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posted 8 Mar 2017, 17:51 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 8 Mar 2017, 17:53 ]

Oh, oh… there’s that word again. But at least I have your attention. And yes I found Chalkdust’s calypso to be very offensive. And in our context it represents a racial attack. This whether or not it was so intended. It takes what is in reality a complex issue that of so-called child marriage (that many delight in treating simplistically) and narrowing it down to an attack on one leader of a prominent Hindu organization and the prospect of old Hindu men having sex with children. No mention of the Muslims, or the power of the State and the self-determination of communities or even (as I am informed) that the very initiative for this legislation arose from another Hindu organization under the UNC’s watch.

“Child marriage”… it’s all about dem heathen Indians.

And the goodly calypsonian is now the champion of the Indian woman. Where was he I wonder some years ago when one of his calypso colleagues sang about holding them down, roughing them up and producing midget douglahs? There’s a word for that it starts with “r”.

And of course this is exactly what Sat wants. He’s been playing the game for years, raising controversy inviting attack upon himself so that he could portray himself as the Hindu champion. Haven’t the geniuses figured this out yet? I am pretty sure he enjoyed seeing himself portrayed in the Dimanche Gras. But I suppose the calypsonians also got what they want. And is we to ketch.

Sex! That word again. And I think the Opposition is correct (in all likelihood accidentally), there is a very very large difference between agreeing in principle with a fixed age of consent and going around criminalizing by legislative fiat. The good old State apparatus, par for the course in the colonies I fear.

The thing is in our society “child marriage” is almost a cultural vestige of a bygone age. It accounts for less than one percent of marriages and Indians have been in the forefront of seeking to get their children an “education” which involves the deferral of marriage.

Underage sex on the other hand is rampant and this not only with that race and class of people that the rest of society loves to look down and spit upon and really does not care about (no matter who is in Government). So we happily pass laws to give the police more reason to beat and shoot them.

I did use the word “almost”. Because there is upon reflection more in the mortar than the pestle and as I heard an Opposition member of parliament on the radio, the penny dropped.

This is not about Opposition obstructionism or an obsolete religious and cultural tradition. And it’s not about big fat old men getting their decrepit hands on young girls. No need for Holy Matrimony here, money and power work nicely.

No, there is a genuine note of fear and then we remember the society we are living in. Certain things do not happen; so good decent respectable men of high complexion who live in areas like Westmoorings, Bayshore, and Goodwood Park do not commit acts of domestic violence, rape and paedophilia. We know this for a fact because such exemplars and paragons of virtue never do appear in court.

Similarly we have in our chaotic society groupings that crave and to varying degrees have acquired elite or at least middleclass respectability. And for many such their underage daughters simply do not get pregnant. When last did you hear of this happening to a convent girl?

In this scenario the Indian community is notably conservative. True, there are traditional concerns that are not to be dismissed but I am speaking here specifically to our Trinidadian context where I suggest our communities have been compromised. But good decent young girls be they Hindu, Muslim or Christian do not have sex, do not get pregnant and (heaven forbid!) do not give birth outside of marriage.

And here is where the proposed legislation presents a problem. Along with the dislocating historical forces that have made our young people live in a contemporary popular culture that is drenched in sex. And many are partaking. Their parents and religious leaders know this. And if there is a mishap and a pregnancy … ahm… happens or is liable to happen, there is the much needed emergency valve of marriage. Because our daughters do not have babies out of wedlock!

This appears to be the source of the panic.

And yes as I recall the word “abortion” did cross the parliament member’s lips… these words … these words…! Of course whether such a marriage is in the best interest of the young people involved is another issue altogether. But that’s not the point is it?

But criminalization of sex is not the answer either. Because, my friends, everybody is having it including these “children”. And not just members of the wajang class!

To be honest I do not have confidence in any of the players involved, not the politicians, not the parents (though to be fair theirs is a difficult job), not the religious leaders, not the calypsonians, not the media and the radio talk shows, not the NGOs, the academics and other commentators (please don’t get me started on the NGOs and the academics) and most of all not a fascist State apparatus that ought not be brought close to our youth. I fear that to a very large extent our young people are standing alone and there is no one they can trust. God help them! It could drive an atheist to prayer.

I can confidently assert this because if as a people we truly cared for our children we would decisively deal with the system that has them in this situation. And perhaps maybe even in the process build a genuine community. Instead we prefer to wallow in filth.

It would take a revolution… Oh, oh there’s that word again…