No We Can’t

We goin right down to the heart of the matter

Where reality bites

And illusion shatter

Right down to the heart of the matter

Desire go buss

And reality scatter

He promise the fire next time

And who eh dead

They badly wounded

—Talk Yuh Talk, 3 Canal

No we can’t. We can’t speak out.  We can’t have opinions.

No we can’t. We can’t go on air and question our leaders. We must behave. We must tow the line. We must be loyal subjects or be labelled as traitors.

No we can’t be outspoken. We can’t be satirists or investigators or analysts. We must take nice pictures of ministers.

It was a dream dreamt many years ago by a man in dark glasses who would sometimes take off his hearing aid so he didn’t have to listen to other people’s nonsense.

It was a dream he dreamt when he was putting his own mentors under house arrest for having too many radical ideas.

No we can’t.

We can’t have a functional media because that would mean there would be too many unanswered questions.

It was a dream founded in a divided society. Where big business calls the shots for small journalists and editors become the pawns and take intimidation like they take free tickets and nice food at corporate functions.

No we can’t.

We can’t be anything else but suspicious of each other. We can’t speak our truths without first wondering and agonising about who will be antagonised.

It was a dream dreamt by teeth-baring maximum leaders who set their minions on defenceless journalists. Who demand apologies for real and imagined offence.

No we can’t.

We can’t move on from this stagnant stink of self-censorship. How it go look if you say that? They go come for you. Legal or illegal. Accident or accidentally on purpose.

No we can’t.

We can’t bear to think that we have a right to speak up for ourselves. So we hold on to our hurt or become vapid exhibitionists who only read the papers to see who was in which cocktail party.

No we can’t. We can’t be Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert. We can’t satirise our leaders or make fun of their mismanagement of our lives.

No we can’t.

It was a dream born out of picong and mauvais langue being no longer acceptable except on the hustings or in Parliament.

We must be all that the maximum leader wants of us. His vision is the only one that matters.

Some animals are more equal than others. But the leader says that all citizens have the right to speed up the Bus Route and through the traffic. All citizens have the right to buy gas to have outriders and air-condition on full blast. All citizens have the right to clear the traffic out of their way in the heart of the city to pull up outside an office and walk in and complain.

All citizens have a right to ignore the Media Complaints Council and private legal advice. It’s not a big deal.

No we can’t.

We can’t possibly think that change is ever going to come to this place of ignorant, quick to anger, thin-skinned leaders.

We can’t ever get out of this morass of idiocy.

We can’t get up off our backsides and select someone younger and more thoughtful, whose vision is not of his own reflection.

No we can’t.

We can’t imagine ourselves ever as anything else but good slaves, doing massa’s bidding. We can’t bear the threat of massa’s whip coming down on our backs, or worse the committed slave that sells you out for daring to try to escape your enslavers.

We can’t be anything that is not expected of us. Loyal servants, with ready smiles and words of praise.

We must not ever even suspect that there is another way. For what would be left of our leaders if they were to realise one day that we didn’t need them to be our thought police? What would they be without their control and their veiled threats but frightened old men who want to hold on to their power like they want to hold on to their thinning hair and even thinner grasp of logic and/or reality?

No we can’t.

We can’t ever forget that they need us more than we could ever need them. We can’t ever leave them alone. Who then would give their lives meaning and purpose?

No we can’t.

One thought on “No We Can’t

  1. Damn right, if you really can’t stand it, get in line outside of the passport office in Port-of-Spain from 3:00AM and get yourself to the US or Canada my friend because change for the better is very far from being attained for our third-world-and-loving-it ridiculous country. Great post.

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