DSH and Saint Lu­cian Pa­tri­o­tism

The Star (St. Lucia) - - COMMENT - By Dr Velon John

Saint Lu­cia needs to be saved. You, very in­no­cently, may ask: from what? The an­swer, sim­ply but not sim­plis­ti­cally, is: saved from it­self. Saint Lu­cia needs to save Saint Lu­cia; and you are Saint Lu­cia. Can the dis­tinct and spir­ited mi­nor­ity, where a resid­ual mod­icum of pa­tri­o­tism re­poses, save the day?

What has come to the fore in re­la­tion to the DSH project in Vieux Fort is that this coun­try is em­broiled in a cri­sis of pa­tri­o­tism. What is alarm­ing is that Saint Lu­cians are un­aware of, or obliv­i­ous to, this cri­sis. There is an ae­ti­o­log­i­cal nexus be­tween the ubiq­ui­tous dys­func­tion­al­i­ties in our so­ci­ety and the wan­ing of pa­tri­o­tism in all of its as­pects. Hence in the sty­gian en­vi­ron­ment of our du­bi­ous and vaunted en­light­en­ment we, with an en­raged fu­til­ity, seek so­lu­tions to the so­ci­etal dys­func­tion­al­i­ties that have sur­rounded and en­gulfed us. For ex­am­ple law and or­der; adult and ju­ve­nile delin­quency; pub­lic ser­vice un­pro­duc­tiv­ity, pub­lic and pri­vate ser­vice ve­nal­ity; ed­u­ca­tion lapse; en­vi­ron­men­tal vul­ner­a­bil­ity, so­cial in­salu­bri­ous­ness and so forth. All of th­ese, for their con­tain­ment or erad­i­ca­tion, must be pred­i­cated upon a tem­plate of love of coun­try. That is, pa­tri­o­tism.

In the plethora of dis­cus­sions in which we have been in­volved and pro­nounce­ments with which we have been bom­barded in re­la­tion to the DSH project, the word that has been con­spic­u­ous by its ab­sence is pa­tri­o­tism. This is symp­to­matic of the malaise that per­vades this so­ci­ety, with its sys­tem mem­bers be­mused by its seem­ing peren­ni­al­ity. And it is as a result of this char­ac­tero­log­i­cal deficit that we as a peo­ple are presently reap­ing the whirl­wind. There are reapers and there are the reaped: there are the ex­ploiters and the ex­ploited. Both on their lev­els man­i­fest the la­cuna in their in­di­vid­ual and col­lec­tive psy­che. The com­mon de­nom­i­na­tor is the ab­sence of pa­tri­o­tism.

DSH is a syn­drome that em­anates from this de­bil­i­tat­ing and dele­te­ri­ous ab­sence and ex­poses in its pu­trid nu­dity our ma­te­ri­al­ism, in­di­vid­u­al­ism, ve­nal­ity and hypocrisy. DSH is a timely rev­e­la­tion that is now forc­ing us as a peo­ple to grotesquely con­front this ex­is­ten­tial ques­tion: What hap­pens when pa­tri­o­tism dies? Pa­tri­o­tism is not an ab­strac­tion; it is a re­al­ity - a sub­lime re­al­ity. And so the other ques­tion that comes to mind is this: Are we los­ing Saint Lu­cia and in the process los­ing our­selves? It is in­deed para­dox­i­cal that the In­de­pen­dence mantra for 2017 is “I am Saint Lu­cia”. In the face of this self-lac­er­at­ing ex­per­i­ment and ex­pe­ri­ence in Vieux Fort, this mantra is anath­ema and in­con­gru­ous to what DSH

stands for; and is the rape of our in­de­pen­dence and the oblit­er­a­tion of our in­di­vid­ual, col­lec­tive and na­tional Iden­tity. And so the ques­tion to be asked of all Saint Lu­cians is this: Do you have eyes that see? Why do you think that Saint Lu­cia was tar­geted by DSH? Don’t you think those peo­ple had done their due dili­gence on a mul­ti­plic­ity of lev­els, in­clud­ing our char­ac­tero­log­i­cal pro­file and na­tional co­he­sive­ness? What they saw was a peo­ple vir­tu­ally de­void of pa­tri­o­tism that was fur­ther ex­ac­er­bated by a dis­tress­ing level of il­lit­er­acy and its con­comi­tance.They saw ubiq­ui­tous greed, de­bil­i­tat­ing ve­nal­ity, in­spis­sated ar­ro­gance, a lack­adaisi­cal mien and car­riage, and a per­verse poverty of spirit. They saw a coun­try ripe for con­quest: peo­ple to be colonised with the con­nivance of the peo­ple; and the ma­jor­ity of whom, in their alarm­ing cog­ni­tive in­no­cence, were obliv­i­ous to the cal­cu­lat­ing machi­na­tions of DSH and its agents at home and abroad.

Saint Lu­cia needs to be saved. You, very in­no­cently, may ask: from what? The an­swer, sim­ply but not sim­plis­ti­cally, is: saved from it­self. Saint Lu­cia needs to save Saint Lu­cia; and you are Saint Lu­cia. Can the dis­tinct and spir­ited mi­nor­ity, where a resid­ual mod­icum of pa­tri­o­tism re­poses, save the day?

The five-year old boy sit­ting on his plas­tic bench at nurs­ery school needs to be saved. This is where the sav­ing process has to begin. It is there that pa­tri­o­tism be­gins. And so its ab­sence at this stage is the gen­e­sis of the so­ci­etal prob­lems with which we have been af­flicted through­out the many stages and phases of our lives, up to DSH.

When we con­sider our many so­ci­etal ills, in their di­verse forms, pa­tri­o­tism must be the univer­sal tem­plate for their res­o­lu­tion. With­out it the Hobbean (1588-1679) drama-tragedy be­gins to un­fold as life be­comes nasty, brutish and short. Just look around you!

DSH ne­go­ti­a­tions: Is there any­thing to be learned about pa­tri­o­tism from Saint Lu­cia’s most harshly crit­i­cized de­vel­op­ment?

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