The Sheep That Roared!

The Star (St. Lucia) - - COMMENT - By Peter Josie

Iwish to com­ment on an ar­ti­cle by one Ni­cholas Joseph that fea­tured in the of Satur­day 22 Oc­to­ber 2016. I was taken aback by the words: ‘I think I know what Josie was at­tempt­ing to say but he did not ex­press it cor­rectly.' One does not say this even to chil­dren. Of course one is free to ex­press a dis­agree­ment but to in­ti­mate that you know what some­one has in his or her mind is be­yond the pale. It is a lit­tle much to try and en­ter a per­son's mind. But I guess peo­ple who cre­ate prophets, play­ing God, can do that and more.

Then there is the mat­ter of a Honda car num­ber PA1. I was a gov­ern­ment min­is­ter when my South Korean Pony mo­tor­car suf­fered a po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated fire; it was re­placed with a Honda. That Honda car was the first on the is­land to carry the al­pha­bet-se­ries ‘A.' The po­lice in­tro­duced the let­ter ‘A' and be­gan num­ber­ing ve­hi­cles from one again, af­ter the is­land had reached 9999 reg­is­tered ve­hi­cles.

Be­fore that new Honda, I saw that Ge­orge Od­lum was go­ing to wreck the St Lu­cia Labour Party. I would have none of it. Od­lum went berserk! It was he who ran to the Cas­tries mar­ket steps to in­form his ig­no­ra­muses, the few who still lis­tened to him, that PA1 stood for “po­lit­i­cal ass num­ber one.” Of course nei­ther he nor his acolytes both­ered to com­ment on PA2, PA3, PA4, and so on. The num­ber of ve­hi­cles grew and the let­ter “A” climbed to 9999—the num­ber of po­lit­i­cal asses on the is­land, by Od­lum's de­duc­tion.

Then there is the ques­tion of the words Joseph chooses to de­scribe Od­lum the Eng­lish Lit­er­a­ture mas­ter at St. Mary's Col­lege who nod­ded off in class more than any teacher should. From those early days through Bris­tol Univer­sity and the St. Lu­cia Arts Guild some of us saw Od­lum as a lit­er­ary gi­ant. Our own lim­ited knowl­edge of lit­er­a­ture al­lowed us to in­ter­pret Od­lum's po­lit­i­cal phrases and ac­tions as the­atre. Ni­cholas Joseph called him “the peo­ples' prophet.” Oth­ers may even choose to call him a god. It's a free coun­try af­ter all. I wouldn't be the least sur­prised if Joseph, and oth­ers who think like him, would some fine day form a dead prophets' so­ci­ety here in sweet Saint Lu­cia, their sole aim be­ing to erect a stone mon­u­ment of Ge­orge Od­lum, plac­ing it next to that of John Comp­ton in Con­sti­tu­tion Park. What a come down from the days of “Papa Jab!”

Od­lum's Crusader news­pa­per of the early 1970s would say to that come down: Eh bien, bon! Bal fi­nis veu­lon en sac. Si tout Ge­orge se Ge­orge, the dead prophets so­ci­ety could then re­serve a place for chief min­is­ters and Prime Min­is­ter Ge­orge Charles and John Ge­orge Melvin Comp­ton. When peo­ple ask why, mem­bers of the dead prophet's so­ci­ety can re­ply: the stone with the big belly was the peo­ples' prophet and he de­serves his place for try­ing to cre­ate his­tory, and for mak­ing blind apos­tles.

Per­haps an­other group rep­re­sent­ing fake and imag­i­nary rev­o­lu­tion­ar­ies who knew lit­tle about a Rat Is­land meet­ing in the early 1970s would re­mind them that Saint Lu­cia and Do­minica were to fol­low Gre­nada, but Saint Lu­cia's card­board sol­dier pan­icked. Come hell or high wa­ter that con­nec­tion between Rat Is­land of 1971 and ‘Let the peo­ple pro­tect their rev­o­lu­tion (1979)' will one day be told. These were not empty, thought­less words as poor Louisy ev­i­dently thought. This is­land was meant to copy Gre­nada in its blood­less revo/ coup. The les­son: A sheep in lion's cloth­ing is still a sheep, al­beit a sheep that roars!

Over and over we may hear some­one con­demn­ing Haiti. "The peo­ple in Haiti are too evil! They be­lieve in in­iq­uity! So God pun­ish­ing them for their sins..." It is true that God does not like spir­i­tu­al­is­tic prac­tices like obeah/voodoo, for such prac­tices are con­nected with the demons and Satan, God's en­e­mies. So we rightly con­demn those prac­tices, which are harm­ful. How­ever, is it fair to con­demn Haitians in gen­eral? Is there no de­cent Haitian at all? Come on. I per­son­ally know that there are godly, de­cent liv­ing Haitians who do not get in­volved in de­monic ac­tiv­i­ties. Yet, some of these suf­fer from nat­u­ral dis­as­ters. Is God pun­ish­ing them? Job was an out­stand­ingly right­eous man. Job 1:1. Yet Job suf­fered a lot at the hands of the Devil Job 1:12, 14 - 19; Job 2:7. Stephen was stoned to death. Acts 7:58 - 60. The apos­tle Paul faced many hard­ships too. 2 Corinthi­ans 11:23 - 27. Other ser­vants of God faced dif­fi­cul­ties too as shown at He­brews 11:35 - 37.

Are we to imag­ine that these godly per­sons were pun­ished by God? What about godly ones in Haiti who suf­fer; are they pun­ished by God? Job 34:10 and James 1:13 prove that God does not do what is wicked; he does not bring tri­als on peo­ple. God al­lows peo­ple, in­clud­ing his ser­vants, to go through tri­als but he does not cause them. Ec­cle­si­astes 9:11 says that "time and chance hap­peneth to them all." So peo­ple, be­ing at a cer­tain lo­ca­tion at a cer­tain time, may suf­fer due to some dis­as­ter strik­ing in that lo­ca­tion.

So it is with Haiti. Its lo­ca­tion makes it prone to dis­as­ters. If an­other coun­try was lo­cated where Haiti is, and Haiti was lo­cated south of St. Vin­cent, for ex­am­ple, then that coun­try in Haiti's cur­rent lo­ca­tion would have been hav­ing the hur­ri­canes, earth­quakes etc. and ex­pe­ri­enc­ing suf­fer­ing. Then Haiti would have avoided those dis­as­ters. Feel sorry for the poor of Haiti, the chil­dren eat­ing mud cakes etc. They have been made to suf­fer for years due to ex­ploita­tions of the past and present, bad gov­ern­ments and so on. Con­demn the prac­tice of obeah/voodoo but NOT the Haitians. Sym­pa­thize with, and pray to the Most High for them to cope, while we our­selves try to live God's way, avoid­ing a sel­f­righ­teous, judg­men­tal at­ti­tude to­ward Haitians. Psalm 65:2; Psalm 83:18; Ec­cle­si­astes 7:20, 22; Ec­cle­si­astes 12:13, 14.

Is there more to Haiti dis­as­ters than spir­i­tu­al­ity or bad luck?

Ni­cholas Joseph was one of Ge­orge Odium’s more ar­dent sup­port­ers. Did he also be­lieve the au­thor of this ar­ti­cle was a sheep in wolf at­tire—Ju­das in a wool coat?

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