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“He spoke from his heart…We were just discussing what a great speech it was.”
This is how the speech delivered by Barbados Prime Minister Freundel Stuart during the launch of celebrations to mark the country’s 50th anniversary of independence was described by Sandra Hinds, a member of his secretarial team.
I called the prime minister’s office on Thursday evening to request a copy of the speech as I prepared to respond to claims he made about the impartiality of Barbados’ judicial system and the soundness and sustainability of its democracy.
Needless to say, based on my own and others’ observation of the impunity that some Barbadians like Donville Inniss enjoy, I am not sure about the authenticity of Mr Stuart’s statements.
I imagine that many Barbadians who have seen how partial or paralytic our court system can be in its dealings with, for example, the CLICO monetary ‘abuses’ of Stuart’s predecessor the late PM David Thompson, would want to challenge those and other claims made by Stuart and echoed by most who spoke during that launch ceremony.
Sadly, Stuart and many other Barbadians seem to have difficulty facing their own and others failings.
They tend to excel in superficial, simplistic analysis of those failings or ‘sins’ and the long and short-term impacts they have had and can yet have on Barbados’ development.
Hence, the rather disappointing suggestion by PM Stuart that some people are demanding perfection of Barbadians while being poor models of perfection themselves.
Could he have framed that argument in more clichéd, thought-tiny language?
Could he not have come up with a more original and rigorous way of expressing that idea: a more robust scale or framework by which to assess and measure the expectations and standards by which Barbadians analyze our country’s progress since the relative independence achieved in 1966?
What is ‘great’, to quote Ms Hinds, about that defence by Stuart of Barbadians failings?
It doesn’t suggest a very deep reach into his heart by the PM.
It doesn’t suggest, for example, that Mr Stuart is familiar with the idea that “perfection” is more of a process than a point of personal or national development.
Might not Barbados’ High Commissioner to the UK, Reverend Guy Hewitt, or some other prominent Barbadian cleric have informed the PM that in the well known passage of scripture “Be ye perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48) the Greek terms behind the English translation invoke pursuit of a goal, rather than its attainment?
Might not regional Anglican potentate Dr John Holder, himself a Barbadian, have previously informed PM Stuart of this more historically informed and accurate mode of biblical interpretation?
Or should we conclude that while Mr Stuart is a Queens Counsel (or QC, like Cherie Blair and therefore presumably a legal practitioner of some standing) he has never been exposed to that level of religious or spiritual teaching?
More worryingly still, might it be the case that having been exposed to such teaching PM Stuart has not retained the basics?
Might the soil of his heart have proven so shallow, hard or barren as to have squandered or rejected such small beginning, mustard seed sized educational investments?
Our Prime Minister is clearly familiar with the idea of receiving, retaining and rejecting biblical education approximating banking lessons.
Unless I am mistaken, he advised Barbadians to employ a three-fold framework of receiving, retaining and rejecting aspects of our national heritage as we contemplate our island state’s future prospects.
This clearly more studied, possibly pre-rehearsed proposal is something of an improvement over the simplistic “imperfect people asking us to be perfect” comment that preceded it.
But Stuart’s apparently glib, greasy and slippery grasp of what it means to pursue perfection does not inspire confidence in his ability to lead Barbadians in a truly rigorous, robust process of measuring moral development or progress.
On the contrary, what it suggests is a degree of moral myopia and bankruptcy.
It indicates ethical erosion and the anchorless historical drifting.
It evokes the dripping or spitting of essentially empty words from the mouth of one who, in ethical terms, is only superficially educated.
From my perspective, it puts PM Stuart’s speech, and the political mouthing of Opposition leader Mia Mottley and many of their DLP and BLP associates (including persons like University of the West Indies Vice Chancellor professor Sir Hilary Beckles, prominent poet Margaret Gill, politician David Comissiong, educator Esther Phillips, journalist David Ellis, Rev Sonia Hinds and others with whom I have had significant interactions, in a rather lamentable regional and international context.
Essentially, it lumps their words with Hilary Clinton’s extraordinary 2008 fantasist account of landing in Bosnia under sniper fire in 1995.
That military incident appears to have happened only in Ms Clinton’s head.
And few would vouch that as she uttered or berthed that item of artificial intelligence she spoke from her heart of hearts, her deepest, most holistically self-understood self in that instant.
Stuarts and other Barbadians apparent failure to understand that being perfect is at least as much about a course of travel as arrival at any destination lumps their and narrowly nationalistic, critical analysis dismissing defence of Barbados’ shortcomings with the mainstream media-puffed, much over-rated speech delivered last year by British Labour Party power-broker Hilary Benn in the English Parliament in defence of David Cameron’s proposal to intervene in Syria to bomb ISIS.
He may have been generously applauded by Tory, Labour, Liberal Democrat, UKIP and other Parliamentarians, but I can’t conceive of his father, anti-war icon Tony Benn being particularly proud of him in that moment.
At a substratal linguistic, and especially pragmatic and semantic level, Stuart’s speech recalls the African supremacist pro-reparations (for trans-Atlantic slavery) money mongering arguments of the UWI Vice Chancellor Beckles delivered at the United Nations New York headquarters, Chicago University and other unfortunate openings in recent times.
And the term ‘abomination of desolation’ comes to mind here, as the killing of Jamaican Khalil Campbell by Beckles’ son Rodney in 2007 is whispered in my conscience.
Sadly, such deeply deplorable, even sacrilegious abuses of public spaces by profane speech acts seem to have become all the rage since 9/11.
Among these metaphorical, ISIS approximating ‘public beheadings’ and other short-sighted, opportunistic obscenities, the crowning of Trinidad born and initially bred, Oxbridge and wider British elitism prejudice fed writer VS Naipaul with the Nobel Prize for literature in 2002 stands out poignantly.
Has human intelligence, measured in terms of morality, spirituality, scientific inquiry or any other rubric ever been more profanely prostituted than when it was associated with the dark, devious machinations that were conceived in Mr Naipaul’s head?
I do not wish to be unkind to the aged Mr Naipaul, Prime Minister Stuart or anyone else with whom I have taken issue in this essay on the measurement of human progress or perfection.
I’m simply saying that if Barbadians are to stand any chance of ever achieving the kind of global leadership that Mr Stuart and others may rightly desire for us, they and we will have to give up the cognitive and affective industry avoiding laziness that inclines us to complacently and glibly ‘measure ourselves by ourselves’, to paraphrase the apostle Paul (2 Corinthians 10:12).
Such simplistic, Adolf Hitler and Forbes Burnham recalling notions of independence and integrity lump Barbadians with the demagogue Donald Trump, the Talibank thinkers Mitt Romney and Luis Farrakhan, and a range of other Jamaican, Trinidadian, Guyanese, British, American, Canadian, Indian, Nigerian, Malaysian and other morally bankrupt political opportunists.
I’m yet to see the movie San Andreas, but having seen the trailer I can see how my Bob Crow-Lionel Craig-and-Tom Adams triangulating article, first published on American citizen journalism website Allvoices.com in March, 2014 predicts some of that film’s themes.
I note particularly the centrality of a father-daughter relationship in the Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson starring film. I’m intrigued at how that relates to this Korebeliefs.com project, which ‘springs’ like a geyser from my long-running linking of seismology and gender relations.
Yet notwithstanding my virtually lifelong Woman-I-Zen study, I had no idea that the spelling “k-o-r-e”, for “core” (as in, the earth’s innermost reaches) could be as meaningful as it turns out for me and others.
I coined the phonetic “kore”, replacing the “c” with a “k” because the corebelief.com domain name that I wanted to register was already taken.
So, I came up with the “k”-initial spelling of “core”, somewhat reluctantly.
And this was despite having a deep, intuitive sense that my use of “k” was meant to be.
I have a quiet, reassuring feeling about the use of the letter “k” in the creation of names. I first experienced this knowing when I used this letter to create my business name “Intelek”, in the early to mid 1990s.
I knew nothing of the classical Greek origin of Kore (pronounced ko’ra, I believe), a “girl God”, linked to the fertility goddess Persephone.
In fact, I tend to think of “k” as a peculiarly hard, masculine sound. I’m more inclined to associate it with the word “king” than with the word “queen”, although a key component of that sound is present in both words.
I’m really looking forward to addressing gender gyrations here on Korebeliefs.com because I am absolutely persuaded that they are at the core of our physical, earthly being and belief systems.
I’m particularly keen to explore the visual components of gender, brought to the fore by Johnson’s hyperbolic, alpha male appearance and performance in San Andreas, even as it is being problematized more generally in America, in the Bruce-to-Caitlyn-Jenner story.
The visual component of that other controversial identity marker, race, problematized in Rachel Dolezal’s story intrigues me even more.
I’m keen to explore the deceptiveness or duality not only of human’s physical appearances but also of the written words upon which we plant our feet or place our seal.
My goal is to expose the fault lines of the things in which we place our trust – like a large bank balance, assumptions of shared prejudice, as in the ill-fated case of Mitt Romney’s run for the US presidency and “name recognition”, in the case of 2016 presidential prospects Jeb Bush and Hilary Clinton.
I will at some point address the problem of prostitution, as represented in the politics of racial reparations, currently being promoted by United Nations General Assembly president Sam Kahamba Kutesa, and a number of prominent Caribbean movers and shakers, including historian Sir Hilary Beckles and feminist politician Mia Mottley.
I am hoping to excavate and expose the Romneyesque Talibank Thinking (or Kalibank Thinging) pecuniary priestcraft at the core of their arguments.
It is the kind of slight-of-hand (or slight-of-tan, in Dolezal’s case) born of the dark night in woman and man, that former New York governor Eliot Spitzer seems to have a deep understanding of.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Spitzer who was disgraced by revelations of his “down low” use of prostitutes, nonetheless has useful, intimate insights into the excesses of the banking and insurance industries – as demonstrated by his assessment of the real scandal at AIG.
As some readers will know, in my book The Bible: Beauty and Terror Reconciled (TBBTR), I address priestcraft among Christians and other fundamentalists extensively.
Indeed with its focus on degeneration and renewal (the religious equivalent of the economic “boom and bust” cycle) TBBTR may be seen as predicting not only the 2007 subprime mortgage catalysed banking crisis, but the reputational earthquakes around Britain’s Co-Op Bank and HSBC, both with prominent churchmen (Methodist Paul Flowers and Anglican Stephen Green) at their epicentres, notably.
But TBBTR is first and foremost a study of the deadly dualism of the written word.
It’s about the lethalness of the letter. The potentially deadly deceptiveness not just of written accounts but also, and perhaps more so, of the self-destructive, illusory power they attract.
“The letter killeth”, warns the writer of 2 Corinthians 3:6. In TBBTR I demonstrate how like the seemingly stable ground beneath us, “[en]graven images”, which is what scripture is, may be as destructive as any San Andreas-created void.
The danger is the subjugation and violation of critical memory, producing the kind of sleep-walking like denial we may associate with “daddy’s girl” Bettina Aptheker.
A writer, I know this “peril of the pen” all too well. I know the earthquake-zone-instability of written things: the potentially murderous mysticism of magma; the lethal capacity of a literary lava flow.
A linguist by both training and inclination, I understand the potency of the spoken word, which written things may not only express but obscure.
A Barbadian, who has experienced the kind of intellectual property dislocation and dispossession that only the truth-evading, talent trafficking and myopic manuscript misappropriating masters of that plantation society could instigate, I know what it is like to be afflicted by a Bruce St John-like species of dementia.
I’ve learnt to forgive the destruction of thinking talent that my compatriot George Lamming attributes to Barbados’ labour-preaching, true thought leeching political system.
Blacklisted and boycotted by the island’s media and their powerful British, American, Canadian, Indian and other counterparts, I have had to learn to breathe while submerged.
I believe that this has made me stronger, deepening my understanding of heaven and earth’s core principles.
The screenshot at the top of this article shows a segment of an unfinished article I started writing last year and which also links to this project tantalizingly.
Under the title “Barbados, England and California quakes ‘related’?”, that article explores geopsychic, spiritual links between the magnitude 4:4 Los Angeles earthquake of March 18, 2014 and two others in Barbados and England that preceded it by just over a month.
I reproduce that unfinished article here, preserved mid-action, like the corpses of some of those Italians who died in AD 79, when Mount Vesuvius erupted.
Or like the two news announcers in the above screenshot.
It’s mainly the first screenshot that I want to draw readers’ attention to though.
Do you see the word-fragment “mag” in the article?
It’s circled in red, and located in an editorial space I apparently created but for some reason failed to fill.
Like Yucatan yawning, as Barbadian “Father Poet” (one of my deadbeat, dreadbeat “dads”) Kamau Brathwaite might put it, the blank space preceding the “mag” word-fragment attests materially to my dislocation and “distraction”.
It attests to the relative isolation and insecurity of each individual Caribbean island.
More penetratingly, it points to the erosion and virtual erasure of many Caribbean people’s outstanding achievements by the selective silence of plotting and petrified politicians, religious clerics, business people, academics, journalists and other media workers.
Like the prophesied ‘rocks crying out’ (Luke 19:40) I’m committed to breaking that silence.
That’s because I know first-hand how it inflicts psychic pain and injury.
I know by long-running experience and observation how such truth denial is destructive of praise inspiring memory. How like a cancer it undermines the mammary glands of the mind.
A father myself, I know something of how it deprives God, the ground of all good being and belief of the fulfilment and completion of God-like goodness in humanity.
I also know that where humanity fails, to praise God and nurture the divine seed at the core our being and belief, inanimate stones may be mobilized to jog our memories.
A girlfriend in Norfolk named Viola says it was the manly mobility and power of “The Rock” that she remembers most, having seen San Andreas recently.
Having not yet seen the movie myself, I sense that the song “Rock In Ethiopia”, by Barbadian geyser Adonijah Alleyne, a peculiarly silent “father figure”, or “baby-daddy” (as Dr Jameca Falcon might say) is more likely to excite my meaning-seeking interest and intrigue.
I think that like Lloyds Bank, which closed my Intelek business account arbitrarily (and then added insult to that injury by dismissively snubbing me when I sent them a legally binding request for an explanation, in line with the Data Protection Act 1998), the self-lionizing, misguidedly moving and shaking Adonijah, and his tragically short-sighted “queen” Nailah could be persuaded to see how my being and beliefs and their own connect inevitably.
After all, are we not all, as individuals, fragmented and incomplete?
Aren’t we, like the word-fragment “mag” (which I believe was in the process of becoming “magnitude”) all to some degree interdependent with others, inevitably?
So says the ebony Martin Luther King Jr and ivory Stephen R Covey.
But some people, like the Lloyds Bank employees who snubbed me may be too bureaucratically bound to things spelt out in “black and white”.
They may be too fundamentalist in financial matters, too preoccupied with external, written records, and therefore dimming and diminishing their own inner light.
And it seems that many in Great Britain today are confounded by this commonwealth’s grey.
I think of the bigoted broadcasting I heard around the celebration of Magna Carta on June 15 – like San Andreas’ elaborate, arguably exaggerated imagery.
I was rather taken aback by the BBC’s and other media houses’ hyperbole.
The girl God psyche
Another Norfolk-based woman-friend and business associate Janice Lear-Gurney can attest to human interdependence convincingly – as can others who suffer from Parkinson’s disease and similar diseases that, like earthquakes, can literally knock us off our feet.
The once exceptionally active, independent-minded Jan, is the central subject of the on-going “Janice Gurney – Life of the Party” crowd-source funding project and other Intelek holistic health initiatives being planned.
Having previously thought that religious faith was for the birds, she is now sounding the depths of her own spiritual worth and capacity – aided by Intelek’s Linguistic Historical Spirituo-Naturalistic Consciencing technology.
She is discovering the interdependence of faith and reason in alerting humanity to our times and the seasons.
No written code can substitute for that living, Logos-lighted logic.
A million Magna Cartas, like #MagmaCarta, are perennially proved inadequate.
The fault is in our fallibility, as human beings: it is in our inner San Andreas essentially.
The challenge for all of us is to live confidently while fully aware of this underlying, “subprime” uncertainty.
To be continued…(predictably)