A Trinbagonian Zionist Speaks

The article pasted below presents another Trinbagonian's perspective on the ongoing Israel/Palestine war and his appreciation of the "response" of the government of Trinidad and Tobago. (I personally haven't seen this official response and no one is throwing me a bone so I cannot comment.) Steve Kangal's article, "Designing a Pro-Israel Middle East Policy" asks important questions about our relationship with Israel.

But Nick, who describes himself as "the biggest Zionist ever - and perhaps, a little right-wing" in his views, has had some bad experiences trying to share his views and arguments. The most recent incident was the (IBN) Islamic Broadcasting Network's censorship of his views on Sunday January 4th, 2009 when he called in to contribute to the discussion of the current events unfolding between Israel and Hamas. It was here, he states, that he first learned of the anti-Semitism which exists in his country of Trinidad and Tobago.

Of course, I was not present and I did not hear what transpired but I understand the frustration of being silenced so I want to do my part to give him a wider audience. I quote the entire text of the article below:



By Nick Jagdeo

"Trinidad & Tobago is one of the most cosmopolitan countries in the world. Our population of 1.5 million is comprised of people of African, East Indian, Chinese, European, Mediterranean, Arab and Native American descent. We boast of the many churches, mosques and Hindu temples which dot the landscape of our tiny island.

Racism, though ever so slightly present in politics, is not a true problem which plagues our society. Trinidad & Tobago a veritable paradise – a land of oil and money, Carnival and calypso, rum and calypso, beautiful beaches and sweeping skyscrapers, if only for one thing: Trinidad & Tobago seems to be under the “curious spell of anti-Semitism without Jews.” For while our people adhere to the faiths of almost every major world religion, Jews and Judaism is largely unrepresented here. In total, the entire Trinidadian Jewish population accounts for only about 100 persons. Many of them are well-known figures, but their Jewishness is not something which they broadcast – and for good reason. Anti-Semitism is growing in Trinidad, in no small part thanks to the efforts of the approximately seventy thousand Muslims who call Trinidad & Tobago home.

"Once there was a flourishing Jewish community in Trinidad – with over 5,000 Jews calling Trinidad home and terming themselves part of the “Calypso Shtetl”. Unfortunately, the Black Power uprisings of the 1970’s forced many of these Trinidadian Jews to migrate to Canada, Barbados and the United States. I was privileged to meet one of these Trinidadian Jews, a wonderful lady who, because of
diplomatic reasons, returned to Trinidad to live for a few years. A true Trinidadian, born and bred on these very shores, this lady was the first to put into words the disturbing increase in anti-Semitism. She said in an e-mail to me: “In Trinidad, it is easily explained by 3 reasons: the Syrian population, the American black Nation of Islam influence, and the Muslim followers of Arabs. All of these groups are, by tradition, anti-Semitic.” Truer words were never spoken, and it dismayed me to learn that anti-Semitism was rising in Trinidad.

"On Sunday January 4th, 2009, the IBN (Islamic Broadcasting Network) Channel 8 in Trinidad & Tobago hosted a show discussing the current events unfolding between Israel and the terrorist group, Hamas, and it was here that I first learned of the anti-Semitism which exists in my country. Naturally, as was to be expected, many callers-in spouted venomous, hateful, anti-Israel sentiments - among which they called Israel "an aggressor", "prideful", "evil", and called for the boycott of Israeli products. Of course, since we live in a democratic state, they were most entitled to their opinion, but likewise, since it is a democratic state, I felt compelled to call in and offer my dissenting view.

"While the other callers greeted the show hosts and the Trinidad & Tobago public with the proper Islamic greeting, I chose not to do so since I am not Muslim, and I simply said "Good night", before starting to say what I had to say. Perhaps that was my first mistake, for IBN is not known for being particularly open-minded with people whose views clash with their own. While they are greatly sympathetic to non-Muslims who call in to agree with their views, they aren't likely to be that understanding with non-Muslims who don't agree with them.

"So I called in and said the following: "Good night, I'm calling in response to the last caller. Now we have to put things into perspective here: Israel has it's borders with the West Bank relatively open, because the West Bank isn't under the control of a terrorist group, and Hamas is a terrorist group in control of the Gaza Strip. Hamas quotes the hadith which speaks of Jews hiding behind trees and stones and those trees and stones calling for Muslims to kill the Jews. It's in their very charter which I've read, and -" at that point, my call was immediately disconnected and the show hosts went on a tirade to explain that the hadith I quoted didn't exist, and that Hamas was not a terrorist group, by any stretch of the imagination. I had obviously dreamed it up in my head that Hamas was a terrorist organization, because obviously I was deranged. Why would I think that? Hamas never called for an end to the state of Israel; Hamas' charter doesn't proclaim that all of "Palestine" is Islamic Waqf - land conquered exclusively for Muslim use, to be governed by Muslims; Hamas was not termed a terrorist organization by the EU, by the US, by Israel and many other countries; Hamas didn't say it would never negotiate with and/or recognize the Jewish state's right to exist, nor did Hamas ever say that it would rescind on all past agreements the PLO/PA made with Israel!

"No sir-ee! I was completely wrong on all these points!

"What Hamas actually was, was a peace-loving organization which was being treated unfairly by Western media and that aggressor country - ugh, Israel.

"Doh! Get your facts straight, Mr. Jagdeo! But just in case - in the mere chance that those presenters were wrong and I was right - I'd like them to know this: you can argue from now til thy kingdom come and you get your 72 virgins about why the sky is not blue - but that doesn't change the facts: the sky is blue, Hamas is a terrorist organization and the hadith does exist and it does say clearly that Muslims will get help from trees and stones in locating and killing those terrible, evil Jews. But if I'm wrong and Mr. Inshan Ishmael (the show’s main presenter) is right - then slap me silly and call me Wakim, because I will head straight for the nearest mosque (I won't even bother to stop at "Go!" and collect my $200) and become a Muslim.

"(Before we continue, may I stop here just to quote the hadith, which I was told did not exist. The hadith is as follows: "HADITH Sahih Bukhari [4:52:176] Narrated by Abdullah bin Umar: Allah's Apostle said, “You will indeed fight against the Jews and you will kill them to the point where the rock and the tree will say: ‘O Muslim! O Abdullaah (slave of Allaah)! There is a Jew hiding behind me. Come and kill him.’ Except for al-Gharqad for it is from the trees of the Jews.’ ” So there ya go. Either I am crazy, or Abdullah bin Umar was crazy, or maybe – just maybe – the shows presenters were the crazy ones. I’ll leave it up to you to decide).

"The point of my rambling here is not against IBN or against Islam. While I was very discomfited by the way I was treated that night, I didn't expect any better from that particular television station. After all, whenever they have a chance, they are ever-ready to make subtle anti-Israel and somewhat anti-Semitic remarks in their shows, and regularly broadcast subtle propaganda aimed against Jews and Israel.

Subtle, because they are well-aware of the dangers of inciting people, and God knows they are somewhat wary of losing their broadcasting license in Trinidad & Tobago, so they resort to finding subtle means to dig at Israel, to dig at Jews and to further validate themselves (cause God forbid, Islam tries to exist without invalidating everyone else around it, especially Am Yisrael). For instance, they regularly broadcast a particular cartoon featuring a group of young Muslim-American scout-like boys who travel to Turkey and are caught up in the intrigue of fighting against "the Evil Star Organization" - a most devious, treacherous club, whose leader is pictured by a very pale, stooped-over gentleman, with a huge nose and the greediest, most money-grubbing personality you can imagine. You need not be any sort of Einstein to figure out what the Evil Star Organization represents and who the leader is a caricature of. And also, a couple weeks ago, on the weekly IBN show "Let the Quran Speak", the esteemed Islamic scholar Mr. Chote, was very clear in saying that the problems in the Middle East stem from not an Arab/Israeli conflict, but rather, a Muslim/Jewish one. Mr. Chote quoted the aforementioned hadith (which I was told, did not exist) to back up his argument and argue for a united Muslim front against Jews (though it must be said, Mr. Chote was very careful in choosing his words and did not exactly call for physical violence to be perpetrated against Jews or Jewish interests). Mr. Chote continued on to say that “Palestine” was a land belonging to all Muslims and not just Palestinians. Of course, I was mightily surprised by that statement. Apparently Mr. Chote seemed to think he had some sort of claim to the land of Israel as well, and only by the collective effort of the 1billion Muslims in the world could the Jewish problem be solved. Oh well, just when I thought the only claimants to the land were the Jews and Palestinians, up comes Mr. Chote throwing his 2 cents in and staking his claim as well. Well, well - all I have to say is this: though the Moshiach may tarry - I believe in his coming. You just wait, Mr. Chote.

"But as I was saying, I truly did not expect IBN to be open-minded, especially given its history of anti-Israel, anti-Jewish rhetoric. What really disturbed me was the level of hate of the callers. It wasn't simply a "we don't agree with Israel" - it was a constant, never-ending supply of "Assalam u alaykum", followed by "we hate Israel etc., etc., etc." I’ve a somewhat morbid sense of humor, so I could not help but find the irony that callers would greet the show hosts in the most syrupy-sweet voices wishing them "Peace unto you" (which is what "assalam u alaykum" literally means), and then go on to proclaim their hate for Israel, the funniest thing in the world. But that's beside the point - after all, everyone is entitled to their opinion. What really got to me was the unfairness of the situation. It upset me to my core. I was frustrated that I had not been given the time to talk about Hamas' constant barrage of Qassam and Katuysha rockets (one of the show presenters called it “Falusha” rockets, "or something like that". No my friend, Falashas are a derogatory term for Ethiopian Jews. Like I said, they know what they're talking about. I don't - so Falusha rockets it is) into southern Israel - over 10,600 rockets, to be exact. I wanted to yell out that Israel didn't have to do a ground invasion - Israel could've just attacked from the air, bombing their targets from the safety of their planes, and not risk the lives of their soldiers, but they chose to go in, putting the lives of their soldiers in jeopardy, in order to minimize Palestinian civilian casualties.

"I wanted to yell out many things, but I didn't...because I'd been disconnected, most unceremoniously, from the show. After all, I don't know anything: Hamas is not a terrorist organization; there is no hadith which says trees and stones will help Muslims locate and kill Jews; and Falusha rockets were what the Hamas was hitting Israel with.

"Ah - you learn something new everyday.

"The many callers - all of whom who declared their united hate for Israel and her aggression on those innocent, peace-loving Hamas members - sickened me. The abundance of ignorance on the issue among the Trinidadian public sickened me to my core. And it wasn't just the callers-in to the IBN show who sickened me. My growing sense of nausea had begun to grow earlier that very day. On that particular Sunday, before I tuned in to IBN, I'd read some articles in the newspapers by local columnists who were only too quick in their leftist views to denounce Israel as the poster country for all things evil. You know how it goes – Israel drops a bomb and the entire left begins their tirade against Israel and Zionism. Blah blah blah. It’s the same story every time and everywhere. It’s no different here in Trinidad.

"So I felt sick - down to my very core. The leftists, the extremist Muslims, the uninformed – just too many haters… all springing from my country. I was ashamed – it was not what I expected, especially from a people who are famous for not being racist…

"Now I'm the biggest Zionist ever - and perhaps, a little right-wing in my views: yeah, I'm a Jerusalem-should-not-be-divided, Bibi-loving, don't-give-land-unless-you're-getting-a-sustainable-durable-permanent-peace, don't-negotiate-with-terrorists kind of guy (oops, Hamas aren't terrorists! Didn't they teach me that on Sunday? Silly Nick!), but I am willing to listen to other points of view - if you would let me voice mine as well. But right then, it seemed that no one wanted to listen.

At that point, it seemed to me that everyone in Trinidad & Tobago was as stubborn as the most hardened donkey out there, unwilling to look beyond the scope of the present and superficial, unwilling to dig down into the history and the deeper, ideological problems that simmer below the surface.

"The whole thing hurt me awfully - because the truth is, I take things personally - and everyone dissing Israel and not giving me any space to stand up for her frustrated me, hurt me and really made me ashamed of Trinidad. I hadn't expected Trinidad to be so full of leftists, so full of anti-Israel sentiment, so full of hate and ignorance and a refusal to learn the history of the situation before they jump the bandwagon and start calling for death to Israel. It just seemed to me that everyone was too quick to just look at the here and now, presented to them by CNN and the ever-anti-Semitic BBC and judge Israel unfairly.

"But two things happened which changed my dissatisfaction with my country; two things which made me proud of my people, and reassured me that they aren’t all leftists, or extreme Muslims. Those loud voices are drowned out by the majority – and the majority came out and spoke and reassured me that my Trinidadian people are a most intelligent people who aren't all anti-Israel and aren't all unaware of the truth of the situation.

"Yesterday, a friend of mine in Jerusalem sent me a link to a site where one can contribute to assist IDF soldiers in the war against Hamas. The site (
http://www.stogether.org/gaza) asked for a simple contribution of US$18 to equip individual soldiers with little necessities which the army couldn't afford to give to them. Knowing my Zionist ideologies, my friend sent me this link cause she knew that I would want to help in any way I could, since I am currently so far away from Israel. Naturally, I immediately went onto the site and did what I had to do there, but I wondered, "Hmm? I wonder if there's anyone in Trinidad who'd want to help out as well?", so I clicked the forward button, and with the Zionist fervor bubbling in me, I forwarded that son-of-a-bitch e-mail to every Tom, Dick and Harry I could think of.

"And boy was I surprised by what happened.

"I'm no official representative of Israel, but people wrote back to me saying how they wanted to help, but didn't know how to - and this was a good idea of mine to send this to them. They SUPPORTED Israel! My e-mail, which had been forwarded to people I don't even know, made a bit of a ripple, and my humble GMail inbox was somewhat inundated with e-mails from a wide variety of folks: Christian evangelicals, everyday citizens who were well-educated about what's going on and in full support of Israel, and even an lady who "couldn't bear the thought of those poor soldiers not having any comforts, even though I don't know head or tail about the situation over there."

"It warmed my heart - honestly it did.

"And then, to further compound this warming in my previously hurt little heart, I clicked on the Facebook group I'd joined, "I support the Israel Defense Force in preventing terror attacks from Gaza", and checked the list of friends I had in it who I'd invited to join - and to my pleasant, most heart-warming surprise realized that from only 3 friends yesterday, this number had grown to 25 - including a hijab-wearing acquaintance! It was the the best feeling ever. And that's the point of this note - I know it's been long, I know I've rambled alot, but here's the long-awaited point: I forgot that while there is opposition to Israel – opposition to Israel’s current war against terror, and possibly, opposition to Israel’s very right to exist, there is also support for Israel, from varied, surprising and not-so-surprising sources in my country. There are Muslims who are fair and rational in my country, there is a huge evangelical Christian population in Trinidad (approximately two hundred and fifty thousand by some sources), and there are members of the intelligentsia who aren’t leftist and biased against Israel. My very own Prime Minister, the Honorable Patrick Manning, while I don’t always agree with him, was courageous and bold enough to say to hell with Caribbean’s silly neutrality on the Israel/Palestinian conflict, and he established official ties with Israel and broke ground by being the first head of government of a Caribbean country to visit Israel in an official capacity in November of 2005.

"So thank you, my wonderful country of Trinidad & Tobago.

"Thank you for being open enough and intelligent enough and educated enough and caring enough to give your support to a country which is only trying to do the right thing, but whose name is being dragged through the mud because the world is a harsh, unfair place. Thank you for not feeding in to extremist Muslim and Arab propaganda; thank you for throwing yourselves behind Israel so firmly, so faithfully and so steadfastly.

"Thank you, Trinidad & Tobago for making me proud of you and reinstating in me a pride in my country... you’ve thrown your support behind my other country, Israel, and I’m proud to be a part of you both."

This article is also available at

Israel News.

Education is Essential [Song]

Uploaded by mentoralley

By Mighty Sparrow

Education, education this is the foundation.
Our rising population needs sound education
To be recognised anywhere you go,
You gotta have your certificate to show
To enjoy any kind of happiness,
Knowledge is the key to success.

Children go to school and learn well
Otherwise later on in life you go catch real hell
Without an education in your head
Your whole life will be pure misery, you better off dead
For there is simply no room in this whole wide world
For an uneducated little boy or girl
Don't allow idle companions to lead you astray
To earn tomorrow you got to learn today.

For employment, yes, employment, you must be intelligent.
So it's essential, very essential, to have your credentials
But if you block headed like a mule,
Remember, no one will employ a fool
You will be the last one to be hired,
And the very first one to be fired.

Children go to school and learn well,
Otherwise later on in life you go catch real hell.
Without an education in your head,
Your whole life will be pure misery, you better off dead.
For there is simply no room in this whole wide world,
For an uneducated little boy or girl.
Don't follow idle companions or you will get burned
To earn, to earn, you got to learn.

Illiteracy, illiteracy, is man's greatest enemy
It's your duty, yes, your duty, stamp it out completely
Ignorance always increases risk
Education saves you much distress
So learn, learn, learn as much as you can
This nation's future is in your hands.

Children go to school and learn well
Otherwise later on in life you go catch real hell
Without an education in your head
Your whole life will be pure misery, you better off dead
For there is simply no room in this whole wide world
For an uneducated little boy or girl
Don't allow idle companions to lead you astray
To earn, tomorrow, you got to learn today.

It's a treasure, yes, a treasure beyond any measure
So secure it, just secure it, don't ever ignore it
I say to fight life's battles come what may,
Education will light up your way
Without it you never, never, never get through
Success or failure now it is up to you.

Children go to school and learn well
Otherwise later on in life you go catch real hell
Without an education in your head
Your whole life will be pure misery, you better off dead
For there is simply no room in this whole wide world
For an uneducated little boy or girl
Don't allow idle companions to lead you astray
To earn tomorrow, you got to learn today.

It's imperative! [As long as you live... it's your prerogative. Give all that you can give!]

Source: The lyrics posted on this blog are often transcribed directly from performances. Although it is my intention to faithfully transcribe I do not get all the words and I have a knack for hearing the wrong thing. Please feel free to correct me or to fill in the words that I miss by dropping me a message via e-mail. I'd be forever grateful. Thanks in advance!
"Patria est communis omnium parens" - Our native land is the common parent of us all. Keep it beautiful, make it even more so.

Blessed is all of creation
Blessed be my beautiful people
Blessed be the day of our awakening
Blessed is my country
Blessed are her patient hills.

Mweh ka allay!

Obeah [Song]

Uploaded by coo4rocknroll

By Baron
Arranged by Leston Paul
Album: "Melody Sweet!" T&T 1991

The world today is in decay. No love, no peace, more bills to pay
Terrorists on the loose, soldiers on the go
We don't know who is friend, who is foe
Morals are at all time low
Oh Lord, we can't go on so.

We go wuk [obeah], we go wuk [obeah]
They say we must try [obeah], we go try [obeah]
Is too much confusion for one generation
Put a helping hand, we going by the obeah man.

[Obeah, obeah, obeah, obeah]

In these hard times, there are more crimes
Vagrants and drunks and strange enzymes
Syndicates making a mockery of the law
Cabinets and senates in uproar
Justice getting to be obscure
And we can't take no more.

We go wuk obeah, we go wuk obeah
They say we go try [obeah], we must try [obeah]
Is too much confusion for one generation
Put a helping hand, we going by the obeah man.

[Obeah, obeah, obeah, obeah]
[Obeah, obeah, obeah, obeah]

Earthquake and storm is now a norm
High, high taxes and low income
Ozone disappearing, acid rain falling
Toxic waste in the air we breathing
Who knows what tomorrow will bring?
So we must try something.

We go wuk [obeah], we go wuk [obeah]
They say we must try [obeah], we go try [obeah]
Is too much confusion for one generation
Put a helping hand, we going by the obeah man.

[Obeah, obeah, obeah, obeah]
[Obeah, obeah, obeah, obeah]

Source: The lyrics posted on this blog are often transcribed directly from performances. Although it is my intention to faithfully transcribe I do not get all the words and I have a knack for hearing the wrong thing. Please feel free to correct me or to fill in the words that I miss by dropping me a message via e-mail. I'd be forever grateful. Thanks in advance!

A Note From The Gull

Thank you, Baron.

"Patria est communis omnium parens" - Our native land is the common parent of us all. Keep it beautiful, make it even more so.

Blessed is all of creation
Blessed be my beautiful people
Blessed be the day of our awakening
Blessed is my country
Blessed are her patient hills.

Mweh ka allay!

"Living Guyana" will fight another day

Screen capture of Blogger response to searches for the blog "Living Guyana" which has now gone to ground.

The story goes that Guyana Bank For Trade and Industry(GBTI) had released the police hounds after the blog "Living Guyana's" February 29 publication of a report that they claimed to have been confirmed by "a highly placed source in the financial sector." It stated that GBTI was "in dire financial straits and has applied to the Bank of Guyana for a GY$1billion bailout." The blog has since been taken down, but the cached version of the post in question begins:

Economy comes crashing down...
...Clico, Hand In Hand, GBTI who's next?
Thursday, February 26, 2009
BREAKING NEWS: GBTI Applies For GY$1Billion Gov't Bailout As Economy Begins To Nose Dive

Living Guyana has just confirmed with a highly placed source in the financial sector that the Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry is in dire financial straits and has applied to the Bank of Guyana for a GY$1billion bailout. However there may be much greater troubles below the surface.

The bank, which is controlled by the powerful and highly influential Beharry family, and which is in the midst of constructing a massive new headquarters in Kingston has been known to issue thousands of loans on very liberal terms and it appears as though their lack of stringency is turning back to bite them very nastily on the backside.

Experts tell Living Guyana that it is surprising that GY$1billion would be considered a bailout when GBTI's 2007 financial statements put total assets at GY$43 billion. The billion dollar question, experts say, is whether GBTI lost money in the aftermath of the Stanford or Clico collapse. GBTI should have been able to divest some of its treasury bills or other investments or even tap the very rich Beharry Group for a short-term advance (although one wonders if their investment portfolio is also reeling)."
Whether the brouhaha is orchestrated or spontaneous, only time will tell, but I won't be paying attention beyond the time it takes to write this post because for me it's another case of the flea being held accountable for its farts while the elephant is given carte blanche to defecate on peoples' heads. I agree with the comments that the "damage" is being exaggerated and I think that "Signifyin' Guyana" at least is not running with the pack and is taking the time to ask the right questions. Now, if the "misinformation" should become fact, then GBTI would have provided for themselves a tidy scapegoat for their crisis - the goat mouth of the omnipotent "Living Guyana" of course.

Sometimes all "the rest of us" have are the leakers and the whistleblowers. The same things are whispered to insiders and they are given the opportunity to protect their interests ahead of the perspiring hordes. Until I am told that the major players in these failing companies are now living out of cardboard boxes on the pavements, I will continue to assume that they've always had access to information that allowed them to take very good care of themselves.

By the way, how is publishing that piece of information more irresponsible than the broadcasting of the following story as reported in the Trinidad & Tobago Express of March 4th 2009?:
"Panic gripped citizens across the country yesterday, as news spread like wildfire after midday reports carried on two television and six radio stations claimed that 75 children were found in a 40-foot container, bound for Cuba, at Shed Four of the Port of Port of Spain on Wrightson Road."
The Trinidad and Tobago's Newsday reports
"After a thorough check of the Port of Port-of-Spain by police officers, port police and officers of the Customs and Excise Division, the Commissioner confirms that all these allegations are just rumours."
He described the radio and television reports as 'unsubstantiated'." The Port Authority also confirmed that the reports were false.

Since that incident, the The Telecommunications Authority (Tatt) has launched an investigation into Monday’s unsubstantiated media reports to determine “if and to what extent” the reporting of the “false and misleading information” by several media houses “may have been as a result of a failure to take reasonable steps to verify the accuracy of the information prior to transmission.”

Is this ethical "mainstream" news reporting? Putting aside my empathizing with the very real trauma that would have been experienced by relatives of the many missing children in Trinidad and Tobago, the additional stress that would have been placed on their already stressed fellow Trinbagonians and the potential for injury, both physical and emotional, from the panic that such a report would have caused, I couldn't help but compare the situation to that of "Living Guyana's". Let us see if the police will be sent to hunt down the "mainstream". Maybe these news outlets, like "Living Guyana" should also close up shop?

I don't know, just a idea, but what if this whole hoax was deliberately instigated, not by some idle prankster flea but by the same elephants who ordered the massacre of the trees ahead of the Summit of the Americas? What if... [and a blogger is allowed to post "what if's' if he/she clearly identifies them as such]what if the elephants were trying to see if the "mainstream" could be relied upon to suppress rather than broadcast with gay abandon, any panic-inducing rumours which could possibly be spread by malicious malcontents during the Summit?

At a time when the country must guarantee the safety of the many visiting VIP's and when it especially does not want to portray itself as Mayhemville, wouldn't conducting such a test occur to those in charge of Security?

Well, if it was a test, the results are in. The "mainstream" media threw caution to the winds and lunged with mouths agape for the hoax. They swallowed it - hook, line and sinker and now TATT is going to have to instruct them in no uncertain terms about how they are NOT going to be repeating the same mistake next month...OR ELSE. Not so sure if they'd be as vigilant after the Summit has passed but as I said, it's just a "what if"....and I ain't taking down my blog.

Over at Slacker's Chronicles, that blogger, out of concern for his fellow bloggers and not wanting us to find ourselves in the same position as "Living Guyana, posted the video clip which I have reposted below. The speaker is Devin Stewart of the Carnegie Council.


It is part of a longer presentation which I have not viewed but addressing just the clip, I am not certain whether the main concern here is the "ease" with which the technology allows bloggers to publish both truths and falsehoods, or a lingering uneasiness felt especially by the "mainstream" with the democratization of broadcasting? If it is the former, we know that all technologies have their uses and misuses, no news there, and that people will continue to act as honourably or dishonourably as they have always acted, only instead of at a snail's pace, they will now do so at lightning speed.

If it is the latter, I also recognise that discomfort. The good news is that independent thinkers who in the past would have been shouted over by the minority's control of the "mainstream" media, are taking to this more inclusive platform like fish to water. These are the disturbing arrivants.

If the "mainstream" would be honest, they would admit that although some of these voices can be quite unethical, as unethical in fact as those in the "mainstream" have been allowed to be in their presentation of reality, they are actually not the real threat. The real threat is the army of bloggers who ARE proceeding ethically but who are considered problematic because they do not owe any allegiance to paycheck-dispensing bosses or conventional myth-making and preservation and are therefore free to explore perspectives which are not rehearsed or directed by others.

To make this clip relevant to the real world, we should situate the concerns expressed here within the wider context of unethical publishing and that will include the often invasive and dishonest publishing of commercial advertising, the mind control of religious proselytizing, and political and economic propaganda, and the unquestioned "mainstream" with their "acceptable" forms of communication.

As far as I am concerned, all unsolicited information thrown at me is oppressive but if I need some of it to survive, I prefer to digest information that is not driven by agendas that only pretend to include a desire for my advancement. So am I advocating "unethical" blogging? Apart from the argument that could be made that "ethicalness" is in the eye of the beholder, I must respond with a resounding NO!. I am certainly not supporting lack of regard for the rights of others in any activity, whether done in private or public. Though the largely unregulated arena of the blogosphere might be mistaken for a free for all Carnival and some might be tempted to puh dey blogs in de air and wave dem like dey jus doh care, no one can in good conscience support the fabrication of information with the deliberate intent to cause damage. If this is what "Living Guyana" did, then they do not have my sympathy...but did they?

Facts are facts and most of us "citizen journalists" who choose to blog about facts, are aware of the responsibility that comes with the freedom to express our views. We usually quote our sources and provide links when they are available. We sometimes discuss the topics that are glossed over or ignored by others, we provide updates and corrections, we respond to the concerns and inputs of the readers who provide feedback and we contribute to debates by providing alternative and/or unpopular views. But since there is so much dishonesty crawling about on the information terrain, both sanctioned and not, there is no excuse for any consumer of information to leave the regulation solely in the hands of the providers. It is up to us as individuals to develop the survival skills of vigilance and discernment. Next time we must follow the shining example of our Prime Minister. He also heard the rumour but he didn't jump to any conclusions..."because I'll tell you this, the minute I heard the report I made one check and found out it wasn't true," Good for you, Sir. This is intelligent consumption!

I conclude with an excerpt from a March 2nd letter to the editor of the Stabroek news which responds to the fallout from the "Living Guyana" post:
If ever a country needed a blogging community it is this one
..."But this incident goes to a bigger point about Guyana, a society where no one is held accountable for anything, ever. Where information that is routinely public in other countries is withheld... it is better to speak one’s mind anonymously than have to stay silent while all around you see the absurd injustices and corruption of a society in fatal decline. The blog has been shut down but another will take its place."
Statement published by the Guyana Government Information Agency denouncing the baseless allegations:
Gov’t denounces mischievous statements on financial system.
Georgetown, GINA, February 27, 2009

"The Government of Guyana wishes to denounce comments carried on a blog and repeated by the Evening News last evening stating that the Guyana Bank For Trade and Industry (GBTI) has applied to the Bank of Guyana for a G$1 billion bailout, along with comments carried on a blog regarding Citizens’ Bank.
Government views these unsubstantiated and baseless comments as highly irresponsible and mischievous and wishes to state categorically that GBTI has not applied for any financial support or bailout in any form from the Bank of Guyana or any Government agency and does not face any issue requiring Government or regulatory intervention. The comments made on Citizens’ Bank are, similarly, completely baseless and untrue.
Government has noted that the Evening News has since retracted its comments and apologised for its actions, and it is hoped that other media houses and citizens will act responsibly in these matters.
Government further wishes to condemn what appears to be a coordinated attempt to cast aspersions on the strength of its financial system. Such an approach is reckless and completely inconsistent with the practice of responsible journalism by knowledgeable professionals. As has been reiterated by the Central Bank, Guyana’s financial system continues to be stable and the financial institutions operating in Guyana remain well-managed and financially sound."
"Patria est communis omnium parens" - Our native land is the common parent of us all. Keep it beautiful, make it even more so.

Blessed is all of creation
Blessed be my beautiful people
Blessed be the day of our awakening
Blessed is my country
Blessed are her patient hills.

Mweh ka allay!

Israeli Apartheid Week, 2009

Uploaded by cool4rocknroll

By Mighty Sparrow

No games with them, don't trade with them
For them, there should be no tomorrow
This race problem, their apartheid system must not be allowed to grow
The world is suffering tremendously as a result of their racial slavery
If indeed we want peace to reign from the top, discrimination must stop

There can be no peace, only hurt
There can be no glories on this earth
If because of his colour, his creed and his culture
A fellow human being is treated like dirt
If I was a freedom fighter in this world like America
I will see that my quest was under duress
And do my best to isolate South Africa

Isolate South Africa, annihilate South Africa
Eliminate South Africa, disintegrate South Africa!

Total embargo, just to let them know
Human lives must not be taken so lightly
Their vile assault is a gross insult to one and all in a freedom-loving society
Yes, we know all men were created equally
This world is not reserved for you exclusively
If we believe this and we want happiness
Now take a stand to stamp out segregation.

There can be no honour, no respect, no splendour if we accept
The act of a state who blatantly violates every humanitarian precept
If I was a freedom structure like Britain, France, Canada and Australia
Military power will head my agenda
As part of the pressure to isolate South Africa

Isolate South Africa, annihilate South Africa,
Eliminate South Africa, disintegrate South Africa!

One million resolutions by the United Nations
And today Namibia is still in bondage
They obstinately reject every decent concept of human rights
And still treat people like garbage
From the Pope to the lowest orderly in the clergy
Is rebuffed, beaten, some get killed or shot
Greed and avarice for what, preventing those who could help
Torture and pain and human suffering surpass the top
I see a bleak future of only gloom
All hopes and dreams shatter 'cause of impending doom.

All because of his colour, his creed and his culture
A fellow human being is treated like dirt
If I was a freedom fighter in this world like America
I will see that my quest was under duress
And do my best to isolate South Africa

Isolate South Africa, annihilate South Africa
Eliminate South Africa, disintegrate South Africa!

Daily lives are lost like the Holocaust
The superpowers sit down and they take no action
Showing no interest to try and stop this madness
Like they stand behind Afghanistan and Poland
Even China is supplying them with uranium
So they could build a super hydrogen bomb
Without the US support, the UN is no comfort
America, is you to stop Pretoria!

There is simply no justice, no reason, inequitableness stay in season
In this hell hole of a state who blatantly violate every humanitarian precept
If I was a freedom structure like Britain, France, Canada and Australia
Military power will head my agenda
As part of the pressure to isolate South Africa

Isolate South Africa, annihilate South Africa,
Eliminate South Africa, disintegrate South Africa!

I am posting this song and comment as one of the ways in which I am observing the Fifth Annual Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) which will run from today, March 1st to the 8th. It is being observed in more than 40 cities across the globe with the number of cities climbing daily. Toronto, Canada was the birthplace of IAW, and the theme there for 2009 is "Standing United with the People of Gaza." "IAW 2009 will continue to build and strengthen the growing Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement at a global level."

Twenty-seven years ago the Mighty Sparrow was moved to sing this song, not about Israel but about another state to which Israel is increasingly being likened - South Africa. This article in Wikipedia is one of the many which explores the comparison and as you would expect it has annoyed certain parties and requests have been made for its deletion.

But back to the calypso, "Isolate South Africa". Listening to it, you can hear very clearly the personal conviction which is invested in the delivery of the piece. There can be no denying that this song was sung from the heart. These are fighting words. They express sympathy with the suffering of non-white South Africans, and outrage that such a situation should be allowed to exist. The background against which it was sung was an international outcry that had been intensifying during the late 70's and into the 80's and by the time the Mighty Sparrow sang this song, the United Nations General Assembly had already voted on a host of resolutions concerning the problems in South Africa and these included declarations calling on member states to institute embargoes.

This protest song was exactly what the world needed to hear. We all know the history. South Africa's human rights violations were clearly abominable. Racism and racial discrimination were institutionalized. We cannot imagine this today in Trinbago where the perpetuation of racist views and the racist indoctrination of young Trinbagonians is a personal choice left to individuals and parents. In South Africa however, apartheid laws based on race had been enacted in 1948 and essentially these laws were all about maintaining white domination by securing preferential treatment for whites. These laws affected every aspect of black South Africans' lives including territorial fragmentation, restriction of their freedom of movement and participation in the life of the nation, exclusion from certain jobs, outlawing of relationships and marriage between blacks and whites and putting the boot down on any form of protest whether peaceful or not. Repression, torture and death were the handmaidens of this system which had its genesis in British and Dutch convictions that the resources of this country were somehow theirs for the taking. For his courageous efforts to see the removal of this scourge, Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for life. He was one of the lucky ones though. Countless others were killed or banished.

But change did come.

Under pressure from external forces and its own internal weaknesses, apartheid was eventually dismantled and Nelson Mandela was freed. Patti Waldmeir in her book "Anatomy of A Miracle" described that bend in the road as the "final convergence of politics with morality" and she explained further that De Klerk

"had been pushed to the edge of that cliff by the combined forces of history, economics, demography and morality; by sanctions and disinvestment, and sporting boycotts and Nelson Mandela; by the process of decline which began the day apartheid was invented."

She recounts a remarkable incident which happened on February 2nd 1989, the day when F. W. De Klerk was elected leader of the National Party. He stood before the caucus and said, "Dit het tid gekom vir 'n sprong" - Now is the time for a great leap forward." And the caucus replied, "Spring, ons is lang jou!" - "Leap, we are with you."


This is the defining moment at what Israel and Palestine must arrive. They need it although I suspect that they are still not convinced that they even want it. This is where we come in. We have to nudge them towards it and if like, South Africa, Israel must be made to feel the world's disapproval through sanctions, then so be it.

Listening to the song, I find myself wondering if the Birdie would sing a song like this about Israel and my conclusion is, "Most definitely not!"

For one, the white oppressors in South Africa had no justification for demanding the protective shield that is owed a chosen and historically persecuted people who have the God-given right to defend themselves. (Euphemism for achieving by whatever means their very worldly ambitions involving other people's territories and resources). White South Africans might have also believed that they were entitled to do as they pleased and no doubt they would have found like-minded supporters around the world, like those of the Nazi or KKK variety, but in the end they were not afforded the same immunity as Israel.

Secondly, for singing such a song about Israel, the Birdie would have been accused of being anti-Semitic. What do you mean "Annihilate Israel"???? Why are we such a persecuted people??" (The classic transference of guilt to victims and accusers, thus rendering all opposing views as suspect and driven by inexplicable hatred.)

Thirdly, the Birdie should NOT sing this song today until he revises some of his bellicose recommendations and the overly generous remarks expressed therein about those whose intervention he requests. I want to address specifically the following claims that he makes in the song:

"If I was a freedom fighter in this world like America
I will see that my quest was under duress and do my best to isolate South Africa."

"If I was a freedom structure like Britain, France, Canada and Australia
Military power will head my agenda as part of the pressure to isolate South Africa."

Now, I know that the Birdie as a product of his era, had a soft spot and respect for the old masters and it is obvious that he carries a torch to this day for the land of hope and glory in whose belly he has made a nest, but let us be honest.

First of all, any illusions that we might have had about America being a "freedom fighter" are almost completely shattered. America for now, is what it is - another hustler looking out for its own interests, and some might argue, not even the interests of the masses of its citizens but those of a privileged minority. If it secures anyone's freedom, be very clear that that is just a collateral benefit and not the driving motive behind its actions. The real prize becomes obvious if you have the mind to pay attention long enough. As regards those countries deemed "freedom structures" - Britain, France, Canada and Australia, I regret to inform the Birdie that they have not shown much evidence of being any different from America.

A perusal of the voting record in the United Nations General Assembly is one way to clarify things. After scanning many of the resolutions relating to South Africa AND Israel, I can tell you that the impression that I get is that the same pattern is manifesting. Sparrow calls upon the "freedom fighters/freedom structures" of Australia, Canada, France, United Kingdom and United States of America to isolate South Africa but I assure you that those countries took every opportunity to either abstain from voting in support of those resolutions or to vote against. To encounter a "yes" vote from any of them is like finding needles in the haystack of votes that betrayed that what they actually believed was that they had more to lose than gain from dismantling the oppressive regimes in South Africa and now in Israel. I should add that Israel's voting pattern was/is right in line with these countries. They are ALL in the same boat.

You might be interested in the fact that Trinidad and Tobago has consistently voted in support of amelioration of situations of oppression both in the case of South Africa and the Palestinians. Like Nick Jagdeo, but for different reasons obviously, I am also proud of my country. Its voting record on this matter in the United Nations General Assembly shows that Trinidad and Tobago has always been sympathetic to the plight of the Palestinians.

There is something else that we should remember and that is that it was the will of the PEOPLE that things should change. They are the ones who pushed things along, the students and other activists who engaged in civil protests and used the media to force compliance with the sanctions. Left to their governments, who were obviously reluctant participants in the sanctions, it would have been, "Hands off the rogues, business is business."

Much attention has been paid to the contribution to the system of apartheid in South Africa that was made by American companies. Yes, it will be debated until the cows come home whether an exporter in one country can be seen as responsible for the use that is made of its products by the international trading partner. Well, obviously some do believe strongly that an exporter SHOULD be held accountable as the following American companies: Ford Motor Co., General Motors, IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Citigroup, Bank of America, Exxon Mobil, and General Electric are currently being sued for up to $400 billion for their role in allegedly promoting South Africa's Apartheid.

To take the example of IBM, the largest computer supplier in South Africa throughout the years of apartheid, it is reported that "In 1978 alone, IBM's South African sales jumped 250%; total annual sales amounted to approximately three hundred million dollars in 1982." Its equipment was used to organise, among other things, the population registry without which the South African government would have not been able to manage its racist and repressive stranglehold on the personal and political lives of black South Africans.

It's lua de mel time now and calypsonians, like the Mighty Sparrow, who might have come out with guns blazing are more likely to be crooning saccharine odes to their newest master, Barack Obama. I really hope that this has nothing to do with "blackness." We grew up in Trinbago after all. There should be no illusions about the innate goodness of the "brothers" or "bhais" or any other tribes who have nothing much to offer us apart from the "race" hook. No melanin gun set to stun should ever have a chance of paralysing my or any other Trinbagonian's brain.

Isolate Israel? No! I don't want to see Israel isolated. I believe that it is precisely isolation that has allowed this situation to continue. I think that the more we shout, the faster it will remember that it exists in our world and not its own.

Annihilate Israel? Certainly not! But I fear that this could be what it is courting with its aggression.

Eliminate Israel? Not at all! Israel is there to stay, a child of rape, yes, but a child nonetheless with a right now to share peacefully through fair negotiation and dispute settlement the land of its Palestinian mother. What has to stop though is the violence and the calculating encroachment on territory that is under dispute.

Disintegrate Israel? Never! What should be disintegrated is the widening and deepening occupation and oppression of the Palestinians and the erosion of democracy which we are witnessing within the state of Israel itself. It is often overlooked that there are citizens within Israel who are viewing with alarm what they are describing as the rise of fascism.

Thanks to Open Anthropology for links to the following relevant videos and articles.

Uploaded by NoApartheid.

Uploaded by connielane.

Note: Connielane, I find it interesting to see you support what is essentially also a boycott of your country, the United States of America. In light of your appreciation of the inextricable ties, I want to suggest also that you are not accurate to proclaim that Israel is the #1 terrorist state in the world. Israel does what it does within the framework of the existing world order. It is this world order or at least its guiding principles that must be reworked for the good of all humanity.

Norman Finkelstein: Why An Economic Boycott of Israel is Justified
Naomi Klein: Israel - Boycott, Divest, Sanction
GLOBAL BDS MOVEMENT: Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions
PACBI: Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
STOP THE WALL: Boycott Campaign fact sheets, analysis, FAQs
The BIG Campaign: Boycott Israeli Goods
Joanna Blythman, The Guardian: Why I’m Boycotting Israeli Produce
Brands to Boycott
Companies to Boycott

Uploaded by hanaaB