EDITORIAL: Our mirror image still matters
WHAT KIND OF mirror image do you have of yourself?
It is the one question that has transcended time and one often asked, particularly when we reflect as a people and a country moving forward.
The late Errol Walton Barrow gave his Mirror Image speech at a political rally on May 13, 1986, when the full slate of the Democratic Labour Party’s 27 candidates was introduced to the public. Thirty years later, the question is as relevant and critical now as it was then.
As Barbados celebrates Errol Barrow Day today, there is no better time to pose this question again.
In that speech made by the National Hero and former prime minister, he asked: “I want to know what kind of mirror image do you have of yourself? That is what I am concerned about. What kind of mirror image do you have of yourself? Do you really like yourselves? Because you can never really like anybody unless you first like yourself. There are too many people in Barbados who despise themselves and their dislike of themselves reflects itself in their dislike of other people . . . people who live next door to them, members of their family, husbands, and wives, and the ox and the ass and the stranger within the gates.”
Throughout the speech, punctuated by this oft-repeated question, Barrow pushed and provoked thought about this country and where it was going. He caused many to stop and think hard about their future and the part they could play in the island’s development.
He pushed Barbadians to be more than what they were and ever thought they could be. In essence, he pushed people to believe in Barbados and believe in themselves.
As Barbadians celebrate this country’s 50th anniversary of Independence, the question is even more poignant as we hail this milestone. At this juncture in our development where there is much concern levelled about our economy, the direction our young people are going, decaying values, the unravelling of the social fabric of our society right before our eyes, there is need for the moral compass to be pulled to steer us in the right direction and get us back on track.
Over the last 50 years, much has been achieved as a country and we must celebrate these victories and successes because the road was far from smooth and fraught with many difficulties and challenges.
We have overcome many of the bumps and the hurdles, and as we look ahead, rest assured, there will be more in our way. But we must never lose sight of where we want to go and chart our own journey as a country that continues to punch above its weight.
As we forge forward, Barbadians must continue to ask themselves: What mirror image do you have of yourself?