Sep 19, 2021 Letters
What was ‘dished out’ to Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand, was abominable, unacceptable. I condemn it harshly: unpardonable. In any civilised society, there can be no allowance for what took place. In addition, in a society as deeply polarised as ours, such recklessness by Opposition hands fuels greater animosities, adds more tensions to an edgy society already edgy. I regret what happened.
But something else came from this. I detect that we are a reactive people. This is what the post-Priya Manickchand matter reactions confirm. Many were/are the words and postures, some of them passionate, to condemn opposition ranks for attacking the Minister. That is a given, and it is easy for all (including me) to rail in righteous wrath. It was wrong, never right. We like raging rightly and righteously at the demeaning and dangerous, yet we never seem to be ready to spend as much energy, devote the same interest, to get in front of what resides deep inside and devastates all of us. Do we really believe that some mending occurs when we call out offenders, which we must? When we slip back into routines, and do nothing? Talk about a society of law and not men, and feel good about ourselves, while knowing full well that we lie to ourselves? That we play games with the safety and uplift of this society? Let’s get real, will we?
I say this because what was hurled at Minister Manickchand was more than repugnant descent into barbarity, more than an attack on a woman (women, in general), more than dirty weapons unleashed at a stubborn political enemy. It is what bombards all of us: men, women, young, old, wise, and unwise. For this is what our politics deteriorates to, the national leprosy and ugliness cavorted to in gyrations relished. We are a nasty, dirty, sickly people, and our political people – most of them – are the essences of this. I am concerned, perhaps overly so, that our deteriorations eventually could compile to points of detonations. I am labouring to warn all in this ruptured society: be aware, be sensitive, be careful. It is not politics, as usual.
The foolishness and follies of rising frustrations are what some in the opposition have limited themselves to be, drive them. There are some places not visited. I denounce those who dare to go there, whether MP, or peon. Shame has abandoned us; and so, too, has class, self-respect, any residual dignity. This is what we have become, even though I think the worst lurks ahead. There are no grounds, no rationalisation; no defending of something like what was aimed at Minister Manickchand. I have small regard for some of her efforts, but that is irrelevant, should never cloud my judgment to lose self-control and standards. The hard discipline of great self-control has been abandoned. I disagree with what occurred; dismiss those who claim to represent something, whatever that is. But there is something else I wish to say today, and it relates to us being reactive.
It is no secret how precariously this society is perched, which this Manickchand disgrace confirmed. We pretend at civility at every level, a product of barely restrained correctness, watchful environment. But there are seething resentments and boiling antagonisms right below the surface. We all know that, but we all do nothing, other than occasional self-satisfying lip service. Deep down, this society is grievously wounded, yet we reject summoning the same vitality and grand determination, like we do in deploring whatever was said and posted about Minister Manickchand, to stave off what could exceed even such excesses. It is always after the fact, which lends some psychic value. Always reactive, always passing; of dubious value, too. For then, it happens again.
It would be more helpful to a terribly pierced and limping society, if only we could join ranks, and manifest the same energised bounce to get to a place that heals us. Few listen. Fewer care enough to push for reconciling, so as to avoid our tumbling into the unsafe. We are hurting. I will say it: it’s only a matter of time, before we go beyond hateful words. Do we (me and you) still prefer to sit on our hands, make pretty speeches after the fact, when there is so much that we can, and should, do right now? To help ease our pain, cool furies. To heal us. Maybe, even bind us. Of those, we don’t. From those, we distance. That is, until the next damaging flare up. Then, we will all muster the courage to come out and condemn, and feel good about ourselves.
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