dread state intrusion. It conjures images of marching feet, force, guns,
dictatorships. We agree on that.
concept of the State as Big Brother, the giant all-knowing,
always-watching machine, wired up to the minutiae of our lives,
penetrating our psyche, ordering our politics, religion and loves, is
abhorrent to us; recognised as the biggest threat to human liberty.
have perished under such regimes, perished for belonging to the wrong
religion, race, or political persuasion under the eyes of watchful brutish
Hitlerís Germany, Mao Zedongís China, Stalinís regime, Rwanda, Khmer
what happens when the State does the opposite? When the whole idea of a
nation state dwindles into a glob of men and women who donít give a
damn. Abscond. Close up shop. Tell the people that their problem is their
problem. Goodbye and thank you.
happens when a State says, ďYou pay taxes, you voted us in, you live in
a democracy but na ne na ne boo boo, now you are helpless, we are in
will throw crumbs to hungry people, just enough to keep the masses from
breaking down our doors, just enough to prevent a revolution, just enough
to drug the angry ignorant men who have grown up in an educational system
that has failed to educate them so they keep coming back for more,
carnival, chutney and hangings to distract them, but we wonít teach them
to fish, to read, to work, to study, to become self-reliant.
happens when the State says health, education, jobs, representation? Your
when people become preoccupied with the State. Like obsessive, rejected
lovers we give up ownership of our lives. We know from the time we wake
up, to the curses and shouts of angry men on the streets, to the
aggressive driving we encounter on the roads, in the long, airless days we
spend in lines like sheep in Government offices waiting our turn, to the
sleepy policemen who write our complaints in long hand and languidly,
while burping out their lunches, claim that there are no cars to allow
them to investigate a break-in, a car theft, an assault, that the State is
getting to us.
simply ignore the children in the country area whoíve never seen a
toothbrush, the men who stumble out of bed and head for rum bottles in
their villages and towns, unrepresented wastelands with no jobs.
what are the people to do? We are thrown back on our own resources. We
must stop obsessing over this tabanca, this state betrayal by a body of
people who are spectacularly adept at forgetting that they are being paid
by us the people to serve, to make the lives of the vulnerable better, to
push the country forward economically. We have to make it on our own.
this Labour Day, forget the Nike shoes and shiny and big things we covet
out of America. remember how they got it.
America that was built on the rugged hard-working foundations, the
Protestant work ethic of the settlers who broke their backs to create a
country built from people spat out by the world, by the refugees, the
poor, the persecuted, Asians, Africans, Europeans, with empty hands a grim
determination which made them do menial work for 16 hours straight, keep
shops open for 24 hours, building blocks with education piled on hard
their children are Americaís sweethearts, doctors, lawyers, scientists,
entertainers. Their successes are mirrors going into infinity.
Hard work and education.
are the mimic people. But we canít want Americansí shiny things
without working for it. Ours is the bigger challengeóto succeed despite
a State that denies us basic rights of health and education. But we are
stronger than that. We can do it.
this Labour Day, donít give up ownership of your lives. Build it.
Improvise. Get retired teachers to help. Supervise a child from a broken
home. Block by block.