THE LOWDOWN: Lest we Singh no Moore
Rickey Singh and Carl Moore rank among our most celebrated columnists. It has been a signal honour to hold this spot these many years alongside Rickey. Especially since he has been a perfect gentleman. There are columnists with whom I wouldn’t spend a long weekend between closed newspaper sheets for all the money in the world. But Rickey is cool.
So it puzzles me that men of this calibre should be asking why Barbados abstained on the vote for Palestinian UN observer membership.
First off, governments work in mysterious ways their meanderings to perform. Case in point, last week my wife sent me to mail several postcards for different destinations. Clear instructions: get them weighed at the Belleplaine post office; affix the correct stamps.
So said, so done. This week we got a notice: all postcards being held at the General Post Office in Bridgetown for insufficient postage. To be sent by surface mail unless we pay up.
I called the GPO. Suggested that maybe the Belleplaine scale was faulty. “The scales are all the same”, came the curt reply.
There remained only one logical explanation: if letters without stamps become overweight when the stamps are put on, the extra weight must be in the stamps. And I soon realised why.
Most of the stamps feature pictures of Prince William and Princess Kate, no doubt taken before she got pregnant. The added weight of pregnancy obviously tipped the post office scales.
However, that is not my point. My point is that since the mistake was clearly not mine, any caring organisation would have apologised and tried to make up for lost time. I therefore asked if I could pay the difference at Belleplaine and have extra stamps put on in Bridgetown.
No way! Not with government. I had to buy the extra stamps in Belleplaine and have those exact stamps sent to town by the Post Office van. And you know what will happen: by the time they reach, Kate will have added extra pounds and the postcards will be overweight again.
How Messrs Singh and Moore could expect such a government to get around to explaining its abstention on the Palestinian vote beats me, but let me help them out.
Recall that overheard conversation between Presidents Sarkozy and Obama discussing Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu:
Sarkozy: “I cannot stand him. He’s a liar!”
Obama: “You’re fed up with him? I have to deal with him every day!”
Recall Britain’s offer to support the Palestinians’ vote only if they took no steps to have Israel tried for war crimes. Recall France’s ditto stance. Canada toeing the line.
Recall Netanyahu’s “humiliating smackdown” of Obama when the latter offered virtually anything if Netanyahu would please, sir, cuddear, ah beg yuh, just freeze new settlement building for 60 days. Yahu ignored him. Shades of Caligula’s “Let them hate as long as they fear”.
So how come an 8 000 square mile country (compare Guyana’s 83 000 square miles), totally dependent on US financial aid (US$3.1 billion plus per annum) can treat superpowers with such disdain? Ignore world opinion, occupy and annex lands at will, have nuclear weapons denied to other states?
There can be only one explanation. Other countries know it and they’re scared stiff.
Some years ago, so they say, it was recommended that Israel follow the example of Japan. Japan started a war with America, got flattened and then the Yanks built it into an economic giant. Why shouldn’t Israel do likewise?
Only one problem, their generals concluded. If Israel got into a war with America, the United States would be demolished, probably inside a week.
So where does that leave Barbados? In an extremely precarious position. Think of it: Israel threatened to annex even more chunks of Palestinian land if the vote went ahead. Our Father of Independence always boasted he was a Jew descended from the powerful Baruh Louzada family; Swan Street was formerly known as “Jew Street”; we have a Jerusalem in St Peter.
Rub them fellows the wrong way and they might claim Barbados. There’s a time to vote, my friends. And a time to abstain lest we Singh no Moore in this beloved land. Still want a reason? I’d say “PC”: political correctness or prudent cowardice. Your choice.
• Richard Hoad is a farmer and social commentator.