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THE LOWDOWN: Brutish beasts

Richard Hoad

THE LOWDOWN: Brutish beasts

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O judgment! Thou art fled to brutish beasts, and men have lost their reason. – Shakey  
Sir Frederick “Sleepy” Smith is my type of down-to-earth, straight-talking person. As the last great public exponent of the wonderful Bajan twang, he should be recorded and preserved as a national treasure.
However, I must respectfully disagree with his call that Barbados should abandon the tried and proven monarchial system in favour of a dicey, disastrous republic.
Perhaps our unparalleled history of parliamentary democracy, our traditional respect for law and order, our present and former outstanding leadership have lulled Sir Sleepy into a false sense of security.
“I can’t see any dictatorship or any nonsense creeping into Barbados,” he says, “and Barbados becoming a banana republic.”
Did he see Guyana, once a respected parliamentary neighbour, being turned into a chaotic failed state by just one megalomaniac republican president?
Did he envisage the sort of low-class conflicts and confusion over the powers of president, prime minister and speaker in the republic of Trinidad and Tobago?
Did he ever think that an American presidential candidate would “tief” an election?
These are the hallmarks of too many a republican government. If a majority of Barbadians want to sever links with the British Royal Family, there is nothing wrong with that. But, for God’s sake, let’s not lower-rate ourselves to the status of republic.
King Sleepy The First or King Clifford The Genial could work just as well.
Let’s go a bit deeper. We who study mankind and other animals realise that primitive, primaeval instincts lurk just beneath the surface. After a terrible disaster, for instance, otherwise decent humans will loot and steal.
We used to be kept in check by God’s law, the Bible, and the laws of our country. We have dissed the Bible and now it is only respect for law and order which keeps us behaving as civilised human beings.
But how durable is that respect? Sir Frederick has great faith that Barbadians “are sensible enough” to uphold these traditions. But are they?
What message do we get when two senior retired diplomats in the SUNDAY SUN rejoice at the cold-blooded murder of a sick, unarmed fugitive? One said: “He deserved the bullet in the head and the watery grave”; the other, “It was Obama’s finest hour!” No trial, no semblance of justice. Judgment fled to brutish beasts and the lynch mob rules again.
The past and present United Nations commissioners for extrajudicial killing are seriously concerned.
Is a precedent being set where one country can send an assassination squad into another country without permission to “take out” whomsoever they deem to be “enemies”?
They reject the claim of self-defence as nonsense. You can’t kill a man ten years after he allegedly attacks you and claim self-defence. And they see the cut in the video footage when he was being killed and the hurried disposal of the body at sea so no post-mortem could be done as blatant ploys to conceal evidence.
Barack Obama came big with promises to restore decency to the image of Bush’s America – close Guantanamo, end torture, deal fairly with those imprisoned without trial.
He has not delivered. In fact, he has taken America further into the realms of lawlessness – even Bush brought Saddam to trial before executing him.
Obama’s killing of Osama bin Laden and crude agenda to effect regime change in Libya by bombing Gaddafi’s home show that brutish beasts are alive and well.
Bin Laden used despicable methods but he stood for something – the end of Soviet and American control in his part of the world. Obama is standing for only one thing – re-election.