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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.

In tolerance, though, Trinis excel: we’s put up with every-firetrucking-thing. We do not protest even matters of life & death; indeed, we find ways of dismissing any attempt at it: the “Death March” against crime was a “white people thing”; others were scorned as “PNM” or “UNC” – or even “COP” – things; and everything else was trade union agitation. Not even the empty-but-distracting vengeance of capital punishment could get a Trini to shift his carcass from his PS3 to the pavement outside Parliament. Trinis will come together en masse only if there is a plausible threat of a rise in the price of doubles; and, even then, will only take part in a show of dissent that doesn’t require effort or inconvenience: wearing a red T-shirt or flashing car headlights is Trini guerrilla warfare.

But see trouble now.

For the last five years, more and more misguided (or, if you prefer, and have rocks in your head, divinely-guided), ineducable young Trini men have found their way to Syria to commit murder & mayhem to the glory of Allah & His I-Sissies – and Trinis have not been bothered! Even when our local warrior-dunces rose to international terrorist stardom through, e.g., being named the “Jihadi of the Month” and splashed all over the Internet as a glossy full-colour pinup with a turban and an AK-47, Trinis would bat a rum before an eyelid; some may even have felt a vague nationalistic pride: look, that is one o’ we on the front cover of “Apostate Beheading Weekly”. Trinis have always saved their enthusiasm for the National Debate: Which Tastes Best, Cokes in Glass Bottle, Cokes in Tin Can or Cokes in PET Bottle? (Only the unsophisticated waste breath over Cokes in Styrofoam Cup from Machine, which Trini intellectuals agree has nailed down last place.)

Trinis even refused to adopt the only sensible position over I-Sissy volunteers who killed people for Allah in Syria: stripping them of the citizenship they disavowed by free adult choice. Of course, in T&T, religious freedom is both a constitutional and an inherent human right: Rastafarians are free to believe in the sanctity of the herb, Muslims are free to believe a man could be flown around the world in a single night on a winged horse (no matter how much that sounds like Santa Claus), and Catholics are free to believe that the consecrated host is miraculously transformed into the actual body and blood of Jesus Christ, intestines, fingernails and all (though, since Jesus was Jewish, perhaps a reduced amount of smegma). These beliefs have one thing in common: they are patently ridiculous; but that is another column and fatwa, and what matters is that Trinis have the right to believe whatever nonsense they do – but the fervency of their belief doesn’t make them right; or their actions legal.

A Trini who has flown halfway around the world to kill infidels should be heartily reassured of his right to believe in the glory of jihad and a reward of X amount of virgins – and should be politely but firmly refused entry as a terrorist, at best, and a likely war criminal.

There isn’t a grey area here: Trinidad & Tobago is not at war in Syria (though that doesn’t mean there isn’t hostility to Syrians at home, particularly in Queen Street). Trini I-Sissy “fighters” – really “murderers” – can perhaps justify their actions before their even-more-bizarre-than-normal-God, but they certainly should have their citizenship taken away. It should be clear that only one-way trips between T&T and ISIS are permissible.

But, apart from former National Security Minister Gary Griffiths, who, to his credit, called this shot early and constantly, the few Trinis who thought at all about our I-Sissy recruits were sympathetic to them: at least one local Muslim leader is advocating their reintegration into Trinidad; including, presumably, the jihadist who encouraged, from Syria, his Muslim brothers to wage war on Trini infidels.

But not even the chance of a Trini jihadi moving back into their street could make Trinis protest.

Up to this week.

See trouble now.

Last week, Donald Trump banned people from seven Middle-Eastern/North African countries from going to America and an MSNBC commentator – quite rightly – pointed out that Trump hadn’t banned people from Trinidad, which produced more I-Sissy fighters per capita than anywhere else outside Europe, the Middle East and Australia. (If you use the fighters per capita amongst the local Muslim population figure, the Trini jihadi numbers jump from 36 to 616, and Trinidad moves from 30th on the list to fifth!)

But, now, Trinis will speak up against our great country being labelled a terrorist haven. (Even if it is, in fact, one – and the 30th-at least and probably fifth-highest generator of I-Sissy fighters, to boot!) Trinis will take to the streets, or at least to Marli Street, to the US Embassy, the granter of “visays” to travel to America.

Trinis may not have surrounded the Red House to protect their democracy in 1990, the way Muscovites protected Boris Yeltsin in the Russian White House in 1993.

But you can bet your bottom dollar they will protest vehemently against anything that threatens their own hajj to the shopping malls of Miami.

BC Pires is pumping his fist in the air and singing rebel songs in a Wal-Mart car park

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