Comforting Words: Power Hungry Politicians & Hungry People

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Power Hungry Politicians & Hungry People

It's January 2006 and I am living in Canada but on some levels it feels like 1980 in Jamaica.

That was the year the Jamaica Labour Party, won the general election after being in opposition for almost eight years. Although there is one major difference between what happened leading up to that election in Jamaica and what is occurring now in Canada, leading up to the January 23, 2006 election, the spin, the quarrelling, the finger point and mudslinging are all too familiar.

The 1980 election was the bloodiest and the most violent one in Jamaica's history. Approximately 889 people were killed during that year as a result of the tribal warfare and political conflicts. In 2006 Canada, gladly no one has been murdered as a direct consequence of the sparring between the three federal parties and the Bloc Québécois. At least not physically.

Growing up in the political fervour of the 1970s, for a very long time it was my desire to enter politics. However, for several reasons not least of which my sexual orientation, that thought remained exactly that - a thought.

Another reason, one that was fairly high on my list and linked to the first, was the violence associated with being in politics, the need to "murder" one's perceived opponents. I knew that as a lesbian, there was no way I could successfully participate in the public life of my country of origin without having my personal life massacred.

In fact, based on the experience of many gays and lesbians in Jamaica, it is almost certain that had I even attempted to enter politics in an up front way my sexuality would have been fodder for the mill and my life would have been in danger.

Since coming to Canada in 2002, this is the second federal election that I am witnessing and I dare say it is getting nastier. Dismay marks my reaction as I watch the election campaign unfolds. Last night, while watching the French language "Leaders' Debate," it felt like de ja vu hearing the politicians jostle for the lead.

I said a prayer; grateful that thus far the people of Canada are either so polite or ambivalent about politics that the mudslinging, name-calling and blame shifting will not end in street wars.

Or is it that they are not hungry?

The politicians certainly seem hungry - so hungry that one stammers with his pretentious passion, another sounds like a bad public service announcement, the third is so cold his eyes are blue and the fourth is so focussed on 'mine, mine' it seems he thinks that God created air just for him.

Hunger is a serious motivator. Les Brown is quoted as saying: "Wanting something is not enough. You must hunger for it. Your motivation must be absolutely compelling in order to overcome the obstacles that will invariably come your way." There is much merit to this view.

However, hunger played a significant role in the murder of the 889 people in 1980 Jamaica. Hunger is responsible for the wars and destructions in many countries around the world today, namely in Africa and other so-called Third World nations.

Power hunger was largely responsible for, to cite a few, the Second World War, the current war in Iraq and the daily war being waged against women, children and LGBTQ people across the world.

My prayer is that the people of Canada will never be hungry, never sit back and allow politicians hungry for power to force them into starvation that leads to the death of humanity.

In 1980, the same year that almost 900 Jamaicans were killed due to political hunger, the Presidential Commission On World Hunger concluded that:
"Each major cause of hunger could be averted or overcome if the human community were to act cooperatively and decisively.

"Conversely, the persistence of hunger reflects a lack of sufficient political will to eliminate its causes. If decisions and actions well within the capability of nations and people working together were implemented, it would be possible to eliminate the worst aspects of hunger and malnutrition by the year 2000."
There is deep wisdom in those words -- are you listening?



Cartoon available at web site of C.T.L.

P.S. Have you given thought to who you will be nominating as the Comforting Words Woman of 2006? Join me this International Women’s Day, in letting a woman know that she is a message of hope, strength and courage to her community and this one – Comforting Words.

My idea is to present to one woman a gratitude and love package from the Members of Comforting Words, spurring her on to continue doing what she is doing to make her family (whatever that looks like), her community and, by extension, the world a more nurturing place.

Beginning January 15, 2006, each Member, i.e., someone who has joined our mailing list, can submit the name of a woman in his/her sphere of influence who they feel is a symbol of hope, strength and courage. To be eligible to nominate your Comforting Words Woman of 2006 and have her receive what I am sure will be a box full of support and encouragement, you must join our mailing list by February 15, 2006. Scroll, find and click on the "Join Our Mailing List," box to the right of your screen.

Please note, you cannot nominate yourself nor the hostess of Comforting Words.

Members are asked to submit a short description of this woman and why you have nominated her, along with a gift of no more than US$20.00 in value to me (I will provide my mailing address via email) by February 10, 2006. Your article must also include a description of your gift and why you chose it.

As your submissions are received, they will be edited for privacy and posted on Comforting Words for all to review. On February 15, readers will be asked to vote, selecting the woman who we will honour this year. A basket/box of all the gifts will be sent by airmail to this Comforting Words Woman of 2006 in time for March 8.


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