Who is protecting us?

Zombie nah go kill
Unless you tell am to kill
Zombie nah go stop
Unless you tell am to stop
Go and kill
Go and die

Zombie, Fela Kuti

Not that I’m a fan of the British royal family or anything, but it was quite interesting to note that Prince Harry son of the soon to be King, was being sent to Iraq kill.
It’s heartening, at least, for all those mothers now mourning their dead sons that it’s not just poor people’s children being sent to kill other poor people’s children.
Of course the fact that he’s so high profile makes him and his Blues and Royals regiment even more of a target for the insurgents.
It would be the ultimate scalp really.  Anti-West fundamentalists around the world would rejoice.  Kind of like I would if EMA would actually grow some balls and turn down Alutrint’s Certificate of Environmental Clearance.
But I digress.
I wonder what the delightfully melancholy Princess Di would have said about her boy child being sent to kill people.  After she devoted so much of her life to being a poster girl for clean white folks in well-starched safari outfits embracing the unclean, the maimed, the fly ridden children of the world.
Only for her son to become a certified killing machine.
I guess that’s the chance you take as a parent.  You don’t make their minds, no matter how well you try to shape them.
I mean, who watches their sweet powder smelling popo and says, ah yes, this one’s going to be one hell of a killer?
My verdict is still out on how I feel about soldiers.  On one hand they are state paid strong men.  On the other hand, perhaps a soldier also plays an important role as freedom fighter.  But that all depends on who is giving the orders. And whose version of freedom we’re going for.
I feel the same way about the police, security helicopters, the blimp and all the other accoutrements the state has come up with to supposedly protect us.
But it seems like our soliders engage in more dress up and grand charge than defending our patrimony.
This month marks another anniversary of the 1970 Black Power Revolution which climaxed in a mutiny of members of the Defense Force after the original Big Daddy Eric Williams declared a State of Emergency to deal with the revolting natives.
Come to think of it, that mutiny was probably one of the most noble things ever to be done by the protective services in Trinidad and Tobago.
I see soldiers in City Gate and I wonder if they’re there to protect me or kill me if I get out of line.
And from reading the blogs of Iraqis, I get the feeling that they have the same questions about whether the Allied Forces are there to free them or simply to make it possible for Dubya to get his grubby hands on their black gold.
So the Commissioner of Police will act all pleased with himself that the Carnival was incident free.  And everybody will jump up and say ray.  Well allow me to lead the chorus of boos.  Because I saw lots of incidents.
I saw lots of incidents of Trinidad protective services intimidating regular citizens, strong arming people who were trying to enjoy their Carnival.
Between the annoyingly ever-present blimp and security helicopters hovering like a bad dream, I didn’t feel safe.  I felt like I was in a war zone.  Where the people are the insurgents and the police and soldiers are trying to protect us from ourselves.
This is not the kind of security we need.  And I feel like a stuck record saying again that homeland security is not about how many soldiers and how many jails and how many blimps.
Homeland security is defending your nation against marauders of all kinds.
Prince Harry speeds off in his Spartan armoured recon vehicle to defend the rights of the free world but who protects the regular men women and children of Iraq?
While the blimp is busy watching for crimes in progress, who is watching how to stop them from starting at all?

The Real Terrorism

I heard terrorism makes good television
It’s no coincidence and as a matter of fact
If it weren’t guaranteed to be on television
There’d be less reason for a terrorist attack

I say television ignores terrorism
When was the last time you saw on your screen
The assassinations and bombings and bulldozers that
Are just a part of our government’s routine
Terrorism makes good TV, Pierce Woodward

So, the talk is that Trinidad and Tobago is a hotbed of terrorist activity.
And I am inclined to agree with that supposition but for entirely different reasons to those posed by that alarmist piece of thinly veiled jingoism that appeared in some nondescript publication called Investors.com.
In this buzz word time when everybody wants to be the one to coin the next catchy piece of double speak, we really need to understand what terrorism means to us.
Funny that homeland security only refers to big bad countries who give multi million dollar contracts to aluminum companies to build their arms for them.  Funny that our little piece of rock has no conception of security, or the value of patrimony, for the people and not the corporatocracy.
And maybe if for one minute we were to consider the terrorists we wanted to protect ourselves against, maybe we’d start with the ones in jackets and ties who say things like they have a job to do and let’s look at the figures and not the people.
If we wanted to protect ourselves against the common enemy maybe we would discover that the common enemy is fear.
Fear of each other, fear of poverty, fear of stagnation, fear of not being able to know if you will live out your days without being shot, maimed, run over or off the road, bludgeoned with a crowbar.
In a country of 1.3 million people there are six million ways to die. And I was told that I didn’t have a head for maths so I guess that’s why the figures don’t really make sense to me.
I’m checking out the situation and it occurs to me that the real threat is not from real or imagined bogey men lurking in a compound on Mucurapo Road.
I don’t understand why we need to import American paranoia.  Aren’t we scared enough already as it is?  Haven’t we gorged ourselves with enough of their mythology?  Aren’t we too trying to live out the American nightmare with our chicken and chips proclivity?
If we want to talk about terrorism in Trinidad, why don’t we talk about those terrorists in that red building in the middle of the woefully stink city of Port of Spain.
Terrorism is a government that ignores the voices of people.
Terrorism is police officers arresting a man on dubious charges and not giving a justification.  Terrorism is undermining press freedoms because you are so caught up in urban creole racism and Christian sanctimony that you treat everyone with a different perspective like a criminal while some jackasses are allowed to bray on national radio with impunity.
Terrorism is pastors beating their Bibles and calling for hangings, but not talking about small church corruption.
Terrorism is what happens every night to street children in Port of Spain and Curepe and St. James.
Just when we’ll get interested enough in that kind of terrorism I’d really like to know.  Instead of clouding the issues with the scare mongering tactics of rich white men in America who want to protect their oil supply so that they can build bigger and better SUV’s every year.
I fear for my land that cannot breathe.  I fear for melting icebergs and rising ocean levels. I fear for children who get shot in crossfire and grannies who cannot die with dignity.  I fear for a future that looks less and less bright every time Papa Patos or anyone from the so-called opposition open their mouths.
I do not fear for civilizations built on the blood and sweat of my ancestors. al Qaeda won’t be responsible for anyone’s fall. Civilisations destroy themselves from the inside, under the weight of all their guilt and wealth and opulence and oppression.
The biggest threat to our security is our collective insecurity.  The insecurity that fosters greed.  The many isms that keep us peeping over our walls not wanting to reach out to those who are different.