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Dear Editor: The lessons of Easter—redemption and renewal in a pandemic

“[…] The Easter message says ‘Yes we Can!’ There can be redemption and renewal! We can find our way out of the pandemic, though it will take time and patience. 

“The more troubling problem is not the medical challenge of keeping people safe and alive; it is how do we ensure that the majority of citizens can live a decent life—that they have food on the table; a job or business that can sustain themselves and their families; that they are not put out on the streets because they can’t pay the rent or mortgage; that we do not create another lost generation of children because they did not have access to online classes or whose parents were unable to assist/supervise them…”

Image: The Covid-19 pandemic has forced schools to switch almost entirely to online learning.

The following letter to the editor on ‘The Lessons of Easter’ was submitted  to Wired868 by David Abdulah, the political leader of the Movement for Social Justice (MSJ):

On behalf of the Movement for Social Justice (MSJ) I wish the Christian community a very Holy Easter and to all of Trinidad and Tobago our wish is for you is to have a peaceful and happy holiday.

Easter is of course the most important event on the Christian calendar as it speaks to the very essence of the Christian faith—that Jesus Christ died on the cross and on the third day He rose from the dead. The significance of this is that Jesus’ death represents the sacrifices that God’s Son made for humanity; while the resurrection points us to new life.

One of the great poets of Trinidad and Tobago, Abdul Malik, wrote in ‘Proclamation’—the poem that he created to commemorate Emancipation Day—these piercing words:

Photo: The painting ‘Christ Before Caiaphas’ was done by Italian painter Duccio di Buoninsegna before Michelango’s ‘Italianised’ version of Jesus.

“Is it too late

Too late

Can we disperse the gathering

Halt the oncoming

Cancel chaos

Undo ourselves

Is it too late

Too late

Can we transcend our times

Quiet our worst fears

Cease to be

Our own worst enemies”

Photo: A scene from the movie, 12 Years a Slave.

These are vitally important questions as we confront our reality today. We have a global pandemic that continues unabated even as the best scientists fight it with vaccines and other measures.

The economy is in deep trouble and like the massive container ship that recently blocked the Suez Canal, it seems like we’re stuck in the mud, unable to move forward as the Roadmap for Recovery lies abandoned.

Our multi-dimensional social crisis has become so entrenched that two children in the care of the Children’s Authority escaped that institution and within days become victims of murder by gunmen unknown; yet there is little or no public outcry—after all, it’s only the lives of two little boys from poor families who got into some trouble, not the life of a ‘nice’ girl who was well educated.

And our politics—at least the politics practised by the parties that hold elected positions, be they in government or opposition—keep us trapped as they offer no vision but instead seek to control power in order to further the interests of the few.

Photo: Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley (left) shows off a gift from Fifa president Gianni Infantino, during a courtesy call by the Swiss-Italian.

So, the Poet asks –

“Can we recycle our dreams

Can we recast the mold

Can we transform

Our oncoming day…

Can we redeem ourselves…

Can we discard our doubts

Can we recover our faith”

Photo: Jesus Christ is risen.

The Easter message says ‘Yes we Can!’ There can be redemption and renewal! We can find our way out of the pandemic, though it will take time and patience. 

The more troubling problem is not the medical challenge of keeping people safe and alive; it is how do we ensure that the majority of citizens can live a decent life—that they have food on the table; a job or business that can sustain themselves and their families; that they are not put out on the streets because they can’t pay the rent or mortgage; that we do not create another lost generation of children because they did not have access to online classes or whose parents were unable to assist/supervise them.

This too can be solved if we only have the vision and will to ‘recast the mold’ in the interests of the many, not the few ‘controllers’.

We can chart a way forward out of our economic crisis and tackle our deepening social problems and get out of the political trap into which we have fallen. Again, the Poet points the direction, he says we must ‘discover Honour In ourselves’ and

Photo: The novel coronavirus.

“Delve deeper

Forge the common will

Delve deeper

Dispel the common gloom

Delve deeper

Attain the answers

Delve deeper

Deliver final judgment

Delve deeper

Emancipate a nation”

Image: Dealing with Covid-19.
(via Yahoo)

‘Redemption and Renewal’ are in our hands. That is the Easter message. To fulfil that reality we must indeed ‘delve deeper’ as the ‘emancipation of a nation’ can only begin when there is a ‘revolution of the mind’, when we ‘emancipate ourselves from mental slavery’.

Let us seize the opportunity of the crisis. If we don’t, then it may very well be ‘too late, too late’.

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