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UNC same as Jamaat

January 28, 2001
By Selwyn R. Cudjoe

IT IS always intriguing to examine Basdeo Panday's conception of reality. In Parliament, he announces an extraordinary plot to overthrow his government led by the Jamaat-al-Muslimeen although he cannot muster up enough energy to engage the UNC's dastardly attempt to steal the last election.

Yet, the UNC is the only party that has been associated with the Jamaat. Now, he wishes to convince the nation that the President, the Jamaat and several journalists are part of a conspiratorial group that wishes to overthrow his government.

However, his discourse is bereft of reasoned argumentation. He strings together a series of names, infers an intention and then broadcasts his findings to the nation. In his naivete, he does not believe he has to demonstrate a causal link between the facts he cites and the event (or phenomenon) he proclaims.

He only needs to outline a series of "sequential statements," link them with a "Libyan-trained gunman who led the Jamaat-al-Muslimeen" and conclude: "The re-emergence of Yasin Abu Bakr's erstwhile second-in-command came five days after President Robinson had welcomed to President's House, Selwyn Cudjoe and others who were at that time engaged in an illegal demonstration that had been denied the required approval of the police".

This mental confusion is mind-boggling. We keep looking for the noumenon (the intellectual object to which the phenomenon refers) but we can find it nowhere in his discourse.

Thus, the PM's behaviour displays all the classic signs of a delirious person to whom a single object designates all things. Given his delirium, he speaks of himself as though he was speaking of another person, a "decentering" as psychoanalysts call it. In other words, he pronounces upon himself as Spoiler's notorious magistrate did: "Himself told himself you are charge for stealing. / Himself told himself that the policeman lying, etc."

As delirious subjects are wont to do, he has lost his sense of reality in relation to others and thereby transposed himself into an imaginary world of confusion in which there is no distinction between "I" and "Thou". In his world, there is only a "they' who want to do him something; a "do dem before dey do we" mentality. In this ravished state of nature, all are against one and one is against all. When one thinks one's misdeeds may be found out, appeal to tribal loyalty and utter the war cry: "There are thousands who are passionately in support of the United National Congress and who are prepared to resist any attempt to steal the Government from the UNC." Needless to say, a tiefing tief makes God laugh.

How else can we explain the extraordinary conclusion that the President, the Jamaat, journalists, and the Libyan-trained gunman are linked in a diabolical plot to overthrow the State of which he is its most refined embodiment? "Constantly looking at photographs of a petrified real within which he himself figures," Panday can make no distinction between what is real and what is make-believe. In his delirium, he wishes to convince a sceptical public that he is denied a prize that is rightly his. In his delusions, he projects his hostility and bad conscience onto the national community hoping to find solace therein.

Not satisfied with maligning ordinary citizens, he also launched a verbal assault against the President. In the process, he displays a lack of civility and appropriate social conduct.

But then, one expects nothing more from someone who is neither civil nor nationalistic; a person who only realised his Trinidadianness when his party assumed the reins of power. For the most part, Trinidad was only a transit point; a society in which, to use the words of the PM, he and his people were alienated and marginalised.

In his delirium, the PM is oblivious to the similarities of the Jamaat's violent attempt to overthrow constitutional government in 1990 and his party''s non-violent attempt to steal the Government in 2000. He does not see that in their way of doing things, the Jamaat were open and above board. The UNC, however, was sneaky, deceptive and devoid of moral scruples. Yet, the action of each is objectionable. This is one reason why so many people (including the office of the President) are so appalled by what happened on December 11.

There is no qualitative difference between the actions of the Jamaat and the UNC. While the Jamaat (African and Islamic) had no propagandists to argue for the legitimacy of their cause, the UNC count on Hamid Ghany, John Le Guerre, Dana Seetahal, Sat Maharaj, Kamal Persad, Rajnie Ramlakhan to use their pens to promote its deceptiveness.

While the Jamaat took over TTT and asked the people to support its cause, the UNC uses TTT, its verbal vipers, to aid and abet its illegal actions. While the might of the State opposed the Jamaat, Panday uses the power of the state to assault defenceless citizens.

While Panday uses a broad brush to cover-up his party's actions, Abu Bakr's is tarnished perpetually and ever anew. His reputation precedes him. Yet, we err if we believe there is any difference between the Jamaat and Panday.

As we watch the PM's frenzied manipulations, we are reminded that the calmest hour is usually before dawn. When Patrick Manning, our most dignified leader, talks about the presence of an illegal government and contemplates protest marches, you know something is wrong in the kingdom of this world.

Whether the PM is drunk with liquor or delirious with power, he should remember that there is a point of endurance over which citizens ought not to be provoked.

However, he discharges his obligations, he will be remembered for a narrowness of vision, a meanest of spirit, a shallowness of intellect and contempt for our democracy.

Why, in this hour of danger, should honourable men be cowed into submission?

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