Saturday, August 30, 2014

Independence 2014

Forged from the love of liberty is the opening line to this country's national anthem, and while we may cherish our liberty, it is as much an overstatement to say now as it was then that the independence we know today has been forged as in iron, melted to the quick to be reformed and repurposed. No, our nation was not forged but negotiated into being on the collapse of the Federation of Caribbean states that perhaps, if we had today, would have us soaring among the great nations, twenty five million souls strong, food and energy independent, able to punch way above our weight and class.

In the fires of hope and prayer we hope on and pray for the selfless guidance that would transform this nation into something more in keeping with what something this blessed should be fifty two years along on its journey

With boundless faith in our destiny speaks to a unified vision, something that we have glimpsed twice, maybe three times over the course of our history. The raising of the red, white and black in 1962, the surrender of the Jamaat al Muslimeen in 1990, and the qualification for the World Cup in Germany in 2006. Other unifying moments may have occurred but they slip my mind now, I name these three as contrast to the chaos of our normal, one nation divided under God.

Side by side we stand, islands of the blue Caribbean Sea is sung with such pride if for nothing then celebrate your geographical location, this our native land, for many of us, three and four generations in we are still reminded that we are not 'Trini' enough (whatever that means), we pledge our lives to thee.

Here every creed and race continues to fight for an equal space, with the dream of the proportional representation that might make that a reality if only politically now paused perpetually in the name of a second ballot run off that is supposed to give smaller groups a magical voice somehow, we lurch and lumber on.

Many things come to mind when celebrating independence, in our case all we have to give thanks for is that we get to make our own decisions, regardless of how reckless that process might sometime seem to be.

Fifty years on we are still no closer to racial harmony, still have no working model to really share the wealth of this nation among the creeds and races that we boastfully claim in our rainbow, and we still have not found the self awareness to understand that in a nation this wealthy, any ghetto, regardless of the make up of its inhabitants, is an indictment of failure against us all.

We are a nation of contrasts and contradictions that have struck up an uneasy peace lubricated by the petrochemical dollars that keep us all employed. Until we can develop an economy that can survive the shock of an oil and gas market collapse we remain ironically dependent on foreign consumption to pay local bills.

That we have no collective understanding of those bigger problems while we magnify and make a mess of the small ones shows that perhaps we have not yet developed the maturity level required to be running our own affairs. An estimated fifty percent of this country's revenues have been lost to mismanagement and outright theft over the years, with not one single solitary soul ever having to shoulder the burden of consequence of actions.

We will gather to ooh and aah at the annual celebratory fireworks display and cross another year older off our collective calendar, but writing this I find myself confused as to what we as a nation are celebrating at all.

Be that as it may, happy independence 2014 Trinidad & Tobago.

And may God Bless our nation....

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