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Re-imagining our community

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National reconciliation – Part 2

The home owner herself, or the builder or the architect whom she hires, has a plan of what is to be done, before she remodels her home. On the other hand, when we consider our politics, our culture, our persona as a community, it is more than a house we are making over; we must design an outline of what we want before we build. We must re-imagine ourselves.{{more}} To cut it short for us to reach for and achieve national reconciliation, our national imagination must go to work.

Take the case of the New Testament transition marker, John the Baptist. His two-fold riverside text was (1) Repent (2) the kingdom of heaven is near (Matt 3.2). He was saying (1) turn from the degeneration you embrace, and (2) turn towards, and embrace, the deliverance change that is coming. Perhaps because of the far reaching eyes and ears of the government in Rome, or otherwise, John did not speak very concretely about the new system that was to take over. What he did was let the people’s national imagination and insight fill the gaps that he left out.

Without stretching the similarity too much, our national reconciliation in SVG will take off only when first, we, in sufficiently noticeable numbers and sectors, admit that the political fragmentation and hostility among us is untenable. In no uncertain terms, and in a significant minority, we must distance ourselves from, denounce and done with party political malignancy and its virus. Not even a whisper of political tribalism must come from us. That is the repentance first step. It is quite probably easier for a motorcycle/camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for political party leadership to take that first reconciliation step: Repentance.

It is people outside party leaderships who must repent. Outside people means you and me.

Repentance and Re-imagining go together

Permit me to observe that the heroic epoch-making uprisings that are called “Arab Spring” of 2011-2012, are a mass repentance movement. These youth-led, eclectic mobilizations are impressive in their dedication and sacrifice and commitment of life, limb and soul. They are determined to “done with” the oppressive governance and uneven development in their countries. They need the support not only of the United Nations, the Arab league and other intergovernmental organizations; they must have also the support of the world’s peoples and people’s organizations. It would be so uplifting to them to hear from a Vincentian collective of people and organizations, a pledge of support, prayers for their triumph, and guidance in their struggle. The People’s Movement for Change or other Facebook groups could make our position known to them.

Our national reconciliation community in SVG must take example from the courage and solidarity and eclecticism of the mixed sectors who are committed in the “Arab Spring”. However, we must go further. In addition to our repentance and resistance to morbid political fragmentation, we must imagine the unfragmented community, the SVG without political splinters. What outline can we envision of a harmonious political community in the nation state of SVG? National re-imagining is the second step that our civil society must lead, as we move to national reconciliation.

A simple pilot project, for example, is for the Ladies of Charity, who run a “soup kitchen” in Kingstown, to invite Mrs Eustace and Mrs Gonsalves to take over the soup kitchen for a week and jointly run it. Watch me. I leaving my good provisions, salad and fish lunch at home every day to line up half the week for my soup, and the next half week, to help in the kitchen! How about you, what pilot project, led by civil society (not political society) can you imagine to re-combine the sources of the Vincentian community? Try to re-imagine the ULP airport as part of a National Airport Development Authority. Can a national farmers’ cooperative take over our WINFRESH shares and our agricultural input warehouse, and our cocoa industry, or is it only St Lucians can stop our business – like NCB – from being a tribal institution? In order to done with party political disintegration in SVG, let us re-imagine our SVG which is harmonious, integrated with social justice and let us work to build it. REPENT AND RE-IMAGINE OURSELVES.

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