Categorized | Features, General

De Ole Dawg – Part 5 2016: Public Opinion, the Media and the way forward

What about public opinion, the media and the way forward?

BRADES, Montserrat, Jan 31, 2016 – Let’s begin with a disturbing thought: our famed resilience as Montserratians (if it lacks due reflection, repentant change and growth), can make us stubbornly cling to a path that suddenly drops over a cliff.  That’s why, in a recent St Patrick’s Day Lecture, the invited speaker cautioned us:

“Like a resilient rubber band when stretched, returns right back to its original state, not getting stronger or bigger we go back to dog eat dog, crabs in an English barrel. We need to stop propping up our egos on the flawed crutch of resilience and start progressing as a people . . .”

He went on to speak to the “advantage” attitude, betrayal, pulling down and back-stabbing: “in Montserratian online chat rooms, social networks and responses to articles, many . . .  perpetuate the undesirable 1768 betrayal syndrome . . .” He then called for an “emancipating, mental and spiritual purge.”

But that begs a big question: how can a community – or at least a decisive core of it – change?

For one, by realising that we are not mindless crabs in a barrel, stuck there because we cannot do better than enviously, slanderously; gleefully pull one another back down: Who you think you be, to be climbing up and out of the barrel?

No, we are responsibly free people, with minds, hearts and consciences of our own. We are people made in God’s own image, who can think and act for ourselves. We can find the right sort of unity and leadership that builds a better future than the crab-stew pot.

2400 years ago, the philosopher Plato gave us our second clue, in his famous parable of the cave:

The cave

Here, in The Republic, Bk 7, people are viewed as prisoners from birth; kept in a dark cave so they can only see shadow-shows put on for them. These shadow-shows seem to be reality. But if one is somehow released and sees the parapet and the puppets being projected as shadows by the fire unto the wall, at first he will be confused but soon will know he has been in error. Then, if he goes up into the wider world of true light, gradually he will learn more of the truth. In concern, he will try to go back to set his friends and relatives free. But, too often he will be viewed and treated as a threat or a fool or a mad man.

In the Sermon on the Mount, c. 30 AD, Jesus also spoke to the pivotal issue, light and darkness:

Matt 6:22 “The eye is the lamp of the body; so if your eye is clear [spiritually perceptive], your whole body will be full of light [benefiting from God’s precepts]. 23 But if your eye is bad [spiritually blind], your whole body will be full of darkness [devoid of God’s precepts]. So if the [very] light inside you [your inner self, your heart, your conscience] is darkness, how great and terrible is that darkness! [AMP]

Jesus explained: “You cannot serve God and mammon [money, possessions, fame, status, or whatever is valued more than the Lord].”

We have to work together to find genuine light, to escape darkness and the stew pot. Light of truth, wisdom and right that is not going to be popular. It may even be painful at first. Surgery has to hurt before it can heal. And what school children say or what we heard through the chute or even what uncle so and so says (while he slips in the knife yet again) may well be wrong. Especially if, it is the popular view for the pull-you-back-down crabs.

That’s where genuinely visionary leadership, real education, sound fact based news and views media – not just more shadow shows – and so also courageous Editors, all come in. Yes, a good newspaper or radio station –  one brave enough to keep on telling the painful truth  – can save a nation from ruin. (But that requires that a critical mass of us also decide to stand up and steadily seek and support the right and the truth.)

As a start, here are a few more points from that lecture of just six years ago:

“In 1768 on the 17th of March an attempt was made to rebuild a community and eventually build a nation . . .”

“long before logical frameworks and other such “strategic planning marvels” of man were devised, long before BDDC and DFID, there was strategic planning Montserrat style . . .”

“. . . foiled due to betrayal.”crabs-in-a-bucket

“When . . . our population plummeted to an all time, 17th C. low of 2,700 [in 1998] was it Diasporal Montserratians . . .  who rushed in to help save and rebuild the community? No it was not. With a current population of around 5000 nearly half of whom are re-builders from throughout the region and further afield we must exhibit more gratitude, courtesy and love.”

“Montserrat is in budgetary aid with the British government guaranteeing and propping up the recurrent expenditure between 50 to 60%. This is not dissimilar to the situation in the 1960s and 70s.”

“2009 total imports of $80mil dwarf the total export of $8.5mil by nearly 10:1 with a decline in mining exports expected in 2010. The expenditure outstrips the revenue by an equally alarming rate.”

Six years later, this picture has not been transformed. We must now use the blessings of a free press and put the same strategic analysis and planning talents of 1768 to work to see our situation more accurately and by God’s grace build a better alternative.  So, let us again ask: if not now, then when? If not here, then, where? If not us, then who?

 

ENDS –

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What about public opinion, the media and the way forward?

BRADES, Montserrat, Jan 31, 2016 – Let’s begin with a disturbing thought: our famed resilience as Montserratians (if it lacks due reflection, repentant change and growth), can make us stubbornly cling to a path that suddenly drops over a cliff.  That’s why, in a recent St Patrick’s Day Lecture, the invited speaker cautioned us:

“Like a resilient rubber band when stretched, returns right back to its original state, not getting stronger or bigger we go back to dog eat dog, crabs in an English barrel. We need to stop propping up our egos on the flawed crutch of resilience and start progressing as a people . . .”

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He went on to speak to the “advantage” attitude, betrayal, pulling down and back-stabbing: “in Montserratian online chat rooms, social networks and responses to articles, many . . .  perpetuate the undesirable 1768 betrayal syndrome . . .” He then called for an “emancipating, mental and spiritual purge.”

But that begs a big question: how can a community – or at least a decisive core of it – change?

For one, by realising that we are not mindless crabs in a barrel, stuck there because we cannot do better than enviously, slanderously; gleefully pull one another back down: Who you think you be, to be climbing up and out of the barrel?

No, we are responsibly free people, with minds, hearts and consciences of our own. We are people made in God’s own image, who can think and act for ourselves. We can find the right sort of unity and leadership that builds a better future than the crab-stew pot.

2400 years ago, the philosopher Plato gave us our second clue, in his famous parable of the cave:

The cave

Here, in The Republic, Bk 7, people are viewed as prisoners from birth; kept in a dark cave so they can only see shadow-shows put on for them. These shadow-shows seem to be reality. But if one is somehow released and sees the parapet and the puppets being projected as shadows by the fire unto the wall, at first he will be confused but soon will know he has been in error. Then, if he goes up into the wider world of true light, gradually he will learn more of the truth. In concern, he will try to go back to set his friends and relatives free. But, too often he will be viewed and treated as a threat or a fool or a mad man.

In the Sermon on the Mount, c. 30 AD, Jesus also spoke to the pivotal issue, light and darkness:

Matt 6:22 “The eye is the lamp of the body; so if your eye is clear [spiritually perceptive], your whole body will be full of light [benefiting from God’s precepts]. 23 But if your eye is bad [spiritually blind], your whole body will be full of darkness [devoid of God’s precepts]. So if the [very] light inside you [your inner self, your heart, your conscience] is darkness, how great and terrible is that darkness! [AMP]

Jesus explained: “You cannot serve God and mammon [money, possessions, fame, status, or whatever is valued more than the Lord].”

We have to work together to find genuine light, to escape darkness and the stew pot. Light of truth, wisdom and right that is not going to be popular. It may even be painful at first. Surgery has to hurt before it can heal. And what school children say or what we heard through the chute or even what uncle so and so says (while he slips in the knife yet again) may well be wrong. Especially if, it is the popular view for the pull-you-back-down crabs.

That’s where genuinely visionary leadership, real education, sound fact based news and views media – not just more shadow shows – and so also courageous Editors, all come in. Yes, a good newspaper or radio station –  one brave enough to keep on telling the painful truth  – can save a nation from ruin. (But that requires that a critical mass of us also decide to stand up and steadily seek and support the right and the truth.)

As a start, here are a few more points from that lecture of just six years ago:

“In 1768 on the 17th of March an attempt was made to rebuild a community and eventually build a nation . . .”

“long before logical frameworks and other such “strategic planning marvels” of man were devised, long before BDDC and DFID, there was strategic planning Montserrat style . . .”

“. . . foiled due to betrayal.”crabs-in-a-bucket

“When . . . our population plummeted to an all time, 17th C. low of 2,700 [in 1998] was it Diasporal Montserratians . . .  who rushed in to help save and rebuild the community? No it was not. With a current population of around 5000 nearly half of whom are re-builders from throughout the region and further afield we must exhibit more gratitude, courtesy and love.”

“Montserrat is in budgetary aid with the British government guaranteeing and propping up the recurrent expenditure between 50 to 60%. This is not dissimilar to the situation in the 1960s and 70s.”

“2009 total imports of $80mil dwarf the total export of $8.5mil by nearly 10:1 with a decline in mining exports expected in 2010. The expenditure outstrips the revenue by an equally alarming rate.”

Six years later, this picture has not been transformed. We must now use the blessings of a free press and put the same strategic analysis and planning talents of 1768 to work to see our situation more accurately and by God’s grace build a better alternative.  So, let us again ask: if not now, then when? If not here, then, where? If not us, then who?

 

ENDS –