.. I think – no scratch that – I KNOW that my manner of speaking and general thought process is very different from “most” Grenadians.
I attribute this difference primarily to the fact that I pretty well-educated. I’ve had literal and virtual exposure to a wide spectrum of subjects, and my natural curiosity has pushed me learn about, or at the very least read up on, the world around me.
I work in a field that requires a great deal of interaction with non-Grenadians/West Indians. I meet and work with people from every corner of the planet, from countries I have only read about (Serbia, Finland) to countries familiar to us all (U.S, England).
In daily life I speak to working-class people, horrifically poor people, rich people and insanely wealthy people. I talk to people with lots of “book learning” and people with lots of “life learning”. I talk to old, young, sad, happy, frustrated, repressed, serene, joyful people. I’m an equal opportunity people-talker-wither. I like exchanging ideas, discussing views and yes – debating issues. I’m well aware that I do not know everything, and that there is a lot I know very little about. But I believe that I have a pretty open mind and am willing to listen to opposing viewpoints even if I don’t subscribe to those views.
By birth and via family, I am a Christian – by which I mean I am of the Christian faith not that I am born-again – of Anglican denomination. As I have gotten older I have come to appreciate church as an expression of community; I attend services maybe twice a year, but do so mainly for the comfort I feel being with the people, the words, hymns and ceremonies that have surrounded me since I was a child. I am, however, not religious. I am spiritual, I do believe in a higher being, an entity larger than ourselves. But organised religion and religious doctrine has been the cause of too much suffering on this earth for me to take seriously those who claim to live by it. Frankly if I really had to pick a religion or faith to belong to I would probably be Buddhist. Serenity versus dogma, y’know? The irony is that, much to the surprise (and disbelief) of the hyper-Christians I meet, I have read the Bible front to back twice.
I’m a political and social liberal. Being politically liberal in Grenada is a misnomer because pretty much all politics in the Caribbean is liberal/socialist. The government looks after, or tries to look after, everyone. Social liberalism, however, is much more difficult for us because our moral, ethical and cultural compass is derived from religion and not from broad-based social or philosophical thought.
I’ve said more than once that Grenadians, and by extension West Indians, suffer from ignorance and apathy: “I don’t know” and “I don’t care”. (Yes this is a gross generalisation. Sue me) By the very nature of our close-knit culture we seem to have limited curiosity about the world around us and we don’t respect perspectives, value systems or lifestyles that are different from those we know. When faced with something new, to paraphrase Obama, we cling to “religion and guns” or in our case “religion and soca/rum” or just plain old “religion”. This tends to drive me totally nuts. Can’t anyone debate without bringing up some random biblical verse as justification? Are we so ignorant, so devoid of the ability to reason and rationalise, that we have to default to “‘De bible/God/Jesus/Pastor say so”?
I’m ranting and deviating wildly from my point now.
To be continued tomorrow. Here’s a teaser on what’s got me foaming at the mouth:
On one hand lesbianism empowers some women (to make them believe they are men)