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Friday, September 28, 2012

A question of confilict

As part of the appreciation of getting older, one of the things we start to appreciate is how we all fit into a small society. For many Dominicans, the country has not changed. We live in a homogeneous country, a demographic of people who look and sound the same for a lifetime, at every level. Within that small society, it is easy to forget what really makes Dominica tick. Relationships, built from familial links, religion, and dependencies born from necessity shape a number of alliances. Friendships do not matter, and I say so earnestly as there are no friendship built dynasties or cultures in Dominica. People are not successful because they are friendly. In fact they suffer for it. A man is more likely to consult his side woman than his friend in matters of crisis. In fact, conflict has formed businesses, political parties and even churches in Dominica. Conflict is the lingua franca of the country. People ally themselves on who they dislike and not who they admire. Trying to start a discussion on the mutual admiration of someone is almost a lost cause in our society. But you can get appreciation and even find some love from mutual dislike. Within that context whenever someone queries the future of Dominica, it is relatively easy to pinpoint the potential. When you assess that from top to bottom there is a healthy dislike inherent to the way people deal with each other, masked with fake smiles, constant hugging and now facebook friending, then you start to understand the challenge. You can only unite the country through a common enemy and right now, Dominicans do not have one. Maybe I can play that role by stating some uncomfortable truths. No political party in the history of Dominica has engendered economic policy. You cannot differentiate economic policy differences between the Dame, Edision James and the current government. So what we are engaged in for the last 50 years of political life is a pissing contest in popularity. So what is the future of Dominica ? Hurricane David gave us a glimpse. When people were uniformly connected by the fact that we all had no roofs, no water and no electricity, people were genuinely concerned about each other and the collective responsibility for what should happen next actually existed. It was brief, but it was there. However we cannot generate this kind of scenario (neither would we want to). We have to recognise that a meritocracy is alien to our societies. The masses would revolt if they were not rewarded for their allegiances. In fact a meritocracy would literally bring down a government, funny to say. I suggest we invite more and more middle class qualified Haitians to be part of our administrative class. Nothing like a black, well educated foreigner to unite the country into working harder to repel the foreign hordes. If you think thats just hype, I will say, just watch.