Nov 20, 2020 Editorial
Kaieteur News – It is from George Meredith, in his novel ‘The Ordeal of Richard Feverel’, that we are gifted the words, “I expect that Woman will be the last thing civilized by Man.” That quip, read literally when it was written in the Victorian era, is becoming increasingly ironic now. If nothing else, the COVID-19 era has been a litmus test of civilized behaviour and while women have shined across the globe, men are increasingly losing their luster.
Nowhere has this been more apparent than in global political leadership. The year 2020 has brought us the beacons of hope, confidence and democratic leadership in politicians like US congresswoman Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, US Vice-President Elect Kamala Harris, perennial powerhouse German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, and, certainly not least, Barbadian Prime Minister Mottley, all women who have distinguished themselves at the only time that matters, a time of crisis.
Consequently, the year 2020 has been a showcase of the opposite behaviour in male leadership around the world, from our own former President David Granger and US de facto former President Donald Trump refusing to concede in elections that they both lost and damaging their respective countries with divisive idiocy in attempting to hold on to power; to the tragic-comic and absurd antics of Brazil’s Jair Bolsanaro whose regressive policies have seen his country’s COVID-19 numbers escalate and its forests burn down; to Belarus’ increasingly dictatorial Alexander Lukashenko who has been taking advantage in the flux (or glut)of global leadership to brutally repress citizens in opposition to his rule.
Interestingly enough, yesterday was – as most people would have been blissfully unaware of – International Men’s day. Even fewer people would know that the commemoration of International Men’s Day on November 19 started in fellow CARICOM nation, Trinidad and Tobago, just 21 years ago. It is no surprise that the day passed with no fanfare, no celebration, no avalanche of well-written messages by various government ministries.
On the one hand, patriarchal structures around the world remain largely intact and thus the idea of acknowledging and celebrating men on a particular day seems superfluous and unnecessary. One could consider that the most powerful and supposedly progressive democracy in the world has only just elected its first female vice president, not even president, and that voting for all women in that country is less than a century old.
On the other hand, there can be no denial that a sea change is currently underway that is unsettling that patriarchy and while men (and women) at the top of it, remain largely untouched in terms of social standing, the lower tiers are being shaken and often shattered. Centuries of relative stasis in terms of the hierarchical superiority of men are being impacted by a phenomenal flux that not only threatens social structures, male dominated-civilization, but undoubtedly the individual male psyche that is produced by and in turn reproduces those structures. In very real terms, we are seeing the end of men, whatever judgments we bring to that event.
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