No peace and goodwill here

By Raffique Shah
December 16, 2012

Raffique ShahTHERE was a time, maybe I should write “once upon a time” since this may sound so much like a fairy-tale, when nations at war suspended hostilities on Christmas Day, such was the pervasiveness of peace and goodwill associated with the birth of the Christ child.

The most memorable such occasion was on the night of Christmas Eve 1914, during the First World War, along the Western Front.

German and British forces faced each other in the fields of Flanders, entrenched, quite literally, a few hundred metres apart.

Up until that magical moment, for three months the enemies had savaged each other with machine guns, mortars, rifles, even bayonets. Thousands had died and many more wounded, some scarred or disabled for life. Mortal enemies they were, without doubt. Yet, in that still of that cold night, German soldiers, moved by some unseen spirit, shouted from their trenches to their British foes, “Merry Christmas!” With commanders on both sides in shock, not to add suspicious, the Germans then belted out “Silent Night”. British soldiers responded with a lusty “First Noel”. Before either side understood what was happening, soldiers laid down their weapons, jumped out of their trenches and rushed to embrace each other. They exchanged greetings, shared food and drinks and even posed for pictures. Not a shot was fired that night in that sector of the Front.

I recall this story that I first heard during a military history lecture at Sandhurst as I note with sadness the bitter political warfare raging in Trinidad and Tobago, non-stop, without regard for season or reason. I should add that in many other armed conflicts across the world, even the interminable Arab-Israeli war, Christmas and other sacred days have seen short truces observed by the combatants. Even Zionists and Jihadists take time out from the savagery of war.

Which leaves me wondering what political war is being waged in this country, so bitter that warrants a savagery of words spewed from platforms and online continuously? In all my years, I do not recall another period during which one party or other, and certainly not the ruling party, found it necessary to fulminate against enemies, more imagined than real, every day. The UNC fundamentalists in the People’s Partnership Government seem not to understand that the coalition won elections more than thirty months ago, and that the people expect them to govern the country, not cuss and carry on with rum shop-like behaviour.

You would think that having captured government, the coalition would seek to strengthen its internal bonds and broaden its external appeal. In other words, it would consolidate its grip on power and reach out to win the hearts, minds and votes of those who may not have supported it in the last elections. After war, sometimes during war (as I noted earlier), comes peace.

That has not happened with this lot, and here I underscore that I refer to the dominant and vociferous UNC elements, not the COP members. For them, there can be no peace on earth, far less goodwill to man. It’s war-never-ending conflict in which you must have identifiable enemies even if you have to manufacture them. A few weeks ago, when I referred to the rabble-rousing nature of the UNC’s Monday night forums and likened them to the modus operandi of the Nazi party in Germany in the early 1930s, many readers felt I was unduly harsh. I insist I was not.

Adollf Hitler and his aides always needed enemies for their zealots to savage: the Jews, the communists, trade unionists, the Social Democrats, and eventually, when they started running out of foes, they turned on their own. Look at the trend here. First, they targeted the PNM, specifically Keith Rowley. When he took leadership of a battered PNM, Rowley and his party looked very unattractive. But because the UNC fingered him at every turn, blamed him for everything that went wrong under their watch, Rowley started to look good. Today he is a leader with some stature-thanks to the UNC.

Next, they went after PNMites: everyone who stood in their way, who stood up for what they believed was right, was deemed “ah PNM”. Many of those who were crushed in that frontal assault on perceived enemies had been People’s Partnership’s supporters until they were fired from positions they held based on service or merit, or had some contractual or other arrangements unjustly terminated. The tears of many families who are victims of this ongoing witch-hunt are falling on the UNC.

Trade unionists who, before 2010, stood up staunchly against the excesses of Patrick Manning, and who were embraced by the People’s Partnership in the euphoria of elections, found themselves branded “enemies” and “PNM” the moment they disagreed with the People’s Partnership in government. Friend Wayne Kublalsingh is now foe number one. As the fundamentalists run out of “enemies”, they are turning inward, devouring their own. Why else would the Prime Minister say publicly that some of her ministers wanted her to capitulate in the Kublalsingh affair? I thought what transpired at Cabinet level, especially differences of opinion, stayed within its confines.

Look, we all know (or ought to know) the biblical dictum about there being a time and season for everything, a time for war and a time for peace. In this season of peace, the fundamentalists, worse than the Jihadists, promote war, divisiveness, hatred. Only sick minds could continue with such boorish behaviour as the world around them smile, extend hands of friendship, pray for peace.

Behind the war paint and blood-curdling cries of battle lies a cult under siege. Their cacophony signals the spasms of death, not the signs of life. Soon they will depart, taking their area of darkness with them.

12 Responses to “No peace and goodwill here”


  • The Opposition is no different, but Shah lacks the will or courage to openly express those views, being a PNM apologist.
    There is no doubt that certain members of he UNC are being triumphalists, not realizing the volatile nature of the voters.They are being short-sighted and express no desire to strike a balance for the good of the nation.
    Rowley, on the other hand, is showing his opportunistic traits as he pursues the votes of the populace. Is he genuine in his advances toward UNC voters? Shah seems to think so, but then again Shaw is a closeted PNM supporter who laks the courage to openly critize them.When certain journalists smell blood, they line up on the winning side.

  • Shah’s article lacks any kind of dept. It is based on perception rather than reality. Shah being formally in the trade union movement would have known that the working class cease to exist in present day Trinidad. What we have today is the “money class” people who exist to protest, cajol and demand from the government more money but meanwhile producing little or nothing to show. Trade union leaders today suffer from daily constipation everytime the PP declares a new gas find. Their eyes twitch, hands itch and mouth salivate even more. They are poise to make all kinds of “wajang” demands.

    The government is under siege from the illiterates in the nation that forms the backbone of the PNM mafia led by Dr. Rowley. He has manage to bring the trade union movement who would lend support to the PNM around election time (no need to do so now). Political marriages are merely for convenience.

    The demise of the PNM will continue and any hopes of winning anything beyond south of the Caroni is a distant dream. It would be amazing if in a short 2 years when election is called if the PNM could possibly keep number 12 in parliament. There are no Pandays to keep them in power. Despite Shah convictions that the end is near, I think end of the PNM is nearer. Even rebranding Rowley would not help. Why? Because their caricom voters that flood the nation during election time and collect national pension via fake address is slowly dying off…Nuff said.

  • As Soldier, I have to respond to my fellow Soldier and Officer Shah’s opening paragraph; about the Fields of Flander.
    When the Brithish and German soldiers after three months of battle between each other…starting singing carols to each other from their trenches and came out and ended up embraching each other etc.
    I must say this was very touching moment for me!
    Its became so real, maybe its because I am soldier and could well imagine how it must have been to those warriors at that time. I thank Shah for bring this to life for me!
    I guess I did read some of the responses of the people who responded but being away from Trini for such along period of time I have to admit I am not in any position to respond.
    I can only say when we look at the world today with the multiple degrees of unrest and unjustified actions to cilivians,countries, armies, political parties all differenties entities fighting each other because ot policies of different leaders and if we go back to the fields of Flanders where soldiers decide to sing carols to each other and created a night of peace in the middle of war; we can see where its only we who can change the world through our actions towards each other…forget the excuses for going against one another, just realize we all have different ideals; then make the necessary adjustments to accept each other’s differences and show love…
    Maybe, as Shah says lets have peace in this Season of Peace…

  • Just learnt that Max has join Panday, Ramesh, the PNM, the trade union movement and Rowley in demanding answers to section 34. I also understand that Max signature is there giving accent to the law and the PNM also supported the law in Parliament. Bah humbug I think Trinis are thinking that Max had a few and in a deleterious moment decide to act against the P.M. in a public way. Rowley is hoping to go to the United Nations next on section 34. Maybe he could convince Ban ke Moon to revoke TnT UN status… Maybe it will be his only election issue next election.
    Note to Keith, Kamla is not Panday and you will have to come real good next election.

  • “Note to Keith, Kamla is not Panday and you will have to come real good next election.” What are you in that morally twisted mind of yours , implying Momoo, sorry, Mammoo? Is it that she is better at playing ‘de rum and kaskadoo politics,’ better than him?
    You would be very surprise to know how much of this seemingly idiotic electorate -that you and other ingrates frequently lambast , once they’ve served their purpose – are finally coming to what seems like de correct conclusion,that Her Majestick , Queen K , is no different than her ‘dis is our time now , mentor/ protege ,’in de infamous, not too closeted white color criminal Basdeo Panday, aka Nehru incarnated, who still suffers from delusional, that one day his equally drunk daughter Mikila , can lead de UNC to victory, as the second PM in this T&T. Tell dem it ain’t happening, as such follies are limited to ‘you alls motherland.’
    Just remember Mamboo, that you arrogant ,socially immoral cretins , would have no one to blame when you are stuck in the political wilderness ,for another 15 years.
    Your much adored Brits , have an old saying that ‘ me think,’ our present politically abused/ disrespected President is catching on to, which states :- ‘Fool me once , shame on you , twice then shame on……,’….. well , even you, a simi literate ,Trini Center blogging addict ,can fill in the blanks, hmmmmm?
    I luv dis land, and so should you my friend! Just maybe we can survive this socio – economic- com political onslaught , as administered by her Majestick’s government, and her handlers, who continue to mislead the good lady.

    • Stay in Laventille Neal, just a matter of time before you become a statistic. The PNM built Laventille by flooding islanders in via boat and plane. Today, the results are there for all to see. A failed experiment.

      “A few weeks ago, when I referred to the rabble-rousing nature of the UNC’s Monday night forums and likened them to the modus operandi of the Nazi party in Germany in the early 1930s, many readers felt I was unduly harsh. I insist I was not.” This is the type of myoptic PNM style thinking that has created Laventille, anything that is not PNM is Nazi. The PP labelled a fascist but it is the way PNMite think and the writer of this article knows that…he feeds into their subliminal fears. Their tribalist nature lends itself to such fears. To dominate people you play on their fears.

      As long as people think like you Neal they can be controlled and that is a fact….

  • Rowley wants to take the PM to court over section 34. I wrote before that his next step is to go to Ban ke Moon to have TnT status in the U.N. revoked. The sad thing about this is that section 34 was a PNM idea, they were in full support, even the president supported section 34.

    The main reason Rowley is behaving this way is simply because there is a host of lawsuits coming his way that would bankrupt the PNM. Even all the money in cayman and Swiss accounts will not help. I expect more PNM mafia arrangements with the Trade Union movement in the form of protests. Roget & Abdullah will protest for anything, they like walking up and down the streets making noise and shouting seditious intent. Rough times ahead….I expect Shah and the prostitute media to support anything that is anti governance.

  • I have an assignment for you Mamboo, and here it is:-research the word ‘power elite.’It is sadly a reality ,that has affected not only our society ,but most across the Global South.
    Therein, a very small minority have enjoyed the spoils of their country while the restvofbde deeperate masses ,remain in ignorance,squalor, and socio economic turmoil,
    The difference between us both, is that I recognized a long time ago, that de greedy ,selfish ,Afro Trini elites, are just as destructive to their own people, as those equally self serving ,corrupt ,immoral ,social cretins, that represents your Indo Trini tribe.
    Here you are , unfortunately stuck in 12 century party politics mode ,of PNM dis , and UNC dat, because your sub developed, simi-literate brain ,cannot grasp the notion ,that it makes no difference as to who rules the political roost. Your country T&T,will remain a backward, laughing stock ,from Caroni, to Lavantille, Carapichima’ to Aranguez, Tacarigua, to Los Bajos,Toco,movant Roxborough and counting.
    I wish you well my friend. As for me , let me make de record straight, I have no allegence to any political figure,in this country- dead or alive. I luv this land , and trust me, would make my own impact on it’s long delayed sustainable development, irrespective of which one of the Trinintribes is at the helm.

  • An Aryan clone accusing a black man of being a Nazi. There can be no more poignant example of Freudian displacement defense mechanisms.

    Keep your cultural predispostions if you please. Like the PPP in Guyana, the people of T&T have discovered that the politics of “awee pon tap” is solidifed in the psyche of these indianists. But time a come.

  • Could not put it any better Keith. Let me add, that it takes a mature person, and I dare say , civilize people as a whole , to do some reflection , and admit that -for what ever reasons- there are some behavioral characteristics ,that might be specific to their race, that are unwholesome , which should be denounced, and not replicated.
    Likewise , there are some noble things about their people ,that are worth emulating. Let’s keep plodding away,for just maybe ,there is some hope ,that one day we might convince the likes of de Mamoos , and TMan of the world , that their tribe is also responsible for the despicable state of our resource ladened ,under achieving country , and it would take all of us , to elevate it to where it deserve to be .
    If these jokers wish , I can present the facts for their edification, of those countries from across the globe ,who failed to recognize the value of respect for the other, the need to quit finger pointing, looking over their shoulders like Lot’s wife at past follies/socio political foibles, while simultaneously dabbling in what I love to describe as ,’selfish ,dog with a bone , neo tribal , divide and rule politics.’
    How to fashion a Progressive Patriot , is what I wish to know ,my friend? That’s de challenge.
    Ahhhhhhhhh,well…… ,enough of dis doom and gloom chatter, as it’s de season to be jolly! Best wishes all!

    • “there are some behavioral characteristics ,that might be specific to their race, that are unwholesome , which should be denounced, and not replicated”.(NEAL)

      Let’s not enter the quicksand of “unwholesome” racial characteristics my friend. At least, I am prepared to throw you a rope!

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