoning that we could become a society of self-worth. It was never really in us. It was in the land once, a sense of magic in special places, but somehow, it never manifested itself in our peoples.

Could it have been a curse left by the Conquistadores, people who came not to plant, not to settle, but to steal gold? But we had no gold, so did they curse this land or what? 

And the French, the British, the Africans, the Indians, Chinese, Portuguese and Lebanese, all came, some on their own, many brought, and all have ended with the same “culture”. To take from this land—“We turn now”, “fix me first”, what they could get, and contribute as little as possible while taking.

And by now we should all know this, but we do not. That is why people who were arrested by the PNM three years ago, people who cried “never again” are marching with the PNM today to “bring down this government”. Not to vote them out, mind you, but to “bring them down”. 

And that is why this government, in which we misplaced such hope, is wheeling and dealing like all before them.

The storms which we are calling down will not just destroy the PNM or UNCPP, but all of us.

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Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai