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GET REAL: Celebrate with caution


ADRIAN GREEN

GET REAL: Celebrate with caution

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DO WE HAVE something to celebrate this November? I think we do. With all the outstanding issues, should we stand at attention in reverence of what we have withstood?  I think we should. 

But maybe the celebrations should be cautious, purposeful and functional. Otherwise it could feel like the celebration of the condemned man’s last meal before going to be hanged. It could feel like the celebrations of Pompeii before the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Nonetheless, celebrations of how far we’ve come should not be overshadowed by worry over where we are going.

Unless, of course, the cost of those celebrations themselves and the manner in which they arecarried out cast a shadow that cannot be ignored. Those celebrations could be like offering birthday cake to a diabetic, foreshadowing a visit to the emergency room.  Only the passing of a shadow of cosmic proportions would catch the attention of a people perpetually in high-gear party-mode. It would have to be a black hole of a shadow.  

Unless there is some kind of drastic, dramatic disaster, the shadow of hard times creeps up slowly. It takes time for a nation to be engulfed. Those people who are busy partying, or whose party is in, will party and celebrate in oblivion until the cloud is directly overhead. Those who have not caught chronic carnival fever either make hay while the sun shines or make warning noises before the thunder rolls.

The capable ones with a conscience, do both. They prepare for the possibility that the party will end abruptly while helping and encouraging others to prepare as well. The clever ones with little conscience become profit-driven party promoters.  They make hay by shining bright lights in the eyes of the partiers.

The masses, mesmerised by well marketed party favours, give up their power in exchange for party favours, their loyal presence and a spot on the dance floor. In a festive mood and blinded by the artificial lights of a well-orchestrated party, they may not even notice when the sun starts to set and darkness falls.

These are not the darkest days we’ve seen. Nor do we expect them to be. The times of need that we are currently in cannot compare to the times of need from which our pride is sprung. Can 2017 be worse than 1937 by any measure? As hard as times are now, how do they compare to where we’ve risen from? Something truly drastic and dramatic would have to happen to take us that far back. Barring an unavoidable tsunami of a catastrophe, we should still be in the relative historical light come next year.

We can get away with celebrating in light of this perspective. But we cannot take the dipping light from the national kerosene lamp lightly. Its fuel is the seed our brave forefathers sowed. Are we sowing our own or living on history’s stores? A celebration can be used as a stimulant for active participation and cooperation in the coming days or as a sedative for ensuring passive acceptance of the days becoming worse.  It depends on whether the controllers of the party are profit-driven or motivated by a higher purpose.

The concern is whether the public will continueto have access to the party or privatised partiesreturn us to the days of exclusive access to premium services. This is in addition to the concern that even public servants are increasing serving their private interest. Many are worried about the direction weare going. 

Barbados has come a long way. This is not a wanton boast. No, the progress has not been in a perfectly straight upward trajectory.  Perfectly straight inclines like the hypotenuse of a right angled triangle only exist in the abstract world of mathematics and the imaginary world of advertising and propaganda. The real world is a work of art full of curves, squiggles, zigs, zags and dips. 

There is nothing wrong with celebrating in the midst of a dip. You just can’t get so drunk in the party that you allow the dip to turn into a dive. Celebrate, attend the party.  But don’t let the party promoters think they can take you for a ride.

Adrian Green is a creative communications specialist. Email [email protected]

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