Lessons from the Waterfront.


Families came from as far as Longdenville last night to show support. Photo courtesy Fixin’ T&T 

In as much as I am anti-establishment and mostly uninterested in displays of nationalism, it was telling that as we sang the anthem at the adjournment of the sitting of the Lower House at which the Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2014 was passed just after 4.00 this morning, the UNCites didn’t see it necessary to stop their exit from the building to stand at attention. They kept walking, as if we needed any more proof of utter lack of respect for the country and the people.
Anyway, we’ll be back out in front of Parliament today at 3 p.m., recess or no recess and every day until the Senate sitting next Tuesday. Everyone needs to petition the independent senators. A document is being prepared that outlines why this Bill must not be made law to be distributed to people who want more information.
And to the people who are believing the media who asked a couple of red or yellow t-shirts that the people who were at the Waterfront from 9 a.m. to 4.30 a.m. in the rain, dew and sun were uninformed, ignorant, or a bunch of feters please come down there and see for yourself. If you too fraid then say so. If you like things just so then say so. But the cameras weren’t there for 90 per cent of the time. People talked, asked questions, challenged each other. A few other things:
– The police are on the side of the people. They came and said this to us on more than one occasion.
– HOWEVER: the police have been given a mission to infiltrate and destabilise any sign of resistance. If you come down to the Waterfront please be aware that they are making an effort to antagonise people by quoting repealed laws and saying things like ‘we could lock allyuh up yuh know but we giving allyuh a bligh’ so that at the first sign of vexation they can start to beat people and lock them up. Read Article Four of the Constitution. Don’t give them the opportunity.
– A member of the renta crowd positioned at the barricade to skin teet with Aunty Kamla slipped a media worker a note on a copy book page saying she couldn’t talk because she was a CEPEP worker.
– People came from all over Trinidad last night, including a woman who travelled home to Chaguanas to bade and feed her dogs but came back and spent the rest of the night.
– There was a steady crowd throughout the night, we pooled resources to make sure that everyone was fed and and watered.
– Hyatt have nice toilet.
– There are 10 CCTV cameras that are in plain view outside the Parliament.
– Aunty Kamla feel she smart but she needs to realise that Trinis will take and take and take and then make you eat the bread the devil knead.

The devil start to weigh flour last night.

Clean Hands, Please

Nothing new left to say
Can be heard
Nothing helps me find my way
Empty words
No more will I question why
What we feel
Nothing left to make me try
Nothing’s real

—Nothing, Nitin Sawhney

There aren’t many days that go by in this yes man town without me thinking about the value of civil disobedience.

It’s the only option you have when the house Negroes are running amok, unleashing their own scary brand of oppression. When class struggle is masked in imitation perfume and SUVs. Civil disobedience makes sense in a way that most things don’t.

It’s especially on my mind these days, with Christmas in the air and the story of that revolutionary fellar Jesus hidden under a mass of frou frou and folly.

From South Africa to India to Galilee. I read about these heroes of civil disobedience. Conscientious objectors. Tree huggers and rabble rousers. Elderly women in Niger engaging in a silent, naked protest against Shell’s involvement in the murdering of their men and the destruction of their land. I fill my head with their stories and pray to have even a morsel of their bravery, humility and ingenuity.

Whether you are an indigenous Indian in the Chiapas region of the Mexico demanding land rights or a Chatham resident protecting your land against the introduction of an aluminum smelter, making a statement is not just your right, it is your duty.

Civil disobedience in its most non-violent form is compassion in the form of respectful disagreement.

History offers us many examples of people who stood for non-violent protest, who stood for civil disobedience, who stood for regular people defending their right to justice, good governance and a peaceful sustainable livelihood.

So when I read that Basdeo Panday justifies as civil disobedience his childish little I’m going to wipe my hand and not say hello because I don’t like you, I want to ask him if he understands or remembers what that means.

Granted I would probably hesitate to shake Papa Patos’ hand too, but then again I’m not facing corruption charges.

It’s more glaring than that obscene waste of electricity on top of the KFC on Independence Square, that the UNC wouldn’t know civil disobedience if it came up and wined on them on J’ouvert morning.

Unfortunately for us, we are besieged by leaders and their foreign cohorts who still think they can come and tie us up with high tech terms and high falutin words. We’re supposed to be dazzled and mesmerized by any tata that they spew, provided it’s loud enough or accompanied with the appropriate amount of bells and whistles.

I wish Basdeo Panday for one moment would remember where he came from. Remember his days as a young lawyer with a social conscience, before he joined the parasitic oligarchy and started prancing around in a beret like some kind of ole mas on a Tuesday afternoon in the middle of Poison. I wish Basdeo Panday would remember or one of his party faithful would remind him that he stood for something once upon a time.

For this generation who have no benefit of first hand memory of when he was a serious challenge. I wish someone would tell him to get real and have a little more dignity. That the masculinist frothing at the mouth is so last century.

We have too many fossils parading as sacred in this country. Too many institutions that mean nothing to us that we’re supposed to show respect for. But that doesn’t mean that because Uncle Ramesh and Uncle Bas are nursing their school ground grudges and acting like spoilt children we’re all supposed to convince ourselves that they’re somehow right or justified.

Because if the UNC were serious about doing something about the political climate in Trinidad and Tobago, Basdeo Panday wouldn’t be the leader of the Opposition.

I wish politicians would wipe their hands clean of their own hyprocrisy. And wipe their hands of dirty politics and fear mongering. I wish they would all just grow and move on and let someone else have a go instead of dragging us through the drudgery of their same old hurts and their same old insecurities and their same old hang-ups. It’s not just boring, it’s out a timing and counter-productive.

Dutty Politics

“I will not have my life narrowed down. I will not bow down to somebody else’s whim or to someone else’s ignorance.”
bell Hooks

As if the UNC wasn’t already such a colossal waste of space and daily adding more ammunition to Papa Patos’ ever enlarging sense of self-importance, they had to come and make things worse.
As if it wasn’t already bad enough that they are a sham opposition and their incessant fumblings and foibles aren’t enough of a jeopardizing of our full experience of democracy, whatever that means in this little neo-colonial playground of the rich and gormless.
They had to come with the dutty wine politics.  They had to put an ad for their Carnival fete in the newspapers with their rising sun logo stamped just north of a red girl’s yellow and orange panty.
Okay, okay I concede. So it was equal opportunity objectification.  There was an African girl in a ripped t-shirt and a UNC logo between her breasts and an Indian girl in a batty rider shorts with a logo like a slap across her face.
And of course the red girl in the middle, just to the right of poor Roy Cape with the sun rising out of her yellow panty.
Well yes.
We really reach where we have to go when the political parties start buying into the ‘sex sells’ folly.
Every nubile, flat bellied, pretty faced agency brown girl in Trinidad is ripe for the picking.
Ripe for the auction block.  Suitable for to be plucked, splayed, filleted for public (read male) consumption.
There’s nothing wrong with freeing up, liberating women from the enslavement of clothes and those passé Victorian puritan notions of decency, right?
I suppose I should forget the patriarchy and that women’s bodies are always the point of contestation.
I suppose I shouldn’t be alarmed that a political party, an institution of power and authority has jumped in the gayelle and joined the fight to have ownership of women’s sexuality for its own purposes.
Sex sells even as more little girls pose for camera phone porn in their class rooms.  Sex sells even as young women between the ages of 15-24 contract HIV because they haven’t the words nor the power to negotiate condom use with their macho Trini men partners.
Sex sells, ent? And the ad for the UNC fete of the year is bordered with the words one dollar, over and over.  That’s the value UNC puts on the bodies of young women.
Sex sells, well if that isn’t the cliché of Generation X, I don’t know what is.  Because I’m not putting water in my mouth to say that it’s not so much that sex sells, baby, it’s that women’s bodies are so highly sexualized in our advertising, our music and videos that we can’t see ourselves as anything else.
I look at that ad and I try to figure out what is supposed to be sexy about it. I ask my bredrins and they can’t see it either.  Because like so many other low grade, poor quality sexism posing as advertising, there’s no real sexiness to this thing.  No portrayal of sexuality that celebrates the goddess in us.  No creative odes to femininity, no delightful sensuality, no subtle desirability.
‘Sexy’ women selling everything from cars to half limp political parties is not fecund. It’s feculent, stinker than the smell of smelting and corrupt officials circling like well-dressed cobos.
No sah, it’s the same predictable, emotionless, lowest common denominator, formulaic like a bead and sequins bikini band. Like every five cents snack box soca and the poor misguided little boys and girls who think that this is their ticket to stardom.
I reason with some people.  They say, you know how it go.  Some little upstart in the party must have convinced the older heads that this was a good way to get to the young people.  Because everyone knows that young Trinbagonians only have sex on the brain.  Everyone knows that a sun rising out of a yellow panty is the key to political power.
Hold your corner and wine down low.  That is the real secret.
Talk about who have the best pipe and skin your teeth plenty and people will like you.  Talk bout sleeping with the devil to gain power and for sure you have a place in the hearts and minds of the party faithful.
We really reach where we have to go, I telling you.  We reach the lowest of the low, lower than the lowest rung of a limbo pole.  Lower than the La Basse. Lower than the dry season trickle of the East Dry River.
Dutty wine politics is taking over.  I wonder how many girls are going to break their necks for more visionless politicians to come to power.