Celebrate everyone, not a 'top 50'
The entire build-up to the 50th Independence celebrations has been nonsensical. The propaganda machinery rains praise on a top 50 citizens. Does that mean that all other citizens did not contribute to T&T's development over the last 50 years?
It's as if T&T's other 1,299,950 citizens do not exist and their forefathers did not exist, hence there is nothing of them to highlight or mention. This is how the history books are recording this milestone — the Independence celebrations in which the contributions of common people were not worthy enough for acknowledgement, not colourful enough for mention, were excluded because theirs were not sufficiently impacting on nation-building.
At 50 the nation's stewards are still caught up in notions of superiority and inferiority; greater and lesser citizens. They still undervalue the contributions of the common citizen in nation-building.
It is like attending your school's graduation and witnessing all the praise and honour going to a select few well-liked graduates. Only their contributions are worth talking about. For 50 years only certain people's lives were archived and now only their stories are told. This national graduation ceremony (50th Independence celebration) is supposed to be a celebration recounting the triumphs of all 1.3 million citizens and those who went before, not hero- worshipping the top 50 citizens.
What is the unit of measure for determining national influence? Is frequency of reminder of greatness, "highness", sweetness, creativity, innovative gusto, selflessness, worldly admiration as sculpted by media propaganda useful standards for measure of national influence?
Come on, a top 50 people that made T&T what it is today? Just 50 in 50 years? What were the millions native to Trinidad and Tobago doing while the 50 heroes were shining their light with fuel provided by the nation?
It took informed ideas from many quarters to sculpt present- day Trinidad and Tobago. Some basked in artificial limelight of acclaim or are imputed as the genesis and momentum of these autonomous thinking and doing movements. Not so fast media-hype hero.
The average Hollywood movie's credit list does better at acknowledging contributors to movie creation than the organisers chosen to highlight persons who have helped define T&T as an independent nation from 1962 to 2012.
Celebrating Independence should be about showing gratitude for the contributions of everyone, not just raining praise and honour on a few pin-up names and faces. Many unfamiliar names and faces gave and do give to the country with unyielding zest, so where is their limelight?
I'd presume that the Independence celebration was about the common breakage of colonial bonds that oppressed every disenfranchised person. Since then no top 50 but millions have contributed to the best of their ability and resources to making T&T what it is today. Where are the faces of the millions, from Cedros to Toco, from Charlotteville to Bon Accord, who collectively contributed from the 1960s to present toward creating T&T?
Where are the faces of the housewives, teachers, preachers, healers, builders, farmers, fishermen, firemen, protective services officers, vendors, mechanics, inventors, plumbers, environmentalists, scientists, engineers, transportation workers, factory workers, commercial service workers etc that every day keep, sustain and expand T&T?
Independence ought to be about celebrating the independence of all citizens and the strength of interdependence of all nationals, not picking a few to perch on pedestals above the commoners. At 50, T&T should have dropped such colonial practices that focus the largest share of honour and gratitude at a few poster children at the top, while downplaying the roles played by the mass of the population in T&T's deliverance from colonialism and its progress as an independent nation.