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A voice from the past, with a message for the present

A voice from the past, with a message for the present

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Editor: “Our Constitution is called a democracy because power is in the hands not of a minority, but of the whole people. When it is a question of settling private disputes, everyone is equal before the law, when it is a question of putting one person before another in positions of public responsibility, what counts is not membership in a particular class [or political party*], but the actual ability which the man/woman* possesses. No one, so long as he has it in him to be of service to the state is kept in political obscurity because of poverty [or political party preference, real or perceived*]. …Here each individual is interested not only in his own affairs but in the affairs of the state as well.” [Pericles, (494?—429 B.C.] Funeral Oration, quoted in “World History Patterns of Interaction [New York Teacher’s Edition] by McDougal Littell, 2003, page 121.

How different would be the reality of St Vincent & the Grenadines if we were to practise these time-tested principles enunciated so long ago by this Greek leader! But I will repeat for those who may have missed it in an earlier article that I wrote: “We are so blinded by our own brilliance, and deafened by our own rhetoric,” that we no-longer see nor hear what is truthful, just, and honest. In the words of the prophet Isaiah, “We have sold ourselves for naught.”

After living 40 years under a self-governing democracy, why should anyone have to muster all the courage to tell “the emperor that he is naked?”

Philmore Isaacs.
*Author’s insertion.

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