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Sow the wind, reap the whirlwind

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There is an old biblical proverb which goes like this, “Sow the wind, reap the whirlwind”. In other words, not only what you sow you will reap, but be careful to sow the right seeds, for when you reap, the consequences can be 10, a hundred times worse. Ancient though it might be, this proverb still has application in today’s world, even in the field of politics.

Like it or not, as long as one follows the international news, one cannot escape the daily reports on the progress of the presidential campaign in the United States of America, and with it the “Trump” card that the mainstream media is playing.{{more}} That campaign has its roots in the virulent, racist propaganda which has become predominant in US politics ever since the current black President, Barack Obama, dared to challenge, successfully so at that, for the right of a black man to become leader of the USA and by extension, the most powerful political leader in the world.

Obama occupying the “White House” is more than the most racist and extreme elements in American society could bear and they have never been reconciled to accepting it. His two terms in office witnessed his Republican opponents feeling helpless to stop him by constitutional means, resorting to all kinds of obstructive actions and in the process virtually surrendering leadership to the extremists and racist elements, the so-called Tea Party.

In turn, all kinds of weirdos became prominent, even to the extent of Sarah Palin being put forward as a candidate for vice-president! As long as the target was the Black man in the White House, the means were not only accepted, but extolled. Opponents spoke openly of assassinating him without reproach or sanction.

But, this is where the proverb becomes relevant, for such tolerance of racism and intolerance has spawned the rise of a certain Donald Trump. Today, he threatens to ride the racist wave all the way to the White House, so much so that the Republican establishment is panicking, wondering how to get off the tiger’s back.

It is a lesson which we must heed, for there are those among us, who, blinded by hatred and opportunism, in their quest for power, turn a blind eye to those who preach extremism, disregard for the law, and even assassination, without a single word of condemnation. Just as the extremists tried to shut down the US government machinery, so too would some do here, if given the chance. Uphold your cause, but be careful of where you tread.

Beware! “Sow the wind, reap the whirlwind.”

TRAVEL HORRORS – Final

The first two parts of this series concentrated a lot around air travel and, inevitably, LIAT. That airline not only has to do a massive public relations job, it must, as part of this, engage the public in discussions on the problems faced by travellers and provide explanations as to the inconvenience experienced by its customers. A series of public radio and television engagements at both the national and regional levels will certainly help.

But it is not only LIAT, for governments in the region and private sector organizations bemoan constantly the failure to increase productivity. If we are serious, one of the areas which needs examining is the time wasted in inter-island travel. LIAT, of course, with its infamous delays, is part of it, but what of our governments?

It was only in 2007 when we hosted, collectively, the cricket World Cup, that there was any serious effort to facilitate seamless inter-island travel. As soon as that competition was finished, back to square one. Travellers from SVG to Barbados or St Lucia or any other CARICOM country, in spite of possessing a passport emblazoned boldly CARIBBEAN COMMUNITY, get at least as much, if not more difficulty entering, as if one were entering some extra-regional country.

We have the inconvenience of filling out lengthy immigration and customs forms, but, lo and behold, after divulging all your information, are still asked all kinds of irrelevant questions. Can’t some effort be made to simplify entry without jeopardizing security? Not only are travellers inconvenienced unnecessarily, but it also exposes customs officials to abuse by travellers.

This is our Community. We should feel comfortable travelling within it. As in the case of LIAT, public discussions on these issues can only help to educate, to clarify issues and to facilitate understanding and a sense of “We Caribbean”. Can’t our governments move in that direction?

Renwick Rose is a community activist and social commentator.

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