Legendary reggae artiste Bob Marley and his Wailers band sang “No care for you, no care for me. So much trouble in the world; So much trouble in the world.” It was from his 1979 Survival album, and he could have easily been singing it for our 2022 global situation.
At home, we are challenged to return our economy to a reasonable level of sustainable growth after almost three years of COVID-19 pandemic-related fallout.
However, the economic difficulties, though complicated, may pale in comparison to our social maladies that will take an “all-of-country” approach to bring about the kind of change we desire as a society.
Challenges with wayward youth, undisciplined adults, lack of respect for authority and societal norms, mental health issues, a feeling across our workforce that their efforts are underappreciated, and a general sense of apathy by too many citizens have become pervasive.
Consequently, it is believed that it may be easier to fix the economic problems than it will be to wrestle the social malaise that confronts us.
None or very little research has been undertaken to fully assess the impact of the pandemic not only on our physical and mental health, but also the sociological impact on families and communities.
Though we do not want to apportion responsibility for every circumstance on the pandemic, it has been credibly linked to or has exacerbated many of the issues that we face.
Despite all that we must confront, it is important that we do not allow ourselves to be sucked into a malaise of discontent and apathy. Such a disposition will do nothing but engulf us in a whirlwind of depression.
Yes, we are battling high inflation, increasing levels of serious crime and youth delinquency. This is in addition to uncertainty about the local and global economies.
However, one only has to examine the reports emanating from many other countries and it gives us pause to reflect on how privileged we are to be citizens of Barbados.
Today, for example, millions of Ukrainian citizens who could not escape the war in their homeland, are fighting for their lives. They not only confront the relentless bombardment from their neighbour Russia, but the attacks have left most Ukrainians fighting the bitter cold of winter.
Despite the fact that these people are millions of miles away from us in the Caribbean, one cannot help but feel great sympathy for the Ukrainian people, who are caught up in an unprovoked war started by a political leader seeking to bludgeon his neighbours into submission.
While many of us in Barbados prepare for Independence Day celebrations and mull how to incorporate our year-old republic status, the people of Ukraine dream of being free from the dictates of one man who seeks to control their destiny.
Temperatures in many cities and villages are expected to drop some 20 degrees Celsius below freezing or even lower, while Russia continues to attack the country’s electricity supply facilities.
The Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy described as ‘terrorism’ what Russia was doing to his citizens.
“The systematic damage to our energy system from strikes by the Russian terrorists is so considerable that all our people and businesses should be mindful and redistribute their consumption throughout the day,” the leader has begged.
At the same time, the World Health Organisation revealed that most hospitals and healthcare facilities in the country were without essentials such as water, fuel and electricity.
As Marley sang in So Much Trouble in the World, “The way earthly things are going, anything can happen. You see men sailing on their ego trip. . . . No care for you, no care for me.”
Everything is about perspective. We in Barbados, though battling our own situations, should not diminish the extent of suffering some of our citizens face. However, in the grand scheme of things, none of us would forfeit what we have on this island in exchange for the life of a Ukrainian citizen.