Sunday, July 21, 2024
HomeEducation / CultureLet freedom reign

Let freedom reign

By Anthony Deyal

I woke up, as I do every Wednesday morning, my head buzzing with the research I had done for this column and the compulsion to write. I was going to share with you my belief that we in the 13 English-speaking Caribbean countries have more in common that we have differences but we only come together when we are challenged by “outside” forces and sometimes those from inside our politics and media.

Looking at a Wikipedia article on Caribbean English, I was taken back, rather than aback, by the way, the people in all the countries in which I had worked and even lived, said the same thing in slightly different words. The example used is Standard English, “Where is that boy?” The Barbadian version is, “Wherr dah boi?”, the Jamaican, “Weh dah bwoy deh?” and the Trinidadian is, “Wey dat boy deh?” Going north, Belizeans would ask, “Weh iz dat bwoy deh?”, Bahamas, “Wey dat boy iz?”, St Vincent and the Grenadines, “Wey dah boy deh deh”, and down to Guyana, “Weyr iz daht bai?” I know that at one time in Trinidad the answer would have been, “He dey dey dey!”

What caused me to think so much about our region was, first of all, one of several similar advertisements by On sale was, “Sierra: New Music With A Caribbean Accent” and the songs were, “Vestigos Rituales; by Cheryl Seltzer”, “Conjuros: 11. Lube-Lube; by Joel Sachs” and muchas otras. No Bob Marley or Jimmy Cliff, Sparrow, Merry Men, Nailah Blackman, Shenseea or Rihanna. The other memory that flooded my mind was the first anniversary of the Revolution of 13 March 1979 when Maurice Bishop and his New Jewel Movement took over Grenada. I was glad to know it was peaceful but sad to see that however much I liked him, Maurice Bishop had set himself up for an inevitable fall. I was there for the fist anniversary of the “revolution” and recognised that Maurice would inevitably be removed from power by Bernard Coard and his hard-liners.

I saw this happening, in July 1990, echoing really, in Trinidad when Abu Bakr and his Jamaat al Muslimeen gang took over the parliament and the national television station, killing 24 people, wounding many others, shooting the Prime Minister, A.N.R Robinson and holding him and some of his Ministers hostage. I got involved when I wrote articles which showed that Robinson was not the villain that the foreign media made him, and that Bakr was very, very far from being a hero. A year later, I wrote an alternate history, or speculative fiction, on the first year of Bakr’s rule if we had lost Trinidad and Tobago to him, Libya’s Gadaffi and the other criminals. It was called “A Midsummer’s Nightmare.”

“As I wake to the insistent howl of loudspeakers with the call to morning prayer it suddenly hits me that today is Saturday, July 27, the long-awaited First Anniversary of our glorious revolution. All during the past month, there has been talk of nothing else. In his nightly broadcast following the evening prayer, his Holiness the Hajji, Lord of Light and of the Universe, Lion of the Caribbean, his Royal Highness Colonel Yaseen Abu Bakr, has stressed the importance of the occasion.

“During this year His Lordship has grown in strength. From that fateful night when he staged his coup and got the army and police to lay down their arms, and a grateful nation gave him their freedom in exchange for their liberation from hateful democracy, he has cemented his hold on the state.

“We are now a fundamentalist Muslim State. The Ayatollahs are everywhere denouncing transgressions wherever they occur. Immediately following the glorious revolution all looters, anyone with identifiably stolen goods had their hands cut off. The police and ministers on drug charges were publicly executed. Many people no longer miss the television soap operas as the public beatings of wanton women, and the execution of all who oppose the rule of His Glorious Majesty, give us great pleasure and excitement.

“The months following the glorious revolution were difficult for us all. The closure of the churches and the execution of the Christian leaders were initially difficult to accept. The women also found it difficult to refrain from displaying themselves publicly and from having to share their husbands with other women.  In the end, however, good sense prevailed.

“As members of OPEC and the Arab League, we are now part of the struggle against the Jews and their protectors, the hated Americans under the reviled Bush. It is whispered that we will soon have the capacity to produce nuclear weapons and we will aim them at the pig‑dog enemy across the Caribbean.

“Our glorious leader took his tenth wife in a wedding attended by many international leaders and broadcast via satellite on Cable News Network. It was a proud moment for us all.

“We are now very safe indeed. The police force and army, long since executed or sent to the labour camps, are no longer around to terrify us. The Legions of His Holiness are everywhere around us, armed with the most modern weapons in order to guarantee our survival.  It is whispered that there are some infidels in the hills who seek to harry our beloved leader and to take us back to the slavery of the past, but that will not be allowed to happen. Already our great allies, the Libyan and Cuban military advisers, have started training many of our youths in the finer arts of warfare. Daily the armed helicopter gunships hover over the hills and coastal plains, seeking those who would destroy all we have gained from the revolution.

“Our children now attend schools supervised by the Ayatollahs. His Glorious Highness has himself taken the responsibility for education and our children can already recite all the Holy Words, and are skilled in guns and other armaments. There is talk, too, of an invasion of Guyana. Our Glorious Leader has spoken oft about a “jihad” to liberate that poor, unfortunate land. It is said that His Highness, Major Abdullah, would lead his special squad, the Dervishes, into that battle.

“There was talk, immediately following the Glorious 27 of July of elections and of a gathering of leaders, to be called a Summit. His Lordship, in his wisdom, has decreed against that, and the revolutionary council is now paramount. It is indeed a great day that I have lived to see. Later today there will be feasting, speeches and a public execution of one of the old politicians who instead of being glad to be allowed to labour in the sugar cane fields sought to foment discord. Most important of all, the greatest Leader of all time, before whom even our Glorious Leader bows, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, is here and would address this humble nation.  About FREEDOM.”

*Tony Deyal was last seen praying for the region and quoting columnist and humourist, Molly Ivins, “So keep fightin’ for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don’t you forget to have fun doin’ it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce.” 



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