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OUR CARIBBEAN: Of sickness and political ‘madness’

Rickey Singh

OUR CARIBBEAN: Of sickness and political ‘madness’

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NOT SINCE suffering a cardiac arrest some 18 years ago that necessitated surgery, have I been compelled to be bed-ridden for more than a week earlier this month, and counting.

It was a bitter experience to result from that feared viral disease with the long, ugly name of chikungunya, transmitted by infected mosquitos. What some prefer to shortlist as “chikv” has triggered anxieties across this nation, and others in our region, to be on constant alert of “enemy No. 1” – mosquitoes.

The pain has been excruciating and my dear wife has rallied with customary love and tender care, as we await the blood test result.

At the same time, I remain intrigued by a casual observation from a very caring doctor who witnessed my blood test. She had noted that though manifestations of my illness could be likened to chikungunya, close monitoring was still occurring of a similar viral disease that’s yet to be definitively identified with a name.

Well, thank God, it is not the dreaded Ebola disease that’s on the rampage across Africa and spawning growing fears among nations, including those of the developed, rich and powerful bloc of states.

If there is a common message for all of us – here and across the Caribbean homeland in relation to the horrible chikungunya disease and the terrifying Ebola killer – it could well be to cultivate a more caring attitude towards those around us to be of some help in this time of spreading, nerve-wracking challenging health problems.

God knows that for all their wealth and military might, the rich and powerful western nations may well have, paradoxically, trapped themselves into a political cul-de-sac by their initial exuberance to launch a “coalition of willing” countries to bombard targets of the ISIS islamist combatants in Iraq and Syria.

These jihadists, who see themselves as “liberators” from the “infidels of the west”, have among their big, dependable funders, some of the very countries and governments of the Middle East that continue to multiply chaotic choices for superpower United States and its allies as they make a farce of the so-called “war against terrorism”.

To make matters worse, if not more laughable, the US, Israel, Palestine and their allies brokered a new aid deal with donor nations last week in Cairo, committing themselves to pledges totalling some US$5.4 billion to “rebuild” Gaza.

Yes, to “rebuild” Gaza – after the recent systematic bombing destruction by Israel’s military force, and worse, without anything in place that could be referenced as a new approach for the long elusive but most desirable two-state solution. This is the sort of political madness that fosters cynicism, and worse.

The western powers and Israel have got to be kidding – from no solution in sight in the war against well-armed, well-funded and highly committed ISIS jihadists, to a new “donors pledge” to reconstruct what Israel so systematically and callously destroyed in Gaza – but with no reference to the vital concept of a two-state solution that requires Israelis and Palestinians living side by side within defined borders as independent member states of the United Nations.

I have no doubt that President Barack Obama is sincere in his public assurances of seeking a world free from international terrorism, hunger, poverty and diseases. What, however, seems sadly lacking is tangible evidence of any serious, sustained initiative to transform “assurances” into realities.

In the meanwhile, there is this bit of fun politicking involving a foreign Methodist minister, Reverend William St Clair, who seems to be enjoying himself at the expense of the good old-fashioned Barbadian concept of  being charitable, with his self-indulgent passion for walking around barefoot in church while preaching.

Whatever his own social, cultural and religious antecedents, this gentleman – to judge from his public posturings and sayings – needs to calmly reflect on the harm he may be doing, not just against himself, but others armed with a better understanding of Christ’s teachings and concept of humility and love.

There is something this “minister of Christ” does not seem to appreciate about the rights of the people of a sovereign nation by his posturings to insist having his way as a barefoot preacher.

The question being asked by well-meaning Barbadians is whether this American preacher should not simply wear his shoes as Christ did during His sojourn on earth?  

What message of defiance and sheer disrespect does he seem so anxious to convey to young and old Barbadians – under the guise of his personal preference? He may well be too insensitive for his own good. We shall see.

• Rickey Singh is a noted Caribbean journalist.