Friday, June 4, 2010

Itching and bitching

Some of the Bitches

Sharief Khan: I SOMETIMES fear we are being overtaken by Lilliputians.

Now, I am a short man myself, not being among those six feet tall men, so no one can accuse me of dissing short people.
But I am not comfortable with those who may be related to the fictional little people (about six inches tall) Jonathan Swift wrote about in his 1726 novel, `Gulliver’s Travels’.
By little people, I mean those among us who seem to be so engrossed in bitching and itching about every little thing that they fail to see the bigger things unfolding every day around them.
Their itching and bitching consume them so much that their faces seem to be forever etched in frowns, worries, dismay and woe as they dwell on all that they find frustrating. And they seem to be spreading everywhere these days – with their writings in the newspapers and their spoutings on TV sets in our living rooms and on political platforms.
Life is not a bed of roses and anyone trying to find comfort among roses must be on the lookout for the thorns, or they will not find joy in the rows of roses. One should be very careful even about smelling a rose because a worm nestling inside could be a nasty shock.
But the worms and thorns should never be allowed to spoil the beauty of roses in full bloom and that’s where the problem of the little people is becoming thorny in this country.
Take the Sexual Offences Act which recently became law and which I strongly feel should have many men in this land looking very differently at women. That, however, will not stop me from appreciating the wondrous beauty of the women I daily see around me.
In the Sexual Offences Act, I see the bigger picture of society protecting women and children from the predators among us.
But men are also free to nod and smile appreciatively and pay homage to beautiful women wherever they are. And they abound in Guyana, trust me.
Despite the enormous sweep of the Sexual Offences Act and the differences it can make in this society, it is not making waves among the little itchers and bitchers who pontificate on other things. In their self-appointed role of public advocates, they are not taking time out to try to explain what the new act means and related issues.
They are, instead, preoccupied with other issues that rank higher in importance in their order of priorities.
I spent most of Wednesday at a workshop on what’s involved for Guyana to help protect the ozone layer and prevent climate change. Most of the other participants were from the local refrigeration and air conditioning industry because it’s the use of some dangerous chemicals in refrigeration and air conditioning gases that poses serious risks to life as we know it.
It’s a big issue, even in small Guyana, but will the little people ever see it as big?
I am yet to see the Guyanese Lilliputians explore what the revolving fund for low and middle income housing means to thousands of Guyanese building their own homes; or how the government’s micro credit loan scheme, which could reach about $3 billion, could impact on thousands of single parents, mainly mothers, earning a better livelihood.
What do they think about expanding no smoking zones around the country, or drunk driving?
In Jamaica, the government and security forces are trying to overcome a major threat to law and order from criminal elements and governments and security forces in Belize, Trinidad and Tobago and St. Lucia, among others, are also under serious threats from criminal forces.
Guyana, several years ago, thankfully rid the East Coast Demerara village of Buxton of the horrible criminal safe haven status it had acquired after crime gangs sought and found refuge there with the connivance of some political elements. One notorious gangster was even dubbed a `freedom fighter’.
Has anybody here heard anything from the little people here about what’s going on in Jamaica? Hello? The ongoing saga in Jamaica sometimes does not even make it into the newspapers here.
What about the continuing sorry tale of West Indies cricket? Are the little people in the chorus for a full-scale investigation into what has gone wrong?
Get my point? They are too busy scratching their itches and bitching about little things to bother about bigger, more meaningful matters.
I wish they will take time off to stop and smell the roses and not worry too much about the tiny worms that may also be seeking nectar.

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