PEP COLUMN: Breakdown in our foundation
THEY ARE NOT criminal deportees from North America. Neither are they migrants from some other Caribbean country. In fact, they are not foreigners at all. No! They are born and bred Barbadians, and when you look at their photographs in the newspaper, they look no different from tens of thousands of other Barbadian young men.
When they were born – in 1979 and 1981– the supposedly great contemporary European philosophers were proclaiming that the projects that we Barbadians had embarked upon back in the 1930s, of seeking to establish a nation of our own, and pursuing the ideal of a society characterised by justice and righteousness, were no longer valid.
They told us that those projects were part of the “modern” phase of mankind’s development, and that human history had advanced beyond the “modern” era into so-called “post-modernity”.
Furthermore, they described the post-modern society as one in which the old human quest for truth, for universal and eternal values, and the construction of collective forms of existence that transcend narrow, individualistic desires and wants had become irrelevant.
And from the United States came the voice of the historian and former State Department functionary Francis Fukhuama, assuring us that history itself had come to an end, and that there was no form of human existence to be sought for beyond the Western liberal capitalist society, festooned with its narrow individualism, hyper-active materialism and crass commercialism.
If we Barbadians wish to comprehend why we are producing young men and women who are so devoid of any sense of connection between themselves and their fellow citizens that they are capable of committing callous fire bombings and public open-air executions, then we need to acquire an understanding of the extremely powerful political, cultural, psychological and economic forces that have reshaped the great centres of international capitalism in North America and Western Europe, and that are sedulously undermining our intrinsically weak neo-colonial society.
Back in the late 1960s and early 70s, if you asked typical Barbadian secondary school students what life was all about in Barbados, and where they were heading with their individual lives, they would give you sensible and coherent answers rooted in the collective national mission of independence and the construction of a new independent nation, and in the still vibrant effort to establish a multi-territory Caribbean nation and civilisation.
Ask the same questions to the Barbadian students of today and they cannot give you a meaningful answer. But it is not their fault. The current generation of official Barbadian leaders has failed to establish and set before our people any meaningful collective or national mission rooted in our own history and culture.
These “mis-leaders”, having facilely jumped on the Western capitalist bandwagon of globalising post-modern society, have permitted a socio-cultural vacuum to develop, and this vacuum is now gradually being filled with all of the diseased new cultural, political and economic secretions of the great centres of Northern capitalism.
It is not a simple question of reintroducing hanging, corporal punishment or Sunday School, The very fundamentals of our society have to be dealt with.
The PEP Column represents the views of the People’s Empowerment Party.
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