Prufrock's Page

Friday, May 12, 2006

One Aggrieved Trinidadian

Ten months before the cricket World Cup, Fazeer Mohammed lets fly in the Trinidad & Tobago Express about the islanders' pursuit of recognition from overseas: "[Why is it that] more than 40 years after so many of the former colonies of the British West Indies gained independence, we can only measure ourselves with someone else's yardstick?"

Then, he picks up steam: "Just as when Carnival or any other major annual event comes around, we have been obsessed in the past week with which television network, newspaper or magazine from which metropolis up north is here to cover dutiful, nation-building natives, we must all be on our best behaviour. We must show what is good and great about our wonderful island paradises, we must put everything else aside to give the right interviews to the right people, and we must always remember to smile, wine and shake various body parts when the cameras are focussed on us....Then, after all that strenuous gyrating, grinning and blabbering...we will excitedly flick through the cable channels, surf the net and scan the newspapers, only to curse out loud at how we feel our sweet words were twisted and conveniently edited, and how they didn't have to put so much focus on the crime rate, the drug trade and the challenges of dealing with a restless, disconnected generation."

He continues: "Doltish old talk? If so, how come Derek Walcott and VS Naipaul (how we continue to worship at the feet at this pompous ingrate I will never know) were only awarded the Trinity Cross the year after winning the Nobel Prize? Was their work only worthy of recognition here because people outside said so?"

Any similarities with the situation that prevails in India are purely unintentional. But of course.


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