God Is Truth
By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
April 12, 2015
Dr. Roodal Moonilal is a remarkable man. He claims that the Express is biased and it might be. He says: "I have the Express newspaper on my desk and I ask the people who came to see me whether they think the Express is biased. ...They agreed. I found that shocking but that was the feedback from the people" (Express 8 April, 2015).
Dr. Moonilal does not say how many people he spoke with (rather than spoke to); he does not identify the articles to which he refers; nor does he say what grievances, complaints, services, etc., his constituents came to see him about.
All he knows is that the people with whom he spoke agreed with and endorsed Senator Gerald Hadeed's post that said: "Keep the faith Marcia [Braveboy] you have more credibility than all of them at the Express. They were all bought for a few PNM pennies."
Braveboy came from Grenada about ten years ago, looking for a job in media. She got her first chance at FM 102, went on to i95.5 FM, thereafter to Newsday before ending up at CNMG. She has always been a freelancer. Yet within those ten years she has achieved the rarified position where she has more credibility than the combined experiences of all the reporters at the Express, a newspaper that drew on a fierce tradition of speaking out in Trinidadian journalism that began in 1848 with the publication of the Trinidadian.
Any serious student of our newspaper industry knows that Ken Gordon, a pioneering journalist and publisher, started the Express. The Express made its mark in the region when it stood up against Maurice Bishop's brand of socialism that preferred newspapers that followed the line of the ruling party in power. That is not the Express style. (Full disclosure: I supported the Grenada Revolution under Bishop. The Express discontinued my services as a weekly columnist).
However, even as Dr. Moonilal was endorsing Hadeed's logic, he was simultaneously assuring the public that the parliamentary motion against the Opposition would continue on April 8. It did not matter that Vernella Alleyene-Toppin had disgraced herself in the public eye and her odious statements had sullied Dr. Moonilal and his party. Dr. Moonilal could not allow truth to get in the way of his disinformation and falsehoods.
Dr. Moonilal also reminded the country that when the Opposition brought a motion of no confidence in the Prime Minister that the members of Government "stayed and listened to everything they had to say." Dr. Lincoln Douglas repeated this sentiment in his contribution to the April 8 debate.
This statement is illogical and flaccid. Had the Government walked out of that debate, the Opposition would have voted 11-0 against the government, which would have toppled the government. Drs. Moonilal and Douglas seem to have missed this elementary point. The Government had no option but to remain in Parliament, debate the issue, and then vote to ensure its survival.
It is also wise to remember that no member of the Opposition demeaned the person of the honorable Prime Minister by referring to the circumstances of her birth nor did they ever allude to any sexual peccadilloes (real or imagined) that took place before her marriage. Ethical men and women realize that such verbal assaults are not conducive to the advancement of our democracy.
The members of the government must remember that all major religions promote the quest for truth. In the Gospel of Selfless Action, Mahatma Gandhi reminds us that anyone who endorses the central teaching of the Gita is bound to follow Truth and ahimsa (nonviolence). Inherent in this concept is the belief that to hurt another being is to hurt oneself.
In September 1931, at a speech in London, Gandhi asserted: "To me God is Truth and Love; and God is ethics and morality." Some months later, at Lausanne, he elaborated this concept. He said: "When I came to study Islam,…I would say with those who say God is Love, God is Love. But deep down in me I used to say that though God may be Love, God is Truth, above all. ...I have come to the conclusion that, for myself, God is Truth."
As the UNC continues its assault against the Express, Dr. Rowley, and the PNM—and even use my words in their kuchoor—I advise that it tries to be ethical in its behavior and to remember Gandhi's prophetic admonition: "Truth is God." It is an imperative of every Hindu.
Selwyn R. Cudjoe is a professor of Africana Studies at Wellesley College. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org