EDGE OF THE ABYSS - Claude Mills (circa 2002) Featured
I saw a group of young men hurling stones and insults at the JUTC buses as well as green-clad supporters riding by on bikes. I was particularly concerned about two persons on one of the bikes which putt-putted by at about 35 miles per hour. One young man had a shy at them with a large stone, but missed the pillion rider by a good four feet.
It was my first face-to-face experience with politically-motivated violence of that kind.
As the Big Date approaches, the playfulness of the radio ads has been replaced by the flair of the parties for the double-edged sound-bite which surfaces in the 'My Way' and 'God a Sleep' television ads.
The bubble of euphoria generated by the 40th anniversary of independence celebrations, and the World Youth Championships has long since evaporated under the heat of the rising political temperature. The murmurings of trouble are all over: a PNP supporter was shot in the vicinity of Dr. Peter Phillips' office; roadblocks in Bull Bay; a JLP supporter was killed in South St. Andrew while awaiting transportation; JLP supporters were attacked in Porus on Sunday night, and a bunch of atrocities- yet-to-come-to-pass are in the cards.
We are a rather stupidly politicised society living under the delusion that everything in life is arguable, political and hence manipulable. Things will not change anytime soon, especially with this society's ever lowering threshold for ignorance, death and despair. We can stomach a lot of it.
My moral imperative is to stay alive.
No one really wants peace in this country. We aren't ready for it. Just look at the petulant, almost childish, tear-the-wings-off-a-fly behaviour that the fringe element of BOTH parties indulge in. But what galls me is that we allow the menace of a minority to hold all of us hostage.
What I find fascinating is that male colleagues of mine who used to recite our unofficial national motto: 'nothing nah gwaan, Star' whenever you encountered them on a corner somewhere are now the ones who are shouting 'power' and 'shower' loudest. I think they are just positioning themselves for political largesse selling their votes to the highest bidder.
Suddenly, these guys have forgotten that they are poor and unemployed, or unemployable, and after the elections, little will change. They suspend their beliefs, choosing to view this election as an opportunity for a better way of life, or the point at which things go decidedly downhill. Either way, the end-is-nigh paranoia is rife, and that makes for a lot of desperate men with something about the night about their personalities.
Like the Chinese say, 'may you live in interesting times' and as a reporter, the year 2002 certainly qualifies as 'interesting'.
But as a citizen of this country, I am deeply saddened. I have accepted that I will not see change in my generation. The politicians can't stop what is going even if they wanted to. They are merely the laughing tigers and the gibbering hyenas performing on-stage for the amusement of the public. Can you really tell who's controlling who anymore? Can you tell the dancer from the dance?
Every country has its dark times. We have come to the leading edge of our abyss, and the abyss gazes into us. And so begins our slow skid into chaos and anarchy. Accept it. We are toddling off to hell in the same handcart. Just sit back and enjoy the ride.
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