Going deeper into denial sleepwalk


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Category: Trinidad Society Date: 24 Jul 05


Once 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.


Sleepwalking is a national characteristic, a necessary drug along with innumerable holidays, chutney, carnival and cricket.


I 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.


I 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


I 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.


But there’s other stuff we can do something about.


What 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?


Unable to back out


What 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?


What 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 place?


What 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)?


What 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 unaccountable?


We 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.


Sure these are tiny steps, but at least your eyes are open, you’re walking forwards, not falling off blinded, the treadmill.


See the corbeaux circle. Open your eyes. Now shoo them away. Sign the petition too: http://www.trinidadmurders.org/Petition.asp


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All Articles Copyright Ira Mathur