Two weeks ago, VOB 92.9 FM’s Down to Brasstacks moderator Dennis Johnson pointed out that while governments across the region and the world had done their part in managing the pandemic, what was strikingly missing was a “message of hope”.
The moderator was concerned, as are we, that while much attention is being paid to the narrative of doom and gloom, a message of hope was desperately needed.
If indeed there is a message of hope, it needs to be amplified.
What we are faced with now is an apparently financially driven business community that continues to lament the economy; workers who lament that their rights are being eroded; the unions lament shady and unscrupulous employment contracts; while Government laments limited resources to tackle effectively all the challenges we now face.
It is as if each day we seem to be bombarded with a heavy diet of confusion, despair, and hopelessness.
Even if that is not the intention, that is how it seems. One would have thought especially with the number of suicides our country has recorded this year among young people, someone somewhere would interpret that as a clear indication that hope is needed.
The reality is what it is. As a media house, we will never say ignore the facts, but facts can have a different effect depending on how they are presented. Take for instance the fact that we recently recorded over 5000 COVID-19 cases. While that is a major cause for concern, the reality and fact still remain that well over 4,000 people recovered. Sadly, the virus has been fatal for 51.
But we cannot keep hammering away at that fact. Daily, the number of cases is rising. As of Thursday, the Ministry of Health reported 80 new cases for Wednesday taking the number of people in isolation to 413.
It becomes so easy to gravitate towards negativity. It would appear that so many are consumed by the pandemic and its uncertainty that the positivity seems to be fading.
Our people need a message of hope. A message to reaffirm our greatness as a nation and our ability to overcome. Our people need a message of hope that unifies and not divides. There is so much that presently divides us and sets us apart. The message of hope is needed at a time when many social ills confront us: the high and rising cost of living, a challenged educational system, crime, domestic issues, and the list goes on.
We often say that every dark cloud has a silver lining yet during this pandemic it seems so difficult for us to find and highlight that silver lining. But we have to.
This generation and future generations of strong and brave Barbadians are depending on us to embrace and propel that message of hope. We have to make it if not for ourselves, for those looking on seeking guidance.
We often hear that we must look back in order to chart the course forward. History has taught us that at every juncture, with all that our country has faced, we have had messages or messengers of hope who were there to lead and inspire us through. These messengers didn’t always come in the form of spiritual leaders or even politicians.
Some were union leaders who were needed at the time as is the case of the 1937 riots.
Some were ordinary people who used their will, might and determination to inspire as is the case with Bussa.
In other instances, some were unsung heroes who continue to be nameless and faceless to the public but who worked tirelessly in the background to keep things together.
In the wider world, the likes of Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Dalai Lama, Mother Teresa have done their part throughout history to be the voices behind this message of hope.
History aside, we are now called upon to leave for our children and children’s children a history that is as rich and as inspiring as the one that was left for us.
We sing proudly and loudly that: “The Lord has been the people’s guide for past three hundred years; With Him still on the people’s side we have no doubts or fears; Upward and Onward we still go inspired exulting free, and greater will our nation grow in strength and unity.” We must now live what we sing. We must dig deep down and use every sinew in our collective bodies to make the words that Irving Burgie penned our reality.
It is not an easy task but we must put our hope and faith in something greater. We must seek out that message of hope and reiterate it throughout our land.
South African cleric and human rights activist Desmond Tutu said: “Hope is being able to see the light despite all of the darkness.”