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Resurrection is about Christ: Our challenge is to awake from our deep slumber

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Last Sunday, April 5, someone from Toronto sent me a copy of a newspaper article that appeared in the Toronto Star on that same day. The accompanying note said ‘SVG in the News Again’. The article was captioned “Rape victim shamed live on radio – by government spokesman.” Then it went on to say, “The Caribbean Nation of St Vincent has a well documented problem with gender violence. The government disagrees.” My immediate reaction was to say, “Oh, my! Not that kind of publicity Again.”{{more}} I guess by now most Vincentians are familiar with the circumstances that surrounded that story.

On the previous Monday, I believe it was, I was just about to get out of my car when I heard a story being told by someone whom I didn’t know about. I was really so captivated that I sat in my car and listened to all of what she had to say. Her story was moving, driving tears to my eyes. Here to me was someone, who with all the troubles she underwent, as she described, had grown in the process, even quoting Maya Angelou, who is an inspiration to women the world over. She was very articulate and spoke with conviction about the mishaps that took hold of her life and her efforts to work herself out of that tangled web.

I was totally ashamed later when I heard that she had been verbally abused on radio and her personal information made public. This made absolutely no sense to me, for I never got the impression that she was hurling any political bricks. I felt that perhaps her story was a total fabrication, but if it was, she is an amazing person and could become a top fiction writer with that kind of imagination. But then the article in the Toronto Star indicated that even though Canada’s Immigration and Refuge board had denied her refugee status, officials agreed that ‘her story was not in doubt’. Given the kind of negative publicity that our country has been getting, what happened could only confirm the view that is widely held about our treatment of women and our inability to protect abused women. This reaction has up to now still not really made any sense to me. In any event, it has done a lot of harm to our country with the negative publicity it has generated. Obviously, I do not lay blame on whoever shared the story of that verbal abuse. In today’s global village, these things become public knowledge almost as soon as the activity or event takes place.

Our society is indeed crumbling on all fronts. We have a tendency to treat victims of abuse as though they are the perpetrators. This is precisely why some women and girls who have been abused are reluctant to come forward. What is now becoming pathetic is that some women, instead of sympathizing with the person who claims to have been abused, begin to interpret things in strictly political terms. There is some hope, however, that we might be awaking from our slumber. I am of the view that the sense of fear that has paralysed us for so long is beginning to evaporate. On this particular issue I want to quote, first of all, from Aristotle, who wrote, “He who has overcome his fears will truly be free” and Nelson Mandela, “The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” I hope I am right with this assessment because this, at least, is something positive that can be voiced.

One of the major drawbacks in our society is our inability or fear of making decisions. Hopefully, our conquest of fear will remove this. Still too many of us want to be told what we must or should do, rather than use our own common sense in responding to different situations. Well, let me give you a simple example of this. On Good Friday afternoon I was taking some visitors to the Grenadines wharf. We waited for a long time at the gate. Vehicles stood in line for more than a hundred metres. I told the cop at the gate that some persons were taking their cars to Bequia, while other simply wanted to drop off their passengers and go their merry way. His answer was that he didn’t know which vehicles were going to Bequia. I then approached an officer standing some distance away and again made my suggestion. His answer was the same, so I suggested that they simply make an announcement that those vehicles that were going to Bequia should stay on the left nearer to the boat and allow the others to go through, leave their passengers and go, making the flow of traffic much easier. He was certainly not impressed, so I waited another half an hour, got on to the wharf, landed my passengers and was out in less than two minutes.

We are just out of the period of the Resurrection. We are not Christ. Our society needs not a resurrection, but to awake from its slumber. We have it deep within ourselves to do that. Development, above everything else, involves people acting, not nice sounding policies put on a shelf to gather dust. There is a French proverb that says ‘To make an omelette you first have to break an egg.’ We certainly have a lot of eggs to break and there is much more to say on this issue. Perhaps Abigail Adams said it best, “We have too many high sounding words, and too few corresponding actions that correspond with them.”

Dr Adrian Fraser is a social commentator and historian.

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