Last update: 12-Dec-2013 4:50 am
Thursday, December 12, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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The President of the jellyfish generation
President Carmona’s comment about the education and other systems producing a spineless generation of yes-men is a sentiment, more than anything, that surfaces occasionally in the public sphere, gets some harrumphs and then, nothing.
To say this isn’t a new observation is to say very little. Sparrow saw it from the point of view of the dangers of dissent: “They say you free to criticise/but then you are victimised.” “They” are the same people who, Walcott said, “promise free and fair debate/then blow up radicals to save the state.”
ANR Robinson was a little more elaborate about the provenance of the “yes man” phenomenon in his book The Mechanics of Independence: “The leader had built up a personal following who…are fired up by expectations of reward… With the growth of authority and stature of the leader, dissent becomes progressively less tolerated, and it is equated with disloyalty.”
All the quotations above are from the 60s and 70s. And even then, it was no secret. The hundreds of thousands of emigrants who fled between 1961 and 2000 (and continue to do so) didn’t and don’t leave because Trinidad is/was the bestest country in the world. (And they don’t come back because they love it so much. They come back to look at what they escaped, mutter “Thank God/Ram/Allah” then bawl out “I love Trinnidard” as they scamper back onto the plane after their ten-days. But I digress.)
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