As the honorable minister comes to Belize with a message of hope to speak to the converted and the not so converted, we dare to ask with Carmen Barrow as she addressed Nuri Muhammad on LoveTv talk show Friday 1st 2013, “what happens afterward… what will he tell we have not heard… we understand the oration and the great speeches…. but what happens afterward?”
There was a time for the great speeches. There was a time when they were useful and moving. But in the face of present challenges and reality, they may amount to little less than psychological lullabies that have no inherent practical values. And that is more apparent in that he is going to be taken to see what the Mennonites have been doing without the conspiracy with orators. Mennonites who have been wiling to teach and help Belizeans replicate their efforts without the cooperation of Black leaders.
If the speeches were meant to chastise black leaders for taking advantage of the misfortune of the other black people, I will be moved. If it were about chastising them for being too xenophobic, discriminatory, isolationistic, and exclusionary, it will catch my attention. But if its to tell us how the system is against us, and how the white man has done us great harm, it will fall short of effectiveness. It may make us feel good for the occasion. But as he leaves, we will have to live with the reality we know so well.
We have seen the marches, we have witnessed the candle vigils. We have heard the pleas to put down the gun. And the poems have been recited. Yet as the day passes by, black Belizeans gradually are becoming less visible in the social market place, and tending towards economic and financial insignificance and irrelevance. We can do better, yes we can. And the resources to do so are here.
If the minister were coming to chastise black leaders for merchandising ignorance and for cashing in mercilessly on the commercial potentials of ignorance, I will be in attendance. If he were to chastise black leaders for being so willing to smash the future of young Belizeans on the alter of their own egos, then he would have been reflecting our reality. If he comes to tell us to come together in order to succeed, he is not the vision of the new global reality we have to deal with. People don’t come together to succeed. They succeed individually, and celebrate collectively. The Mennonites succeed individually, the Chinese succeed individually, the Indians succeed individually, the Hispanic immigrant Belizean succeeds individually at their Tacos and Hot dog stand. The black Belizean is led astray and misdirected by black leaders to keep hoping and bemoaning that day when we shall all realize and come together in order to succeed. Its not going to happen. Its not going to work. It has not worked, its not working, will never work. We may be encouraged to hope it will happen. But hope is not a strategy.
The experience and reality of slavery cannot be challenged. The decimation of deprivation is in no doubt. The trauma that era in the lowest of man’s inhumanity to others has left in the psyche of the African American, or Afro Belizean cannot be in dispute. But its now a new world overridden with new realities and merciless challenges. The experience of deprivation is not unique to the African Diaspora. And it’s time for us to pick up our pieces and walk. The time of contending with the system should be gone. It’s now time to engage the system. The strategy of contention is no longer working. It now amounts to fighting a new battle by the old rules of engagement. It’s like fighting an enemy that does not exist anymore. Even where it still exists, has metamorphosed. The Briefing the minister will receive will most likely lead him to be addressing and trying to solve a problem or sets of problems that do not exist, while the ones that exist are left on their own to grow out of control.
I can say assuredly that the solutions the black community in Belize is driving forward to acquire to solve their several challenges cannot be attained because they are seeing them in their rear view mirror. They are praying to God for answers they already have in their hands, so they never receive an answer. They are going to where they are standing – so will never get there because they are there already.
The question today as I join Carmen Barrow to ask is: “After the minister has come and gone, …what next…?” For hope is not a strategy.