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Rout the cabal

By Raffique Shah

I AM convinced now that a cabal in Cabinet whose members are unconscionable is running this country. They are imposing their warped will on their colleagues and the populace. They are destroying the soul of the nation as they pursue their nefarious goals. And unless we citizens call halt to the madness and darkness that they have wreaked on the country, we shall be condemned to unimaginable misery and generations yet unborn will never forgive us.

Maybe it's coincidental that as I watch the re-emergence of the personality cult here and all the evils that emerge from that phenomenon, I happen to be reading new works on the rise of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis in Germany in the 1930s. It's not that our "sawdust Nazis" pose any military threat to us or other countries in the region. What is uncanny are the similarities between the way Hitler, Goebbels, Bormann, Goering and that lot won and commanded the blind support of ordinary Germans, and how this cabal has broadened its sycophants-base to the extent that they have become cheerleaders in the theatre of the macabre.

This column is not about Wayne Kublalsingh and his hunger strike, although his defiance has triggered much of what I address. Two weeks ago, when he embarked on his dramatic protest, I warned Wayne that the Prime Minister would sooner see him die on her doorstep than meet his demand for an independent review of technical issues surrounding the controversial section of the Point Fortin Highway. I advised Wayne to call off his fast-to-death, to nourish his body so that he lives to fight another day.

Not surprisingly, the brother did not heed my advice: he possesses a kind of dogged determination that reminds me of myself in my youthful years. His extreme protest has yielded dividends, though. On the positive side, it has sparked interest and elicited compassion from a broad cross-section of a society that is often indifferent to issues of national importance. More importantly, it has exposed the fascists in the Cabinet cabal and their "brown shirts" thugs who would commit atrocities for a few dollars or "ah food".

Many people who might have opposed Wayne's protest or been indifferent to the issue, were shaken off the fence when the UNC meeting last Monday night turned into a mud-wrestling "gayelle" in which heavyweight ministers pummelled a flyweight gnat in a virtual "sampat". The coarse language, the jeering, the humiliation, the naked lies were disgusting, to say the least. One minister launched into an obscene assault on the entire Kublalsingh family. Another wished the hunger striker a speedy death.

As the speakers plumbed the depths of depravity, the party faithful cheered lustily, sounded horns and called for Kublalsingh's head, the only thing the Prime Minister did not say was, "Bring it on a platter, please!" She endorsed everything that the speakers said that night, and added, to loud cheers from all in the house, "My government will build the highway!" Nobody has come out against construction of the highway, not even Kublalsingh and the Re-Route Movement. So the PM was engaging in Goebbels-like propaganda, playing to a circus of fools who, much like the crowds that attended Nazi rallies, do not see the dangerous path on which the UNC is taking the country.

Legitimate queries have arisen over certain aspects of the highway and government has an obligation to respond to them since the $7 billion cost will be met by public funding. The PM cannot wave a piece of paper in people's faces, not reveal its contents, and expect us to believe the answers to the questions are there. This government forfeited its credibility from early on (the Reshmi affair), so we need to have the results of the technical review made public. If the answers are satisfactory, then proceed with the highway, full speed.

Back to the cabal, I note that three senior COP persons have dissociated themselves from the obscene Monday night mud-fest. That signals that not everyone in the Cabinet is insensitive or inhumane. Winston Dookeran appealed to the Prime Minister, all the way from Santo Domingo to show some compassion for Kublalsingh. Is it that the PM is so consumed by power she has lost the human touch? Or could it be because she is woman she believes on every issue she must show that she has more cojones than the men around her?

Whatever is driving her, be it her ego or the fascist cabal, she is hurtling to self-destruction and she does seem to understand that. Kublalsingh may be a handful and his Re-Route Movement insignificant in the national context. But this Gandhi-like man, through his hunger strike, has touched the hearts and sensibilities of many people. By extension, ignoring the Gandhi-at-her-gate has cast the Prime Minister as an ogre and reduced members of the cabal to a pack of heartless pot hounds.

Let me put this in another perspective: Peter Minshall has never been involved in partisan politics as far as I know. He is passionate about his country, outspoken on culture and the arts, and commands respect beyond the boundaries of his native land. When he made it his duty to visit Kublalsingh and pay homage to the hunger striker, it spoke volumes about the impact Wayne's action is having on the society. And I have not mentioned the names of other prominent non-political patriots who have done likewise.

So even as the spectre of fascism hovers over us menacingly, unlike the Germans in the 1930s, we are fighting back. The counter-attack began before Wayne's hunger strike. In the past few weeks, post "Section 34", it has assumed assault proportions. In time, the citizens of this small but proud country will rout the fascists, cabal et al.

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