A People In Need Of Oratory Stimulation

Submitted by Charles Knighton

Three separate offerings in the Nation of Wednesday Feb 09th prompt this letter. In his School of Thought, Ridley Green laments:” the way many of us parents behave on behalf of our offspring, it is as if we are telling them resilience and character are not quite the key.” Justice Worrell Court Cry, in blasting “dropout witnesses” observes: ” It is a trend which is showing the complete decay of Barbadian society, the complete decay of the moral fabric of Barbadian society”.

Though there are many other examples of the malaise, if not complete decay in Barbadian society, they are not necessary to enumerate here, as most are aware of them. While the psychologists, sociologists, and priests busy themselves trotting out their pet theories as to why such a state of affairs exists, the overarching cause, just as in dysfunctional families, organizations, or businesses is the lack of strong and inspirational leadership. And while it is not required that such leadership emanate from the political class most believe, for better or worse, that it should.

Which brings me to Sanka Price and his “Only Human” column, We expect more form politicians. This column could easily have been written during any of my twenty years living in Barbados.  The pettiness of spirit and pedestrian nature of what passes for intellectual jousting over issues is disheartening. And while Mr Price mentions those who have brought intellectual heft to Parliament, with the notable exception of Errol Barrow and perhaps Tom Adams, these people  do not represent what I would refer to as speakers of soaring rhetoric and inspirational thought. While it is all well and good to deliver well reasoned arguments with  a sense of authority, at the end of the day if people have not been moved to take action then all that has been
accomplished is the stimulating effect of mental masturbation.

In the recently released movie”The King’s Speech” George VI watches a newsreel of Adolph Hitler dominating an arena with his voice. It’s a poignant moment for the newly crowned king, who is desperate to rally Britons to meet the existential threat of Nazism but is hobbled by a debilitating stammer and  a host of insecurities.  Who will follow a leader who can’t summon his own voice?

In “Mein Kamph” Hitler wrote that ” every great movement on this globe owes its rise to the great speakers and not the great writers.” Fortunately, the Fuhrer had an oratorical competitor: Winston Churchill transformed Britain into the home of the brave in part by his repeated, rousing pronouncements that it was so. Similarly Franklyn Roosevelt, Martin Luther King Jr, and John F Kennedy shaped perceptions, events, and history through spoken words. Hitler turned a forked tongue into a vicious weapon. But as “The King’s Speech” reminds us, oratory can also elevate a nation, maybe even save it.

0 thoughts on “A People In Need Of Oratory Stimulation

  1. It maybe time for local politicians to start grappling with some of the real “HARD” issues on BARBADOS UNDERGROUND…

    This is the ideal forum which will either sharpen you or frustrate you…

    Sadly, most Bajans (notably) politicians and others in the MEDIA* have been dummed down to such a point – you kinda’ wonder if they are suffering from testicular dwarfism…

  2. It is very evident inspiring orators are sadly lacking in this country. The only politician today whom I think has got this gift is Mia Mottley. That is why the political climate has become boring and stagnant. The leadership shown in several areas of government, the private sector and the clergy is similar. Instead of pontificating down to the people in the same boring monotones and telling them what they must do, why not engage them instead?

  3. For a nation to rise we must inspire the people that they will have a better life, better jobs and to look forward to the future. Can any of our young people see this? Leaders need to remove the layers of wrapping paper that they have surrounded themselves with and bare their souls for once. Only then they will come across as honest and humble. How many clearly understand the true meaning to serve?

  4. It should be interesting to read Caswell’s detailed explanation. Part of the problem we have in Barbados is how we obfuscate everything. Why should the most authoritative sources in Barbados not come to the public to clarify this matter.

  5. @islandgal246. Not dim witted. Fence-sitting and self-serving. That is where the problem lies.

    I thoroughly enjoyed this submission. Well thought out and presented. But have you noticed that great oratory only seems to have an effect when a nation’s back is to the wall?

    Hitler dealt successfully with a desperate, dead and buried economy and total lack of national pride through oratory – and so did his Italian counterpart, who actually succeeded in making the trains run on time.

    Churchill came along when Britain was under serious threat and mobilized the English language as a potent tool of war. As far as Kennedy was concerned, I have to wonder if the impact of his speeches today would be of any great force had he not been assassinated. I know that he had the Cuban Missile Crisis, but I do have to wonder if, had he not died so young, that might not now have about the same impact as the Thatcher role in the Falklands War.

    I note with some amusement that Kennedy, although portrayed in films many times, has never been interpreted by an artist of the calibre of Meryl Streep, who is now playing the role of Thatcher in a movie currently being shot.

  6. Islandgal246 I like your style. You are straight forward and say what you feel; One thing that I have noticed about the political situation in Barbados in the last 15 years is that no one is really doing too much of anything more than talking bad about what the others haven’t done. But mean while just giving away Barbados slowly but surely to outsiders. As this point it seem that the plantation might be closed, but the people are being enslaved from ignorance and greed; It is so easy for educated people to act very much similar to those of lesser education; When it comes to using common sense
    it seems that the man with the lesser education is wiser, but some what afraid to step up; Some of the younger generation seem to have come to the conclusion they have no need to do much of anything but hang out and kill each other; But you are walking straight into the so called white man’s trap; I see Barbados as being divided; And it’s getting even worse. I can recall as a boy you were judge by the house you lived in, the school that you attended, and quite a few other things. But one thing for sure was in every neighborhood people look out for each others children; We have to return to caring for and about one another. Don’t place you lives in the hands of the church or the politicians to make anything better for you. Stand up for a change for what you want and believe in; Allowing an education and using big words that has small meaning, and not using common sense make you a very dangerous person. It seems easier for others to keep beating each other over what needs to be done,or should be done. But not stepping up to do anything in regards to change; I’ve made a suggestion earlier last year about Barbados passing a minimum wage law, so the little man can do better than he is right now. That will be a start. As Barbadians, we are all in this together;

  7. If Barbados was to have Witness Protection, it would have to be part of an Inter-Caribbean effort. A Bajan relocates to St Lucia and a Grenadian goes to Dominica, etc.

    But such a programme within one territory would not work and permanent surgery may have to be included (altering one’s nose, shape of one’s ears, perhaps adding or removing teeth?) or the person may be spotted by an itinerant member of their previous homeland?

  8. I don’t see CHANGE happening through constant dialogue, and name calling. As a whole physical presence will make a difference, or should make a difference. If you have been going back and forth for so long, and no CHANGES has been made. Then a different approach is needed. PLEASE don’t get me wrong, I am not implying that there should be rioting; Because that will create even more problems when it’s all over, but at some point in time the persons that were elected to represent the people has to be approached collectively by the people and **DEMAND ANSWERS** and better representation. If this cannot be achieved, then these persons should no longer hold the positions; People’s lives are on the line in this situation;

  9. And I agree with the assertion, there are many out there in much need of same. Uptight, self-righteous, know-it-all, pompous.

  10. @Ian Bourne “If Barbados was to have Witness Protection, it would have to be part of an Inter-Caribbean effort. A Bajan relocates to St Lucia and a Grenadian goes to Dominica, etc. ”

    Are you still under this program? Be careful someone might find your location.

  11. I am truly impressed by this topic and discussion. Charles Knighton I appreciate your thoughts and action.

    When we place the necessity to ‘earn a living’ and reverse the “altitude of the attitude that as long as I show up I shall be paid,” we will effect a positive change in our public sector. NISE will then be inculcated or in-bred in our people once again, and our hearts will be transformed to ACT for SUCCESS. Then there will be a change. Awesome.
    Greater profit – smarter action – greater discipline – discretion in managing time and finances.

    Yes we can achieve and be successful, through honesty and hard work. Members of Parliament will be respected for their work and not just their thoughts and effort.

  12. Barbados needs a group of matured not necessary elderly but matured persons who are bold enough to grab the bull by the horns and set this country back on a proper track. successive governments have so endoctrinated the people into believing that everything comes easily and government has the answers to everything, that people are unable or unwilling to help themselves. The answer is a NEW party with forward thinking individuals who will put this country’s interest first , that’s what is lacking in these modern day politicians and it is reflecting on the entire nation, that community spirit is sorely lacking.

  13. I have often asked, and in the the context of Cuba, how can one man deny freedom to millions of his countrymen for so long? It must with the consent of the people — the only answer I could fathom. Tunisia and Egypt prove this to be correct. We must be the change we wish to see in others. Long live the will of the people.

    BTW good lead off article to this post. The author would have done better he/she had made their comments, not as a response to Sanka Price —– I believe Sanka is driven by political partisan considerations.

  14. @ islandgal246 | February 11, 2011 at 11:44 AM |
    David ……Perhaps we have too many dim witted people in authority.
    Perhaps we do. And perhaps this is because we have too many dim witted people altogether. Those in authority mostly come from among us.
    Perhaps that is why those (many) organizations run by outsiders seem to work better.
    Perhaps that is why we have been selling our assets to foreigners

    BTW Mr Knighton, …. the days of earth shattering oratory are long gone. The world of 2011 is much too complex for such simplistic tactics.

    In a world where the bushman can sit in Bim sipping a cup of bush tea, while watching a LEADERLESS coup unfold in the cradle of civilization- LIVE on my TV and computer….. wanna people really think that ‘pretty talk’, like that from the Dipper, can effect major change in this high tech world?

    What oratory what??!!

    ….a people in need of righteous LEADERSHIP.

    Unfortunately, since ‘a people’ always get exactly what they deserve, righteous leadership usually evolves from a righteous people. We therefore are doomed to ever accelerating decline…. get used to it!!

    Speaking of oratory….. does not the ‘great speaker’ Barack Obama now sound hollow and empty- after his great pre-election speeches?
    LOL …. time for him to worry
    …first it was AL Barrack being shafted
    …then we have MUbarak being given the boot

    These things come in threes – don’t they?

  15. @Bush Tea

    Yeah and wait until the weather warms up in America and Europe.
    Time for regime change over there too and by that I mean new systems of governance and understanding of profit and resources and spokespersons instead of leaders and independent representation instead of political parties and accountability from senior civil servants based on responses by time lines and sanctions from the civil service commission if they don’t and lease hold only on land transactions and a centralised food purchasing system instead of a Ministry Of Agriculture.

    Point being the old school is mainly rhetoric and hype, while the status quo remains the same.


  16. Similar debates go on over here in the UK. Trouble is, people allow too many ‘small’ things to slip, then it is no longer small things that are allowed to go by without challenge and then people ‘wake up’ years later to find that society as a whole has changed for the worse.

    People need to see the justice system working or else they will think to themselves – why put myself at risk?

    Are cases dealt with in a timely manner? Are witness details passed across to the defence when it comes to serious crimes?

    I agree with the previous comments about witness protection. I also wonder whether reluctant witness are likely to face contempt of court charges.

    Here is a link that was on the news this week of an old lady tackling robbers. I suspect if she was a young man the robbers would have retaliated. However, the film illustrates how brazen criminals have become over here.

  17. @ David

    There must be someone somewhere who can advise the AG and minister of home affairs to cease his oratory. It is really amazing – his ability to adopt increasingly idiotic positions on practically every issue on which he speaks.
    First it was the death penalty …. OK many others take his position on that matter (however as AG one would have anticipated a more balanced public position)
    Now he is on about landlords after Tomas.

    If Government passes a law that forces land owners to sell their land, against their will, to tenants after a number of years of renting ….. who is to blame for owners taking steps to avoid this? …. Not the short sighted government?

    The bushman owns a lovely vacant piece, and not a boy ain’t renting a square foot….. except it is one of my boys who I am willing to give it to anyway.

    …..so exactly what is he threatening to do now? force a landlord to rent, and then forcing them to sell @ $5 after some years….?
    …. and he expects cooperation?

    • @BT

      As you know we have had this conversation several times many which you have led. The big hammer approach will not cut it even if short term gains are to be had. We are dealing with minds seriously corrupt, behaviours already ‘baked’, all occurring in a global dynamic infected with greed and materialism. It is an uphill struggle which we cannot give up but the business as usual approach will not cut it. Ask all these ministers what businesses they have running in the background and you may or may not be surprised.

  18. “TALK IS CHEAP”, being able to “WALK THE TALK” takes intelligence, authority, leadership, foresight, hindsight and above all oratory skills, which are sorely lacking in Barbados Society.

    Education maybe FREE to all however being over educated can and has lead Barbados down a path of self serving individuals and a populace that could learn a great deal from the Egyptian people.

    The countries GOING TO HELL in a hand-basket and the only benefactors are going to be the Mubarak’s of Barbados. The populace has to WAKE UP and start smelling the stink in the air and open the windows.

  19. @ David,
    …man sorry to keep picking at you…. but it is frustrating…

    @ Wily
    OK. Bushman agrees with your analysis of what is needed. HOWEVER can you please tell us what evidence has led you to your conclusion that a ‘people led’ solution is the answer?

    You think that these current ‘people power’ revolutions are good things? …. wait a few months ….

    Getting rid of a bad leadership does NOT automatically imply that the replacement will be better. …. many times it is better the devil you know….

  20. @Bush tea “Getting rid of a bad leadership does NOT automatically imply that the replacement will be better. …. many times it is better the devil you know….”

    Most Times it is true however how the hell will we ever know until we try?

    I agree that the pool we have is very limited and out of that pool consist of many dim wits, but we keep recycling these dim wits over and over with the same results.

    Do you realize that the Barbados gene pool has become smaller and almost everybody is related? Yet we hear talk by several about outsiders coming into the island. To improve that gene pool we need outsiders. Think seriously about it.

    People like Scout and negro man are probably quite happy marrying dem cousins because dem hate outsiders. But if family trees were done and DNA testing was done before marriage we would be in for a big surprise.

  21. @ Bush Tea

    “People led” revolution may or may not not be the only answer, what other suggestions do you have ?

  22. @ Wily
    …what other suggestions?

    Friend Wily, suppose I told you that my grand mother was dying and that I was worried about it? Suppose I explained that the family had tried every thing we could think of, spent all our funds, called all the experts, but granny was clearly dying…..

    …..what other suggestions would you have…?

    Cuh dear man, granny is 102 years old. She had a full life, but she was never designed to live forever….

    EVERYTHING and everyone on this earth were designed to be subjected to ‘Father Time’….. we are all going to die….. and THAT also applies to our world as we know it.

    Like granny, after a while the various parts begin to fail, and it is all downhill from there – no matter how much we would like otherwise.

    The Bushman’s suggestions therefore are:
    For granny:
    – make the most of the allotted time
    – don’t live this life as though it is unending
    – prepare for the time when your ‘time is called’
    For this society and world:
    – stop wasting time and energy seeking to prolong the inevitable
    – focus instead on what you can REALLY achieve in your allotted time
    – seek the true meaning of life and you will be surprised at what you will find….

    What extend what world what??!!
    This old tired worn-out earth (like granny) , though much loved, has served its time and has finished its purpose. Time to be put out of its pain and misery.

    Time for the coming of a new dispensation, – a “….kingdom where God’s will shall be done on the new earth in the same manner in which it is done in ‘heaven’….” – according to the Lord’s Prayer.

  23. @ islandgal246

    You do realise that Barbados is over-populated don’t you?

    I wonder who it is you want in the island. Do you also realise that certain non-Black communities actively practice first cousin marriage and have done so for generations. It is not the average Bajan that is in-bred!

  24. @HM “You do realise that Barbados is over-populated don’t you?”

    We all like to think that it is the non black community that are guilty of in breeding. PLEASE take a closer look around you. Look at the many villages where most of the villagers are related. Many having children with cousins YES COUSINS and they are BLACK. Look how many men have drop their seed and never looked back. Children growing up and not knowing who they are marrying. And how the hell do you think we got over populated? By laying eggs in the grass? This was started on the plantations where INCEST was common practice and it still continues. It is the unspoken word Black people don’t like to hear. Take a trip to the hospital and look into the children’s ward, many are left there because of incestuous liaisons.

  25. @HM “Do you also realise that certain non-Black communities actively practice first cousin marriage and have done so for generations. ”

    The only difference is that Blacks don’t marry but they have offspring with them.

  26. The issue of birth defects caused because the parents are blood relations is happening in the UK, for example. However, it sure isn’t the Black population that this is affecting!

  27. @ HM….”No they don’t. Most Black people think that having ANY sexual relations with a blood relation is UNACCEPTABLE.”

    Keep fooling yuhself ! LOLLLL Unacceptable for other people to find out…………….. so we does hide it and pretend it never existed!

  28. @HM “The issue of birth defects caused because the parents are blood relations is happening in the UK, for example. However, it sure isn’t the Black population that this is affecting!”

    Stop pretending that Black people do not practice this. Has any study been done here on our gene pool? Could it be contributory to the rampant diabetes and Ashma we have here on the island?

  29. I am not pretending anything. These things occur in every corner of the world, but for you to state – ‘To improve that gene pool we need outsiders’ – is in my opinion un-justified, as you seem to be implying that the country is full of inbred people.

    As I said there are communities where it is part of the culture for the MAJORITY to marry & have children with their cousins. I am talking about cases where records show higher mortality and disability rates among the children and where doctors identify genetic disorders that can come from no other cause. This is an issue.

    However, Barbados is not like this – which is why I disagree with your gene pool comments.

    The instances of asthma and diabetes are increasing in lots of countries. They both have multiple causes. Diet for one is a major cause of diabetes.

    Also Barbados has a very high population density. I heard – and it probably still is – in the top 20 for countries with a high population density. Considering that there must be over 150 countries in the world, then I would say that the population is too high to talk about bringing in people in order to change the gene pool.

  30. By the way – I also see more overweight and more unfit people in Barbados than in past years.

    …Is that down to the ‘inbred’ gene pool or could it be because people are eating more fast food, drinking more cola and taking less exercise?

  31. @ David
    …So you are positing the view that as individuals our time on earth is time bounded which we know but it extends to the ‘world’?
    ..without any possible fear of coherent contradiction sir!! …simply a matter of degree.
    …some species live for hours or days
    …some for weeks and months
    … some years
    … we humans have three score and ten
    ..and our ‘world’, a few thousand years… Our ‘world’ being the living systems currently existing on the skeletal frame called planet earth.
    It is called entropy David. check it out! Even though every cell in your body is constantly renewed, increasing generations of cells tend towards disorder – we call it aging – and death.
    One of the basic inescapable realities of all human systems.

    Same with the living systems of our world. Granny sick!!

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