Sheep watching the bulls fight


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Category: Trinidad Politics Date: 26 Feb 06


The UNC’s hideous, highly public display of their alpha males in a bullfight is sickening because we know what they are after. Power for power’s sake.


Nothing else. Except the spoils. Which they have enjoyed once, and hope to again. Why should the PNM have it all? “We’ll sleep with the devil if we have to get some‚” they holler as they pounce on one another, trip one another up, cynically recruit another, or fling another out of the ring to decide who among them deserves power the most.


The PNM, too, has power for power’s sake. For the sake of the roses. For the sake of the gas. For the sake of the spoils from steep oil prices. For the good times. The travel, the perks, the deals that fix them up for life.


Who are our politicians? When they take their oaths to serve, I want to throw up. The umbilical cord tying them to “serve” us, the people who depend on them for our lives (health, education, jobs) they take absent-mindedly, like people who’ve got better things to do. Like take care of themselves.


We are slowly bleeding to death while they wrestle in the ring for the power that gives them control over this oil-rich kingdom.


Must be a heady feeling for Government and Opposition MPs when they are taking that oath. Like signing a contract for daily unlimited shots of cocaine and beautiful virgins on call 24 hours a day, with an option to renew same every five years. Like getting your reward for being a suicide bomber in your lifetime, without dying!


No wonder then that when some worn-down woman or man in their constituency stands before them crying that their HIV positive son is dying on the bare hospital floor, untreated; or that another son has been shot in drug and gang warfare; or that their schoolboy shot another dead just to show who is boss because nobody is guiding them; or that they can’t read or write in a school system that pushes them up and then out into the filthy streets, increasingly clogged with cars and broken up public transport; or that they live on less than 12 dollars a day and there are 400,000 more like them, that they nod absentmindedly, and move off in a cloud of nauseatingly strong perfume.


They have to go and get their next fix. It could be drinking with the old boys, flying first class to a five-star hotel, or being carried off in their Mercedes Benz for a meeting on important issues, all of which are geared towards ensuring that their heady lifestyles are kept, or if they are in the Opposition, are being fought for.


The “issues” on which both sides, Government and Opposition include the spoils: undeclared million-pound bank accounts; bribes and corruption in the nation’s golden egg Ministries of Energy and Works; using the hundreds of millions budgeted for URP and Cepep as political payback for gang leaders controlling voting constituencies.


We, our health, our schools, our roads, our infrastructure, our jobs, our homes are bleeding to death.


We are the drugged, fatalistic sheep distinguished only by our logos of the balisier and the rising sun watching the bulls fight for what rightfully belongs to us. Of course, we are sheep. Who can say anything to powerful, ruthless men intent on getting or keeping power? Can we tell them to their face they are pathetic, pompous, pumped-up with the hot air of power, not at all statesman-like, and we may look like sheep but we know they are not fighting for us.


That they have so cut off “service” from their job description that their country is turning into a wasteland and its people, they think, into fatalistic, helpless dummies who will give them heaven on earth.


This week the UNC will whine about the spoils the PNM took. This week the PNM will gloat and cry over the spoils the UNC grabbed when they were in power. That UNC fight, PNM “moral” posturing was never about us. It’s not about us. Just so they know, we know.



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All Articles Copyright Ira Mathur