I nearly fell off a treadmill. I wanted to be way fitter than I was. I was
in denial, and when I couldn’t keep up my set pace, even when I began
walking backwards, instead of stepping off and setting realistic goals I
did something that all of us in this country have started to do. Close my
eyes. Go into denial sleepwalk. I fell off, to my great humiliation.
is a national characteristic, a necessary drug along with innumerable
holidays, chutney, carnival and cricket.
agree we have reasons to sleepwalk. That we keep our eyes closed for fear
that they will be gouged out. We are traumatised by crime, our murder rate
is racing so fast it will pass Jamaica’s to be number one in the world.
I admit we can’t do anything about a country in which an explosive goes
off down town and a jokey police helicopter destroys the evidence and our
Minister of National Security goes on paternity leave and the Prime
Minister doesn’t respond for days.
admit we look at Great Britain with envy because even after this second
terror scare last week, Tony Blair was able to say with confidence to the
world, in the presence of the Australian Premier, that the emergency and
police services were in control. The impressed Australian Premier, Mr
Howard, was confident enough to invite the British Emergency services to
Australia to advise his own people
agree we never see that kind of statesmanship here. I agree that we are
helpless because in the midst of a hurricane season nobody knows what to
do if one strikes here.
there’s other stuff we can do something about.
should we do, (we cry like a people who’ve had our eyes gouged out) when
a doctor shows up eight hours after the appointed hour of the operation,
while we discover that a grocery has sold us stale food?
to back out
to do about medical staff who, instead of educating the public or their
patients on the relationship between the sugar and starch diabetics eat,
and the amputation, and the fat and carbs cardiac patients consume and
heart disease actually stock junk, tacitly encourage disease?
do we do when keeping vigil over an ill relative in the waiting rooms of
medical institutions, we find only sugar, salt and fat-filled products for
sale, products, chocolate, candy, chips, that bring us there in the first
should we do when a doctor tells a patient and his family gathered about
him moments before he is being wheeled into surgery that he might not make
it, that he could still back out, that he still has a chance to jump off
(after being prepped, while lying in a flat vulnerable state—not the day
before when he was in a suit and could speak man-to-man with the doctor)?
should we do, when the plumber, electrician, mechanic, says he will be at
your house at 9 am and doesn’t show up and doesn’t call. What should
we do when a boss “forgets” that he made an appointment? What should
we do when people in authority, who own something, who have the power to
hire and fire, who have vital skills—from medical to plumbing—act
can open our eyes, stop being doormats, cowards who cuss in private and
fight for what we pay for and make people accountable with the collective
power of our purses, our purchasing power. If prices go up on necessities,
like flour, stop buying. Eat rice. Walk out of doctors’ offices if they
keep you waiting endlessly, contact the supervisors in medical
institutions, and demand healthy food, return stale food, soiled goods to
retailers, question doctors and demand respect with their service, call
bosses of people in service industries and demand time keeping, or refuse
to use their services again if they are unreliable.
these are tiny steps, but at least your eyes are open, you’re walking
forwards, not falling off blinded, the treadmill.
the corbeaux circle. Open your eyes. Now shoo them away. Sign the petition