Sunday, January 6, 2013

Moving on - the Peter O'Connor commentary

We need to take the first few steps, moving on, moving forward. And we need to start now, one by one if necessary, because we cannot continue waiting for our leaders to take us forward. That is not happening and is not going to happen. 

We cannot all continue to stand around and hope that someone, some parade master or mistress will shout: “Parade! By your sections---Quick march!”, and that would see us all moving forward, or somewhere.

We are all too comfortable in our present state—leaders, commerce, the rest of us. Too comfortable in our status, in our profits, and in our apathy. Yes, we are proud that we have declared ourselves the fifth happiest people on the planet. 

That self-anointed status was the epitome of our indifference and our true lack of caring about any portion of the society wider than “me”, or the Lime. OK! OK! I accept that is not all of us, and yes we do have genuinely caring and committed persons who would like to see a better, more humane, more just and more effective society. 

But the more caring and committed ones are very alone, merely benignly ignored at best and insulted and ridiculed at worst. Certainly never followed.

Have you ever watched a column of “Hunting ants” moving through the forest? They are all moving along, hundreds of thousands of them, heading somewhere, but none will break ranks unless sufficiently distracted by something new. 

But if you place your hand on the ground several inches away from that column, nothing will happen, for a while. Then suddenly one ant will leave the column and approach your hand. It will touch you and then turn and head back to the column, and begin “bouncing” other ants, which will also break the column and come and check your hand, and turn back, and “tell” others—those on the way to your hand, and then those still in the column. Eventually dozens of ants will be around your hand, and when enough of them are there you will feel the first one bite you!

At that point you should end the experiment, and move on! But if you just stayed there, eventually the whole column would change their original direction and eat you. And the whole colony would be well fed because one little ant broke rank and set out on a different course.

So, we are looking for some ants willing to step out and show our leaders, our businesses and our masses that there are different ways to survive and to thrive—inertia, our current state, not being one of them. But I can hear the insecure among us scathingly dismiss this comparison—“Ants! I is not ah ant”. And those who say that are correct: These little ants are probably far more intelligent than you are. They will follow one who leaves the masses to find success.

But, fellow ants, we are running out of time. Abuse, intolerance and insults will increase through January, as we have the THA Election campaign. Regardless of which Party wins, we will all lose—in terms of respect for our leaders, other politicians and even ourselves as we join the impotent, unproductive shouting on platforms and on our facebook threads. 

Then we in Trinidad will have the binge of Carnival to reassure ourselves that we are happy, a burst of revelry to put the election campaign behind us. But all the hurts will remain, and we will have to face those, and work to heal the emotional –hopefully not physical—wounds.

But this healing will not happen just so. This is not the tide, which having fallen, will rise again. And we know that our leaders—all now so totally mistrusted and distrusted, and indeed deservedly so—are not going to change anything, they can no longer move beyond insulting rebuttal to insulting comment.

So those of us, with good ideas and good intentions must be willing to leave the column and set out to explore the worth of our inspirations and intentions. And then we must come back to the pack and start to spread the word. Many will ignore us, and continue to blindly follow the pack, but some will break off, investigate and then join us---they are the second layer we will need to start the changes. Eventually some organizations will join, then, if there is “profit” in the growing idea, commerce will join—accept them, hypocritical though it may seem!

Finally, the country and the government might be walking your road, moving along the trail you began to clear, because you chose to do something to start that change.

My main focus as I seek to explore new trails this year will be our environment.

What will yours be?

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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