So once again we’ve made international news…And again for reasons we rather we didn’t make de people international news. I mean we crave foreign acknowledgement and validation, but not so, dred.
Bright and early Thursday morning, I see on my newsfeed an Al Jazeera story exploring why tiny T&T have so many people over in Syria fighting with ISIL/Da’esh.
If you click on the link, you’ll open a nice story. It’s kinda skewed, of course, one-sided, and, for some, revealing too. The news crew clearly was in the country around Carnival time and travelled to some places some local criminologists and security “experts” eh reach yet.
In the video we are taken inside certain mosques and “hot spot” communities. We get to hear Krysis—I eh sure if they told him to talk in that freshwater Yankee accent but at least they allowed him to speak.
We learn of the seductive allure of the message of atoning through jihad, which ISIL/Da’esh encourages young Trinis to bring back here—y’know, pretty much the same thing former Jamaat-al-Muslimeen member Hassan Anyabwile warned us about when he called from England into Rennie B’s discussion programme on 107.7 over two years ago.
Yuh see, is nothing some people in the know haven’t heard and said before. In fact, there are some people I want so bad to throw this in their incompetent faces and say “I f**ing told you so.”
But them is de experts, so who is me to do that?
Of course, I expecting the usual hand-wringing and pontification from those who vex with Al Jazeera—with some justification. They say they wanted to get to the root of the problem, I see they find and interviewed Imam Abu Bakr, mentioned his notorious claims to fame—infamy?—but there was still not enough examination of the push factors. I cyar remember any mention of the neo-liberal economic policies from Washington and the IMF that gave our plantation society and economy new life, destroying human lives in the process.
As such, most of them who end up in Syria come from very fragile family structures in communities that evolved out of old barrack yards established since the 19th century. Many were showing all the warning signs from very early ages that the dysfunctional schooling system we have didn’t deal with.
And while the crew found quite a few old shacks and makeshift mosques, there wasn’t a single no camera shot or mention of any rich house in Valsayn where de police did raid and find big time weapons… Oops, did I say that? Never mind.
We also—and this is rarely talked about—seem to have strong ideological currents of some kind for causes. As far back as 1935, we had Trinidadians who tried to enlist in the Ethiopian army to fight Italian invaders; we’ve had Trinis fighting in World Wars I and II, in Korea, in Viet Nam and in Kuwait. I feel there may also be Trinis in Syria now fighting AGAINST ISIL/Da’esh.
(Does the proposed legislation take that into account, Mr Griffith? What about the Trinis recruited by the US Armed Forces who end up taking part in these wars Washington and Wall Street start that created these radical groups in the first place?)
Anyway, moving right along… And so continues the cycle that started since the 19th century that we’ve never dealt with because it’s easier to deflect, pontificate—as I am sure some self-righteous callers will on i95.5FM and Power 102 and 91.1 in the coming days—live in denial and just write off them “black hen chicken” as a set of bandits and illiterates who only want freeness and handouts.
We didn’t deal with the social conditions that invisibilised and criminalised their communities—yes, since the 19th century—and we certainly not dealing with the rich businessmen who manipulating them and profiting off of their vulnerability.
Sherma—Lord, yuh go say I only on your case—this for me represents a good thing of sorts; this is where educators in, connected to and from the demographics you speak to need to start creating their own narratives, telling the stories of what life is like there from THAT perspective.
To France with who feathers get ruffled—Hal Greaves kinda started it with a most powerful interview on Power 102 a couple years ago that needs to be a permanent podcast.
Just Wednesday I was going through some old Tapia newspapers from 1973 and Lloyd Best and the other writers, as aloof and intellectual as they supposedly were, had their fingers firmly on the pulse as to what was going on in rural and depressed urban communities, the same ones that are today seen as hot spots. Many people didn’t listen to them then, so we starting to reap the whirlwind today.
But it’s not too late; however, the solutions will only come when those living that reality get to say and determine what is to be done about their reality.