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​Pride in July 27th

IT WAS 28 years ago today, Abu Bakr taught the bandits to play, as the Beatles might have sung, if they’d come from Laventille and not Liverpool; and the song would not have been “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” but “Abu Bakr’s Lonely Boys Gun Banditry”.

Yes, 28 years ago today, measured both by calendar date and from Friday-to-Friday, after their midday prayers, 115 men apparently divinely-guided men left the Jamaat-al-Muslimeen compound at 1 Mucurapo Road – both literally and figuratively the opposite end of the road from today’s One Woodbrook Place – to begin their violent, six-day, bloody attempt to establish, by force of arms (if only WWII rifles), the Western hemisphere’s first Islamic state.

If it seems like a mouthful now, they certainly bit off more than they could chew, then.

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Unholy Trifecta

FOR YEARS, I’ve been watching two thoroughbreds in the race for modern life’s greatest irony but, before I could pronounce between – 1. the descendants of slaves advocating the whip; and 2. Muslim women praising their veil – a third frontrunner came along which threatens to pip them both at the post: the dark horse of Trinidadian “intellectuals” supporting Donald Trump.

In Barbados, media houses have been too broke to commission public opinion surveys on any subject for years but, by what passes for my memory, in the last one, in about 2010, a solid 94 per cent of Bajans strenuously supported the whipping of children in schools. Many newspaper columnists were relieved by the correction of the moral decay that had been reflected in a poll the year before, in which support for beating small children had plummeted to an all-time low of 86 per cent: whip the children into shape and you’ll have no problem with the adults; it has worked astonishingly well in Barbados for 400 years.

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It is what it isn’t

Picture courtesy Independent UKTHE MOST awe-inspiring thing about the rescue of the Thai football team is not the sheer unlikeliness of it, nor the triumph of international cooperation between diligent, selfless, scientific experts, nor even our own irrepressible humanity that always searches for a better way of living together.

No, the most mind-blowing aspect of a dozen small children being brought out of the grave six miles underground by dint of the efforts of a handful of heroes is that the vast majority of people in Trinidad, perhaps the world, will look at the clearest imaginable evidence that there could not be a caring, omnipotent God capable of intervention in our affairs – and see it as proof of its exact opposite!

On the morning the last of the boys and their coach were brought out, I woke to a WhatsApp from my wife: “They’re all out safely, praise the rescuers!” What a wonderful thing to say! For it was the rescuers, not God, who brought those boys and their coach back from either certain death or a life made so miserable by prolonged suffering as to make death seem an improvement.

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​Lost at SEA

YOU CAN’T blame the local media for fussing over the little boy and girl who came first and second in the Secondary Entrance Assessment exam, but I’m far more interested in the 30 per cent who couldn’t muster the same score – 30 firetrucking per cent!

Assuming, fairly safely, that this 30 per cent who can’t score even 30 per cent is a yearly figure, our primary school system has produced, according to my own pitiful arithmetic, 47,500 near-illiterates since the year 2000.

There aren’t that many cars to wash.

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