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Re: After One Time
Posted: Monday, January 17, 2005

After One Time by Raoul Pantin
January 02, 2005 - Trinidad Express

By Leslie

It seems that some people just don't get it, and Raoul Pantin does not get it either. The above article is filled with unconnected ramblings that serve only to occupy space. Mr. Pantin, now a statistician has offered that, "The average age these days of your thief/ murderer/ rapist is around 15." I wish that he would validate this with empirical statistical data. He further goes on to state that these, "little boys…don't yet have a clue what living or life is all about," and that they recklessly take away, "other people's lives, brutally and cold-bloodedly…" There may be some truth to his proclamation but does he know what living or life is about? Does he, in some way or the other contribute towards the current state of affairs? Is he guiltless? Surely, he has benefited from capitalism in some way or the other. He's male, light-skinned and bears a prestigious surname. I cannot say for certain that he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, but I am almost certain that he was afforded more opportunities than the poor, black-skinned, probably nameless person in Trinidad. I am certain that he was favoured for whatever position because of his physical appearance. The black-skinned sister next to him had to take a back seat because she didn't fit the physical criteria. And to beat the system, she had to steal from the rich, kill another in order to maintain her own life and succumb to rape to fulfill the morbid desire of another male. Thus, Mr. Pantin, in some way or the other, has contributed to the state of society. Blame should not only be attributed to the young thief or murderer.

He foolishly goes on to state that, "The average hard-working, law-abiding citizen dares not to show his or her face outside their living room doors, behind which wrought iron burglar proofing we cower morning, noon and night." This is not the reality Mr. Pantin and you know it. Let us face the facts; you cannot determine that someone is hard working because of his/her material successes. You also should not make the assumption that they are law-abiding. Even if they are, the law, taking into account the Marxist jurisprudential view, works to benefit the upper classes and maintain capitalism. This does not make the law ‘right'. People who maintain the unscrupulous capitalist system deserve to be behind bars…even in their own homes. Why? Because capitalism keeps poor, black and more specifically black-skinned people in a state of perennial suffering.

What further amazed me was Mr. Pantin's description of Trinidad as a former 'paradise'. I hope that he was referring to the period before Columbus arrived on the island and not the post-slavery period which many of our Caribbean writers seem to glorify. Apparently, our country was only recently plagued with murders, rapes and kidnappings. He conveniently forgot that our history is riddled with the above since the white man arrived on these shores. I would suggest that Mr. Pantin review his history so that a more accurate analysis could be put forward.

The tone of the article changed when he stated that all should be recipients of at least one solid meal a day because of the country's vast wealth. The solution… "a genuine unemployment relief programme—like a dole…" He could not be serious! How about ensuring that those on the bottom are given the same opportunities as those on the top? How about those who are granted unfair privileges use such benefits to help those who need it most?

Mr. Pantin goes on further to question whether it is a democracy when people vote along racial lines or vote for a particular party because they provide them with "a little easy money." How dare he? For one, people are free to vote for whatever party for whatever reason…even though the reasons may seem nonsensical. Secondly, if the only way to ensure that your bread is buttered means voting for a particular party, then so be it. The system does not allow for many other alternatives.

The circumstances surrounding the French Revolution are many. Yes, the most fundamental reason pertained to basic bread (literally) and butter issues, but many of the French poor still endorsed the monarchical system and simply wanted to reverse roles or benefit from such a system. There were no notable calls for an egalitarian society. The same can be said of today... many complain that there is disequilibrium in society but they simply want to experience the wealth that they were denied. In fact, if some are ‘fortunate' to become wealthy, they would serve to maintain the status quo and poverty would persist. Thus, the French revolution could never be a noteworthy example as it was not successful in ending inequalities in that society.

In closing I would suggest that Mr. Pantin looks at himself and see how and in what ways he contributes to such blatant inequalities. It seems as though he sees himself as a victim and not being partly responsible for the state of things. Instead he rambles senselessly as if he is an authority on such issues. Please, Mr. Pantin, use your column in the Express to bring critical thought to the fore instead of wasting space for irrational cries.

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