The male praying mantis is said to gyrate in seductive manner to attract the attention of the female, who after mating with him, promptly bites off his head. Strange as this ‘mantis-cide’ might seem for us human beings, our actions and some of the notions that permeate our crania can make us appear stranger than these creatures.
Of course, we often convince ourselves that a few letters behind our names or attendance at some would-be prestigious institution renders our utterances akin to the voice that emanated from the burning bush on Mount Horeb. And in today’s ‘enlightened’ world, ideals that we hold dear, or at least are entitled to have, we keep submerged or are afraid to proclaim because it might not be politically correct to voice them.
In countries such as the United States it seems that simply to verbalize one’s dislike of homosexuality or same-sex unions/marriages makes one liable to severe public criticism. One must accept such behaviour because it is politically correct to do so. There might come a time when heterosexuals will have to march and promote their “straight rights”. They could be viewed with derision for having abnormal attraction for the opposite sex.
We have had a war in Syria raging for six years that has displaced millions, and caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children. It is clear that diplomacy will not bring an end to that horrible situation as long as Bashar al-Assad remains president. Yet those with the political and military might to propel a resolution forward, engage in political semantics, doublespeak and procrastination while innocent babies choke to death on chemical bombs. But no one seems willing to bring closure to a situation that can be solved.
Almost 20 years after the Government of the day found about a million dollars to turn Lord Nelson needlessly from one view of Bridgetown to another, his position in Heroes Square still causes debate. It is a discussion spurred on by paper revolutionaries and myopic historians who believe their diatribe can somehow erase the past. Take down Lord Nelson and our history will change! But while many quasi-nationalists join the cry, they simultaneously pass and throw empty containers into the nearby fountain, or, like strutting Levites, amble emotionlessly past the starving destitute sitting near Nelson’s gaze.
Our officials – from magistrates to police to politicians to priests – complain about criminality in our country. Violence among young people is on the lips of social leaders. The volume of firearms on the streets is highlighted via every medium. Yet our court system functions as though located in Blefuscu or Lilliput and inadvertently keeps criminal elements on the streets. Some politicians pander to criminals and some are averse to taking decisive action such as insisting on the installation of closed circuit television at our ports of call. Votes are more important. Our priests preach their sermons within the snug confines of the church, when their words are really needed on the blocks, backstreets and bordellos. When last was the Child of Nazareth escorted into some dark alley and it resulted in the emergence into the light of a troubled soul?
With an economy in strife and our leaders seeking ways to stem the tide of the mess in which we find ourselves, our economists and politicians postulate on the need to reduce our import bill and the need to support our own local producers. Then, in response, someone finds justification to import coconut water into Barbados.
Our labour unions represent their constituents with passion, as they should. But are workers always right and capital wrong? Do our unions promote productivity among labour with the same verve and vitality as they do when aggrieved labour comes knocking at their doors?
Minister of Education Ronald Jones recently asked the nation’s teachers a question, to the effect: “How do you expect to be paid for work you didn’t do?” It was a reasonable question that in the midst of the tumult of responses has not yet been logically answered. If previously salaries were paid for work not done, then a history of doing something wrong, does not make perpetuating it right. And semantics should not make it right either, be it a march, strike or a mobile meeting.
In this brave new world when absurdities are argued to the point of logic, a preying mantis losing his head at the mouth of his female companion seems rather normal and totally acceptable.