THE LOWDOWN: Battle of Hoad’s goat pasture
Judging from the many day and night “battles” in this area, the Barbados military and their overseas counterparts are convinced that any war on this island will be fought at Morgan Lewis, more precisely on my farm.
There was one such last week. We were eating lunch when BOOM! an explosion rent the air. “Transformer blown up!” said one. “The end of the world”, said another. “Great grannie poop!” said a little one.
Then my wife stormed in: “The Defence Force just fired a cannon right next to our farm. Now they’re rushing around screaming. The horse is trying to kill itself, the goats are terrified, the dogs are trembling. Richard, do something!”
The usual story. Cannon to the right of me, cannon to the left of me, cannon while I leaked weewee . . . Storm’d at with shot and shell, boldly I strode and well, into the jaws of Death, into the mouth of hell . . .
Actually they had paused to regroup and while it’s unnerving to walk in front of maybe a dozen unsmiling guys lying on their bellies with rifles trained on your spleen, I made it to the commanding officer.
Heed the Good Book at times like these: a soft answer turneth away wrath; a harsh word stirreth up anger. “Excuse me, sir,” I ventured respectfully. “Your munitions are mutilating our modesty and mighty dread hath seized our troubled minds, not to mention our bowels”.
Upon which he transferred the battle a kilogram or so to the east where it raged for days and nights thereafter. Most spectacular are the flares which light up the sky at 2 a.m. followed by thundering outbursts of firing when the enemy is spotted. “Shoot whenever the enemy is spotted,” seems to be the army motto. A leopard wouldn’t last five minutes in this area.
Sometimes flares land still burning and set fire to your grass. They could wipe out your livelihood in one fell swoop. We found one in my field afterwards complete with its parachute.
Over the years we’ve become accustomed to living in a war zone. We even see a plus to all this. Last weekend the wife and I were discussing how if a real battle is fought here, our grandsons could make money out of guided tours. Whereupon I fell asleep to the sound of musketry and dreamed that little Dominic was conducting such a tour:
“Yep, this is the very spot where Grandpa fell. You see, for a long while the Trinis were seething because Chefette rotis taste better than any in Trinidad.
“And when Kamla got word that Jack-in-the-Box Gully and Warner’s Terrace were named after her former minister, she was fit to be tied. Then the Americans joined her.
“What happened was, unlike Sinckler and Sealy, who were ‘promising’ fellows, Minister Ronald Jones was a man of action, renaming three whole schools during his tenure. When Jonesy heard that the PM was ‘fed up with these Bees’, he disabled the ‘B’ key on the PM’s computer.
“Next day the PM messaged a friend about a ‘boil on his botsey’, and American intelligence, an oxymoron if there ever was one, figured we had ‘oil in our otsey’ and joined the invasion.
“Nor did it help when Bajan children taunted: ‘Come down, Obama, come in yuh drone, we goin’ smash it wid Sousie pone. Come down, Kamla, sail in yuh barge, we ent ’fraid, Rip Van Winkle in charge!’”
At which point, unfortunately, I woke up and never got to hear how the battle ended.
Two messages. To President Obama: you see yourself as a possible wrongly profiled Trayvon Martin. Think again. Your “signature” drone strikes “target groups of men by using behaviour patterns associated with terrorist activity rather than targeting terrorists with known identities”. Isn’t that profiling? Drones killed 3 587 in Pakistan since 2004. According to Stanford Law School, only two in every hundred were actual terrorists.
Look in your mirror: do you see an innocent victim lookalike? Or a wannabe world cop with a lethal weapon?
To Brass Tacks callers: you are welcome to promote casino gambling with gangsterism and prostitution ad nauseam. But if you dare send “best wishes” to a woman in actual labour, the moderator may fly on you like a raging pit-bull. Be warned!
• Richard Hoad is a farmer and social commentator.