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Let us rally behind Camillo

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Thu, Apr 5. 2012

Editor: I have been following with keen interest the public’s reaction to the arrest of Ambassador Gonsalves in New York. From listening to the various radio programs, and from daily conversations with members of the public, it appears that our reactions spring from a place of partisan political interest rather than a place of national pride and concern about the violation of our national integrity.{{more}} Those who appear to be pro-ULP express anger and disgust at the arresting officer, whereas, those who appear to be more drawn to the NDP make Ambassador Gonsalves and his perceived irrational defiance the target of a similar anger and disgust. Of course, on this issue, there are those of us who inspite of political biases submit ourselves to the rule of nationalism and stave off the political dogs that are scratching for crumbs that cannot be nutritious to the social consciousness of our body politic.

We are the ones who ponder upon questions like this: “What if a US Ambassador were so violated in our country, what would have been the outcome?”

Let us consider how the US normally moves with haste to preserve its national integrity, or to save face, when any of its nationals are upbraided abroad. Remember, for instance, the Fletcher affair right here in St Vincent and the Grenadines. Remember how our Judiciary was scornfully berated by the Americans, and how former prime minister Sir James Mitchell had to endure the condescending interrogative reproach of an American journalist by the name of Greta Van Susteren. And let us observe what is currently happening with the Robert Bates saga. Mr Bates is a US soldier accused of mass murder in Afghanistan, but the US is denying the Afghan authorities the right to have Bates tried in an Afghan court, because according to the US, there is some legal apparatus that insulates US soldiers against civic trials outside of the US. So, Bates, an accused mass murderer, is guaranteed his legal impunity, whereas Ambassador Gonsalves is being warned that the diplomatic impunity he is entitled to via the Geneva convention may be waived.

So, of course, had a US Ambassador been violated here as Gonsalves was in the US, we most certainly would have been summoned to bow before the throne of political grace that is Washington; to beg forgiveness. So let us rally behind Camillo, a fellow Vincentian national and, at least, allow our national pride to be an impenetrable shield to the rampaging sword of imperial hubris.

Marlon Lindon Joseph

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