Dr. Kwame Nantambu

'Somebody Missin' in TnT Today
Posted: June 15, 2001
By Dr Kwame Nantambu

One of the most serious calamities in TnT in this new millennium is the total disappearance of the concept of responsibility in all its aspects.

Indeed, when it comes to this concept, certain people are missing in action or as the 1998, 1999 and 2000 NWAC national calypso queen Sister Shirlaine Henrickson states: "I honestly believe that there are key people in society today who are missing."

She comments in her song titled "Ho, Ho, Somebody Missin' in part as follows:

Ho, Ho, somebody missin
Ho, Ho, somebody missin

SOS, Ho, Ho, somebody missin
Help, Ho, Ho, somebody missin

Whay dey gone
Yuh tell me whay day gone
Or would somebody please tell me what goin on
There are certain people in dis society
Just so like dey gone and leave we
Their disappearance posin a problem
Ah send out ah search party to find dem

Is women like Faith, Hope and Charity
Where is dat man call Morality
Instead ah find Mr. Delinquency
Invading every community
I hauntin dem down so desperately
I have a search party out since when
Ah lookin for dem
Ah looking for dem
My people need a balance system
Help me find dem
Help me find dem

Ho, Ho, somedody missin
Ho, Ho, somebody missin

In Trinidad and Tobago
I know, somebody missin
Somebody, somebody
Ho, Ho, somebody missin
Look I doh know
I really doh know
But like lightin strike and
black out these folks just so

(last verse)
My people
Listen my people
We got to find these folks
and adopt their principle
Yuh Know why
For if we really want to have
ah model nation
Yuh know we must have a
solid foundation
De key to success lies within their hands
Come join de search, let's formulate plans

Hear me

We must find responsibility
Leadership, peace and stability
Righteousness, progress and endurance
Patriotism and confidence
Competent knowledge, powerful will
Etiquette values and even still
Ah want to see parents with their children

Ah lookin for dem
Ah lookin for dem
My people need ah balance system
Help me find dem

We looking for respect, morality,
spirituality, integrity, understanding
We got to cut out all de Isms
and schisms
We got to leave racism behind
Victimisation got to go
For de new millennium racism got to go

Ho, Ho, somebody missin
Ho, Ho, somebody missin

Sister Shirlaine's holistic commentary directly addresses the disappearance of the following key people in TnT society: Mr. Morality, Mr. Intelligence "just to bless kids with his experience"; Ms. Faith, Faith and Charity, Ms. Unity and Harmony "dey migrate to a next planet yuh see"; and Mr. and Mrs. Understanding "since I small I hear dey missin."

On the flip side, she deals with the presence of Mr. Delinquency "invading every community"; "rudeness and indolence infiltrating on young people's common sense" plus "hatred and jealousy living in every community."

As such, the system in TnT is unbalanced today.

This analysis seeks to put her poignant lyrics in their proper historical context.

The fact of the matter is that the value system, way of life and cultural mind-set of TnT have changed from an Afrocentric perspective in the 1960s - 1970s to a Euro-centric-Americanised perspective from the 1980s to the present.

In other words, ALL of the disappearance and presence in Sister Shirlaine's song DO NOT apply to the 1960s - 1970s but ONLY to the 1980s and the present.

There was a time when modesty, real love, personal trust, true integrity, morality, unity between the races, respect for adults and authority, etc., existed in TnT.

In those days, Trinis had an inward-looking cultural value system. Trinis ate local foods and DID NOT chew Euro-American made gum.

In those days, Trinis lived the extended family way of life whereby the community had the authority to correct, admonish and raise children. In those days, Trinis lived the Afrikan familial concept: "It takes a village to raise a child."

In those days, the family unit was strong and solid. Husbands respected wives; incest and homicide were asterisks on any report card; violent, murderous crimes were not a daily occurrence; drug use and/or abuse was a non-issue and no one ever spoke about AIDS.

Today, however, it is a total different ball game.

Today, financial/economic success or betterment has given rise to social decadence and all the negative consequences one can expect and imagine. In other words, humanity does not exist in TnT today the human being is non-existent. This reflects the characteristics of a Euro-centric way of life and value system. It is just that simple.

Instead of the Afrikan village and community raising Trini children and cultivating indigenous values, Euro-Americanised TV programmes and way of life are now doing those two things to the maximum.

The simple fact is tht one of the main characteristics of the Euro-centric way of life and value system is that the human being or factor is non-existent. This is what exists in TnT today human life has absolutely no value. The daily crime statistics validate this reality including the wife of a UWI Professor whose fatally stabbed body was found in the trunk of her car. Apparently, her life was ONLY worth TT $7,000 and on 29 May, a six-week old baby boy is thrown into the sea ALIVE by his mother.

Is this the "Trini value of a person's life?
Is this what the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago stands for?
Is this what political independence means?
Is this the way for ANY people to live on a daily basis?
Do Trinis care about babies?

Are "domestic violence is hell" and "Mr. Rape makin ah massacre" the new millennium lyrics of TnT's national anthem?

Life in TnT reflects ALL of the negative, self-destructive and detrimental aspects of Euro-American society. These include school violence, high rate of divorce and single-mother households, AIDS, adult crime, just to name a few.

The current volume of presence and disappearance as pointed out by Sister Shirlaine suggests to this columnist that TnT needs a serious, long-term treatment of cultural chemotherapy to re-create her concept of "a balance system."

And to compound the "somebody missin" syndrome, total insanity erupted on 22 May 2001 when the National Union of Domestic Employees (NUDE) called for the legislation of prostitution.

NUDE reflects their insanity in these words: "We call for legal, civil and economic rights for prostitutes in Trinidad and Tobago."

Maybe their next call will be for the legislation of marijuana, cocaine and heroin.

What is "missin" in this context is why NUDE does not call for a strong family unit and parental responsibility to their children; instead NUDE calls for prostitutes' responsibility to their "Johns." "Someting wrong."

Why NUDE does not call for governmental responsibility to the citizenry; teachers' responsibility to teach children; fathers' their responsibility to take care of their children thereby paying their winin tax; childrens responsibility to respect adults; and doctors responsibility to save the lives of their patients by reporting for duty at TnT hospitals.

What is also "missin" is for NUDE to call for the rights to legalise an end to incest, homicide and domestic violence; an end to the rape of female babies as young as six years old by grown men; an end to the abandonment of new born baby girls by their mothers; an end to the alarming rate of gun-related crimes in Port-of-Spain on a daily basis.

What is "missin" is a call for the rights to legalise an end to Euro-Roman-American religious supremacy in TnT; an end to TnT streets, highways and monuments that STILL bear the names of our European British colonizer in this independent Republic; an end to Trinis chewing Euro-American made gum while playing AFRIKAN-centered pan at the Savannah; an end to the proliferation of Euro-American eating outlets and the decline, disappearance and shame shown to local foods.

What is "missin" is a call for the rights to legalise the repair of six-inch deep potholes in TnT streets; an end to vother electoral fraud; an end to the undeclared intefadeh that has been waging in TnT for the last ten years; and the legal right for every Trini to live anywhere in the country whether in Westwood Park, West Moorings, Belmont, St. Clair or Shanty Town.

NUDE needs to take steps to legalise the right of Trini women to be treated as full-fledged equal human beings with "the inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

Legalising prostitution only legalises the NOTHINGNESS status of women in society. The members of NUDE should be ashamed of themselves for taking such a negative, insane, demoralising and degrading position toward the sanctity of womanhood. This is irresponsible action.

What is "missin" in TnT society today is the total lack of respect for women. Women have now become the primary target or prey for inhumane, barbaric and uncivilised crimes of violence.

Women are no longer treated as precious jewels. They are treated just like a piece of meat and cheap, useless, winin meat, at best.

The value of their life has been relegated to a minus zero and declines every day.

The legalisation of prostitution not only guarantees the de-humanisation of Trini women but also the wanton perpetuation of sexual violence against them, which any normal, civilised, moral society calls rape.

These are some of the "missin" elements in TnT today.

In order to re-create "a balance system," Trinis must change their cultural value system, way of life and mind-set.

They must re-embrace their original Spirituality and extended family way of life.

The new Trini value system should rest on three basic principles, namely, the 3Cs: Caring, Communalism and Co-operation among, for, by and of each other.

The foundations of this new spirituality are Truth, Justice, Balance, Order, Compassion, Harmony and Recipocity.

The application and implementation of these principles and foundations will serve to re-make the human being as the spinal cord of all existence in TnT on a daily basis. Human perfectibility thus becomes the sole purpose in life instead of the acquisition of money, power, wealth and material things.

Women are the foundation of the family unit; the family unit is the foundation of society; society is the foundation of the nation.

If you destroy the woman then the family, society and nation are automatically affected and the domino effect sets in and everything collapses into self-destruction and chaos and that's where TnT is heading despite economic success and its supposed Euro-first world status.

In other words, just as the Euro-American Bush administration has been accused of pursuing free trade at the expense of the environment in the same way, the TnT government is pursuing economic development at the expense of human beings, especially women the expendable species.

In the final analysis, TnT needs sound, sane, social policy to find the "missin" somebodies in society today.

"Someting really wrong." The "missin" humane treatment of women and babies only represents the existence of unbalance insanity in TnT. Or maybe that's the new "Trini way" of life today.

Shem Hotep ("I go in peace").

Dr. Nantambu is an Associate Professor in the Dept. of Pan-African Studies at Kent State University, U.S.A.

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