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Love in all the Wrong Places

" By addressing ourselves to issues and to troubles, and formulating them as problems of social science, we stand the best chance, I believe the only chance, to make reason democratically relevant to human affairs in a free society.Ē . "Consider marriage. Inside a marriage a man and a woman may experience personal troubles, but when the divorce rate during the first four years of marriage is 250 out of every 1,000 attempts, this is an indication of a structural issue having to do with the institutions of marriage and the family and other institutions that bear upon them" C. Wright Mills, (The Sociological Imagination, 1959, 194& p. 9).

Let me admit here and now that I was never this big fan of psychology especially due to its domination by the many new age ĎReality TVí loving professional gurus that tend to get their rocks off telling us regular non celebrity folks to find our inner child as it were, while we struggle sometimes on the brink of suicide, to deal with pressing and sometimes overwhelming social problems and issues that we are confronting on a daily basis. In addition, I tended to be one who put more credence in the view that our historical, and cultural milieu played a more significant role on how we cope with prevailing issues, than some innate quality we might possess from birth. Perhaps itís true that with age comes reason, for I am a bit more rational in my thinking today, as I recognized that us human beings are very complex individuals, and often irrational actions are not always easily explained by any one social theory. It should be noted for example that even twins that share common backgrounds have been known to display very different behaviors and habits. I therefore prefer to combine the richness of the various disciplines of history, sociology, anthropology and psychology in my efforts to garner a better understanding of issues, and in the process attempt to provide some semblance of a solution to it.

Pretend as we like to dismiss it as an aberration, but Trinidad and Tobago has been plagued by this problem of suicide and its relationship to love for quite some time. With increasing frequency in the past, but more so lately, the common crime statistics would often get the most eloquent and eminent local Social Scientist, Religious leaders, Political figures and Media Analysts almost hysterical and disjointed as they attempted to decipher and find some meaningful solution to some of our social problems, but the taboo subject of suicide, especially where a hint of some links to love, will hardly receive much attention. Can anyone with even a limited primary school level education on this board dare attempt to figure out why?

Now what you might ask would get me into such frenzy as it were over this taboo subject when our intellectually lazy or perhaps simply uncaring more informed, saw no need to address it with any seriousness? Iíll tell you why. I started thinking a bit about it some time ago when the interracial young romantic UWI student couple that embarked on that fateful hike conveniently drowned out of the entire lot of kids that went on the trip, while the rest of the entire class came out alive. I however thought Iíll put this my seemingly devious mind at rest as the hard pressed local law enforcement authorities attempted to find closure to the matter, but watched in consternation as the focus of blame shifted to the unfortunate teachers, and eventually the government, as is usually the norm throughout the country.

It was however three current stories I saw in our dailies that again caught my attention and made me recognize the need to once more draw some attention to the these neglected issues. The first was a Dear Donna Guardian column where she was responding to an 18 year old Muslim young lady that claimed to be having problems in a two year relationship she had with a Hindu boyfriend because of repeated interference of her parents that felt that their opposing religions made them highly incompatible as future partners in Trinidad and Tobago during this 21century era. The relationship was on the verge of being destroyed because of frustrations on the part of both individuals- and one could just imagine what can be the eventual result if the couples lacked the strength and maturity to deal with such trauma Ė as it can often appear to some. After all, the overwhelming statistics on adults post romantic suicides in particular sectors of the society are well known, and one can easily contemplate the hidden and unknown figures- due to false reporting- for the more fragile young I thought.

The second major story was found in the Express and featured a cry for help by Ms. Diana Mahabir- Wyatt, Chairman of the T&T Coalition against domestic violence with special emphasis on battered, abandoned ,and abused children. She lamented the fact that the government was not doing enough to fully support the organizationís efforts . She further indicated that our police were overwhelmed due to limited resources , orphanages were full to capacity and are overflowing, as well as our many church leaders were getting distracted from the real businesses that God apparently placed them on earth to perform. These were it seemed to only convert souls to Christ ,interact with political and business bigwig figures , strive to be future political icons or Board Chairmen on local successful business entities, while in the process of getting their respective mugs in the pages of the media as they attempted to pen some suspect editorialized , highly moralistic column to help preserve their spiritual largesse . That last paragraph was my own doing, and not that of the respected Chairman I should add, as she is too decent a lady to even think, much less utter such comments.

The final matter involved an attempted suicide by a 25 year old father and jilted lover, Mr. Jashua Mahabir. It was previously believed that the Penal resident was dead as a result of his attempted suicide via Gramaxone poisoning, but it was later revealed that such conclusions by San Fernando Medical authorities where in actuality premature- much to the delight I am positive of his infant son -if not the case necessarily of his loving wife.

Love related Suicides, child, and female abuses, are no longer petty problems that are affecting small, borderline primitive communities of our country anymore, it is good to recognize. They are in the words of one of my favorite Social Scientist C.W. Mills, major social issues that requires immediate analysis and actions as it affects the entire nation. The murder of young Hope sometime ago placed a heavy stain on the image of the country in terms of parental neglect, obvious long-term sexual abuse and other unresolved interracial and ethnic social constraints, and poverty. The untimely murder or alleged suicide of the killer of the 9 year old Hope ,impacted negatively on the nation in terms of justice and security for all citizens. It also prevented the attention to remain focus on the issue devoid of early emotions ,had her alleged murderer got the chance for a fair, open trial before his peers.

The outcry by Ms. Diana Mahabir for help to her organization, as well as the attempted suicide by Mr. Jashua Mahabir , and the pleas by the 18 year old lovelorn Muslim young lady to be with her Hindu boyfriend , points clearly to a much wider social issue of female oppression and psychological abuse. Why should a young lady, wife or neglected and abused female be cajoled into remaining in some terrible arrangement and thereby the suppression of her own dignity and self worth because of some opaque cultural familial convention? If wealthy, educated and more fortunate elites women are never encouraged to undergo such burdens then why one might enquire, should the weak, poor and neglected at the lower strata of the society- especially if itís under some arcane guise that tethers on breaches of fundamental Human Rights abuses that we as a country publicly denounced at the highly visible international levels?

In much the same way that our Prison official's neglect helped tarnish our security and Human Rights image to the global community, because of their failure to protect young Hopeís murderer while he was in their custody, so did our local Health officials look like 15th Century medical novices and incompetents when they could not truly determine if a man that recently attempted suicide was indeed dead or not. What are regular citizens to think about the Doctors final pronouncement involving the possible demise of loved ones under normal circumstances? This does not do much for confidence to regular folks unable to jump on a private Jet to Miami, London or Cuba whenever they are in need of a medical check up for a palpitating heart, does it?

It is my hope that our numerous social scientists, and public leaders of all spheres would soon see the need to quickly show some interest in these and similar issues that has moved beyond personal problems. Knee jerk reactions to please narrow naÔve political bases by our various politicians produces very little for our present and future generations. Too many innocent and fragile lives are continually lost because they are unwilling to succumb to unreasonable pressures by parents clearly out of step to 21st century realities Ė especially when it come to the fundamental matters of love and relationships. Hopefully soon we can have a government that can be challenged by a more focused media, serious Opposition Politicians, and For Profit business leaders, as well as caring members of Civil Society , to do what is prudent for the interest of all nationals again, irrespective of social or economic class. The practices of regional and global pandering are the types of unwelcome political behavioral habits that progressive nations that care about sustainable development can ill afford. It becomes even humiliating and yes disgusting, when the country in question possesses the financial means to do better for its citizens. One certainly would not want to believe that this repugnant attitude is allowed to fester due to some subtle complicity among national elites that are blatantly refusing to show real love in all the right places ,for all its various citizens. Once more, I am always subject to correction by the better informed, since I fervently adhere to the view that Trinidad is nice and might still be a paradise.

Trinidad and Tobago News

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