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A Hope in Hell

YOU DON’T HAVE to be intelligent to stop believing in God, just open-minded. Once admitted as a possibility, the idea that there is no God takes root and blossoms, eventually, into the rejection of even well-intended superstitions.

What’s more, there being no God explains everything in a complete way that there being a God cannot. The non-believer does not have to agonize over why God would allow bad things to happen to good people; he can simply go to work to make the world even a slightly better place; give a thirsty child a glass of water instead of intoning novenas begging God to make it rain.

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​Holy Smoke & Mirrors

Part II of A Hope in Hell

FROM THE TIME we grasped that to be born meant having to also die, we’ve not been happy with the concept. William Saroyan, the great American short story writer (he is to O. Henry what backgammon is to ludo, or vintage calypso is to modern soca), said it best: “Everybody has to die but I always believed an exception would be made in my case”; if there were a God, surely She would give William Saroyan a break for that, precisely because it is literally deathly funny.

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​We Haven’t a Prayer

Part I of A Hope in Hell

THE WORLD IS going to Hell in Donald Trump’s hand-basket and our trouble isn’t that we haven’t a prayer, but that we have far too many of them. The great challenge we face, as a species, is not Islam, nor radical Islam, nor even radical fundamentalist jihadist Islamic terrorism; no, the great challenge we all face is religious belief itself. Faith taints everything. But I’ll come to that dead end by the scenic route, probably two Fridays from now. (Coming from Trinidad and being raised Catholic, the power of threes has always held me in its sway.)

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​Plight of the ISIS

OUR FIRST PRIME minister, the late ingrate, Dr Eric Williams, gave the “nation” three watchwords, “Discipline, Production, Tolerance” – but, since Independence, Trinidadians have honoured only one. From the ruling sector (who uphold all the pomp of office and none of its dignity) through the middle-class patriots (who scrabbled with Haitians for refugee status in Canada) to the working-class women brawling over fried chicken or bony men, as a nation, the only thing we have ever produced with discipline is empty melodrama Read more

(Con) Men of Letters

ANYTIME Trinidad threatens to out-Trinidad itself – like when the PNM spends its first year in government proving that it doesn’t grasp the concept and Tobago promptly resoundingly votes them back in – I cheer myself up by diving into my “mails-bag” for letters to the editor which never got printed in the newspapers.

A rudimentary recollection of the law of copyright forces me to confess I stole this idea from the National Lampoon, the American satirical magazine that, though very funny, had no choice but to fold, because satire has no place in a modern American reality that actually elected a joke for a president. (How the firetruck does anyone satirize that?) As always, I certify these letters are 100 per cent authentic because I made them up myself. It being “the season”, there are several Carnival-related ones; and the Donald certainly qualifies as “ole mas”.

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