The Times They Are A-Changing

Apple Gabriel - The Times They Are A-Changing. See lyrics below.
US General meets with PM.
By Alexander Bruzal
Trinidad & Tobago's Newsday | Wednesday, December 8 2010

"DURING his first visit to TT, which lasted a little over 24 hours, General Douglas Fraser, Commander of the US Southern Command — met with various heads of State including Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and National Security Minister John Sandy.

...“This is my first time here and I am pleased for this opportunity to visit a strong military partner and a long standing friend of the United States.

“I hope my visit will help us further strengthen our friendship and pave the way for continued security cooperation between our countries. This is why I have taken time during this visit to meet with my military counterparts and learn more about your armed forces,” Fraser said, during a press conference held yesterday at the Defence Force Headquarters in Chaguaramas.

...He explained that in the modern world, the security threats to both nations were no longer confined to any specific geographic areas, and as such, they required both countries to work with each other to develop regional solutions.

In light of this, he described his meeting with the Prime Minister as positive, saying that he had expressed his country’s appreciation to Trinidad and Tobago’s commitment to regional security." Read entire article...
I have written about SOUTHCOM and AFRICOM in the past. I will not do so today. I have no idea whether any of my countrymen share my concerns. If they do, I have not seen them being expressed at length, although from time to time I spot brief comments posted by readers of the online newspapers which tell me that some are taking the time to notice the wider world in our backyard.

At the same time, I am aware of the problems at hand that demand our attention and eclipse the global scene. For most of us, these "outside" matters "do not change the price of curry."

It is difficult for the father, standing in his water-damaged home, scum marks around his calves as the muddy flood waters recede, to care about the rising cost of education in the UK. The Nigerian villagers being poisoned by oil companies do not cross the mind of the wife, who is almost unable to walk under the bone-chilling dread, as she enters the mortuary to identify her husband's remains. The physically battered and emotionally traumatised child being berated by his teacher for not ever doing his homework is not crying for the desperate illegal immigrants, destined for brothel work, disembarking on our beaches under the cover of night. The poverty-stricken mother of many standing in front of the vendor's stall on Charlotte Street, trying to ask as nonchalantly as possible for the damaged vegetables that are being thrown away, will not care a rat's erse about the millions of hungry children in the USA.

And why should they be asked to care? How will knowing that they are not alone in their suffering help them to stop the flood waters, to resurrect a loved one, to find love in their homes, to not be so hungry all the time, to not be forced to choose the dangers of prostitution and illegal immigrant status?

I've said it before. If we would each look to the persons nearest to us and take care of them, the improvements will be national. We first do it in our families, while also looking out for those in our communities. Soon T&T will be an even more humane place to live. Charity begins at home.

Outside of natural disasters, most nations' problems should be solved by their nationals unless there is a persistent and popular demand for foreign intervention. This is why I would never dream of telling Haitians that they should not take to the streets to demand justice. We have to be deaf and blind not to have some idea of what has been going on in that country, what has been done to that country by both locals and outsiders. If those people decide to surrender, nothing that we can do will win their battles for them or build a sustainable peace. As far as I can see, they are already being killed with "kindness". There are around 3,000 NGO's working in Haiti!! And this figure does not include all the other agencies that have parked themselves in there, or those that from a distance are fiddling with the lives and destinies of the Haitian people. These are hard facts.

I do not believe in foreign intervention in the internal affairs of any country. If ordinary Haitians continue to live like slaves for the next century, I believe that it should be because they make the decision to do so. Similarly, if citizens of Trinidad and Tobago prefer to complain about problems rather than to find solutions or to demand that government do its job, who else can we blame but ourselves for the sad outcomes?

So I am not going to make any comments about SOUTHCOM tonight. It all goes downhill a little too quickly when I begin. [Yes, you may conclude that I have already savagely edited this post.] My inner Canal Conks and La Bas crab are still sulking. They do not appreciate the censorship but tonight I want to accentuate the positive. I am going to try to rise above the temptations and say that because of certain brilliant T&T bloggers, I am feeling more hopeful than I have in a long while. I want to believe that there is a change in the wind and it is my prayer that we will transition peacefully to a better nation and world. Go home everybody and try with all that is in you to love and protect your own.

By Bob Dylan
Performed by Apple Gabriel

Gather 'round people wherever you roam
Admit that the waters around you have grown
Accept it that soon you'll be drenched to the bone.
If your time to you is worth saving
Then you better start swimming or you'll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changing.

Come writers and critics who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide, the chance won't come again
And don't speak too soon for the wheel's still in spin
And there's no telling who that it's naming.
For the loser now will be later to win
For the times they are a-changing.

Come senators, congressmen, please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway, don't block up the hall
For he that gets hurt will be he who has stalled
There's a battle outside and it's raging.
It will soon shake your windows and rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changing.

Come mothers and fathers throughout the land
And don't criticize what you don't understand
Your sons and your daughters are beyond your command
Your old road is rapidly aging.
Please get out of the new one if you can't lend a hand
For the times they are a-changing.

The line it is drawn, the curse it is cast
The slow one now will later be fast
As the present now will later be past
The order is rapidly fading.
And the first one now will later be last
For the times they are a-changing
For the times they are a-changing
For the times they are a-changing
For the times they are a-changing.
"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!