DR ERROL NARINE BENJAMIN
MY WIFE and I had a bit of an exchange last Monday morning as she looked at one of those morning call-in programmes with the presenter “full of sound and fury” over incidents over the last few days.
She, too, was in a highly emotional state over the kidnapping in Maraval and the nonchalance with which the victims were simply “dropped off” by the “lookout" after the ordeal; the burning to death of the senior citizen in Santa Cruz, which reportedly had one of the best fire stations, but without a fire truck; and the desecration of the Williamsville Hindu temple, where not even the presence of the divine murtis made any difference, inter alia.
I was about to have my breakfast but her muttering goaded me into retorting, "What are you working yourself up for?” followed by, “Can you or anyone do something about it?" To which, in resignation, she replied, “At least I am listening to what is happening, unlike you,” a slap to my seeming indifference to the horrors the presenter was describing. Which is what most of us do nowadays, merely having to listen to the tales of woe, tearing our hair in our helplessness without any hope of redress from where it should come.
Not that I was indifferent! In my now enforced cynical way, understanding how deeply entrenched the criminal mindset is in the many so inclined, having reached to such a point because “criminality without conscience and consequence” has become the new mantra, with the “top" at all levels setting the example and the groundlings following suit out of the rationale that “if the priest could play who is me," I could now only, in a paroxysm of agonised mockery, appear to laugh at the seeming futility of her distress, and others like her driven to a point of virtual insanity by this unfettered criminality that has overwhelmed us.
And I playfully carried the mockery further, suggesting that salvation is on our doorstep, because there is a huge retreat in progress involving those who control our lives. And that with they enjoying the free food and drinks, and the best accommodation possible, at our expense, of course, with their pictures splashed all over the media as to how tireless they are in their efforts to be of service to us as they wined and dined at the seaside hotel, how can we not expect some relief from the daily horrors of the criminality which now engulfs us?
And I continued the charade: “Can they afford to disappoint the President who calls for urgent measures to deal with crime because the “pain and suffering are unbearable?”
And then she gave me wry smile half acknowledging how silly her fretting was since this is what we have become as a country. But it was only for a moment, for with a look of stolid defiance immediately afterwards, having no other recourse, she, with clenched fists, would shout how they in the Monday Night Forum would “do for them.”
I too smiled wryly as I sipped my coffee, not daring to burst her bubble, and let her know that too was part of the problem, part of the evolving politics, that those with the power would continue to be complacent, even indifferent to the cries of the people because the tribe is behind them no matter what, and that the other with their own tribe in support will also continue to rant and rave, “full of sound and fury" but “signifying nothing.”
With a cursory glance, I told her not to fret but instead to think of the good things that happened over the weekend, like the cricket on Saturday night.
And then she really smiled remembering the magnificence of Pooran and the others against the Tallawahs.