WHEN WILL WE EVER LEARN?

Human beings believe that the world is theirs for the taking. It is the privilege of intelligence. Consequently, the land, sea, air and space (the whole of creation) is their God-given patrimony for their enjoyment. This is how they read the holy texts. Is there a different way of looking at our so-called rights? Yes, there is.

According to great visionaries, luminaries and intellectuals we have more duties than rights.

According to the old mindset which still determines behaviour, ‘might is right’. The strong tribe has no qualms about subduing and exploiting the weak one. The powerful country has no qualms about invading and pillaging weaker countries. The macho has no qualms about harassing, bullying, raping, molesting and killing weaker people, especially women and children. Intelligent creatures should use their intelligence to behave more intelligently. They should know that all over the universe, intelligent species have clear duties to perform. The first duty is to know ‘oneself’ and find out how it all started. Did the Big Bang start by itself or was it the product of a will? Are we here to enjoy the fruits of creation or should we consider ourselves as stewards of creation? What are the main duties of Earth stewards?

The economic system which now dominates the planet with its Trump, Xi Jinping, Putin, Netanyahu, Modi, Bolsonaro and other devotees of Mammon spells ruin and desolation for 99% of the world population and opulence and luxury for 1%. In Mauritius, all main political parties are agents of greedy and selfish Mammon and Mauritian big money is tied up with world big money.

God gave us a garden and now it’s turning into a graveyard. This was the message of Pope Francis and not ‘Keep Mauritius clean to attract tourists’ but our political, economic and religious leaders chose to hear the latter.

Instead of singing the praise of power, I prefer to sing with Bob Dylan and think of the new world of solidarity and sharing we have to build for our grandchildren.

How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man
How many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand
Yes, ‘n’ how many times must the cannon balls fly
Before they’re forever banned
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind

Yes, ‘n’ how many years can a mountain exist
Before it’s washed to the sea
Yes, ‘n’ how many years can some people exist
Before they’re allowed to be free
Yes, ‘n’ how many times can a man turn his head
And pretend that he just doesn’t see
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind

Yes, ‘n’ how many times must a man look up
Before he can see the sky
Yes, ‘n’ how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry
Yes, ‘n’ how many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind

I can also sing it in Mauritian: So repons Pe Santé dan Divan

Komie mil ki nou bizen krazé
Avan ki zot rekonet nou
Komie brizan nou bizen traversé
Pou ki nou kapav repozé
Ki kantité bom nou bizen zeté
Avan ki lapé triyonfé
So repons matlo pe santé dan divan
So repons pe santé dan divan

Komie letan enn montagn dibouté
Avan ki bann vag aval li
Komie letan dimoun bizen soufer
Avan ki bann lasenn kasé
Komie letan nou pou tourn nou lizié
Fer kwar ki nou pa pe trouvé
So repons matlo pe santé dan divan
So repons pe santé dan divan

Komie letan nou bizen get lao
Avan nou dekouver lesiel
Komie zorey ki nou tou nou bizen
Avan nou tann zanfan ploré
Komie disan ki nou bizen versé
Pou ki nou kriye for “Asé!”
So repons matlo pe santé dan divan
So repons pe santé dan divan

16.09.19

I BELIEVE

As a Hindu, I believe in the concept of ‘avtarr’ (avatar) i.e. the Holy Spirit may at times take a human shape to guide humanity as Lord Krishna did in the Mahabharata. In the Old Testament, Moses another ‘avtarr’ guided mankind on the path to freedom. Then the Holy Spirit in the shape of Jesus came to teach us Love and Mercy; some 500 years later another ‘avtarr’ came in the shape of Prophet Muhammad to teach us solidarity and sharing.

I believe, as a non-practising Hindu, that the present time is perhaps the most dangerous humanity has had to face. The planet is in danger of death as a result of our doings. Our very existence is at stake. Very urgent and drastic changes are to be contemplated. Fossil fuels have to be banned and replaced by renewables; forests have to be ‘replanted’; intensive chemical-dependent monoculture has to be replaced by organic agriculture which “is a system that relies on ecosystem management rather than external agricultural inputs. It is a system that begins to consider potential environmental and social impacts by eliminating the use of synthetic inputs, such as synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, veterinary drugs, genetically modified seeds and breeds, preservatives, additives and irradiation. These are replaced with site-specific management practices that maintain and increase long-term soil fertility and prevent pest and diseases” (F.A.O). Animal husbandry must be radically changed; consumerism must be curbed and wastage eliminated. Who will do this?

Most powerful political leaders are in cahoots with the world oligarchs who will use all means, by hook or by crook, to maintain the status quo. Quite a few religious, social and cultural leaders are mere doormats of the rich. The peoples of the world are at a loss. Hence, a general feeling of despair, especially among the youths who have lost their bearings.

In this situation of general morass and chaos, suddenly a clear and powerful voice is heard: that of Pope Francis. In very clear terms blended with full moral authority he, without fear, tells us what is to be done. The system of production and consumption worshipped by the rich and powerful is wrong; it is killing the planet; it generates injustice; it is destroying “Mercy, Pity, Peace and Love”.

Pope Francis is our present day ‘avtarr’, the divine with a human face whose coming was perhaps announced 250 years ago by the great visionary William Blake in the poem, THE DIVINE IMAGE.

To Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love
All pray in their distress;
And to these virtues of delight
Return their thankfulness.

For Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love
Is God, our father dear,
And Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love
Is Man, his child and care.

For Mercy has a human heart,
Pity a human face,
And Love, the human form divine,
And Peace, the human dress.

Then every man, of every clime,
That prays in his distress,
Prays to the human form divine,
Love, Mercy, Pity, Peace.

And all must love the human form,
In heathen, Turk, or Jew;
Where Mercy, Love, and Pity dwell
There God is dwelling too.

The Mauritian version also exists:

                     PORTRÉ BONDIE

Pardon, Pitié, Lapé, Lamour
Nou priyé dan traka;
Kan lapriyer finn ekzosé
Nou dir mersi Papa.

Pardon, Pitié, Lapé, Lamour
Limem Mama-Papa;
Pardon, Pitié, Lapé, Lamour
Se So Zanfan, twa, mwa.

Pardon ena leker imen;
Pitié se so vizaz;
Lamour se Bondie vinn imen;
Lapé se lenz dimoun.

Kan dimoun partou kote
Pe priyé dan traka,
Zot priyé Bondie vinn imen:
Lamour, Pardon, Pitié, Lapé.

Bizen kontan Bondie Imen
Ki li payen ou Zwif.
Kan Pardon, Lamour, Pitié la
Bondie ‘si li la.

13.09.19