2008, like 2007, ends with a bang that will usher in 2009. In December 2007, it was the assassination of Benazir Bhutto while on the campaign trail that rocked the world as Christendom celebrated one of its high holy periods. This time around, the Christ birthday party and New Year’s bash are being overshadowed by the latest Israeli/Palestinian bout of the millenial Arab-Israeli conflict.
It has become almost pointless to apportion blame to the Israelis or Palestinians for the massacre and complete disregard for each other’s humanity that by extension they visit upon the world. If an attack on democracy anywhere is an attack on freedom everywhere, the attack on another for religion anywhere is an attack on us all for religious reasons everywhere.
In our Caribbean arena, the global financial crisis has affected us whether we’re in Bridgetown, Kingston, Tokyo or London. As sugar, bananas and mining industries have dwindled only Trinidad with its oil had seemed able to withstand the economic onslaught but as the crisis reached a zenith and oil prices tumble even that relative security is fragile.
The resultant overdependence on tourism has created environmental and real estate monsters that threaten the foundations of our societies: coastal areas are being eroded and sand stolen to create perfect beaches for tourists; windows to the sea are being closed to locals, ocean front lots and salubrious mountain sides are being auctioned to foreiegners in gated communities and golf courses are replacing formerly productive agricultural lands, consuming water not available in pipes to locals.
The literal demise of the Caribbean Media Corporation, which had consolidated the assets of the Caribbean News Agency (CANA) and the Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU) in mariage of conveninence to secure European Union finncial support is returning the actual Caribbean to silos of solitude, ignorant of the common problems with which we are daily confronted and the common solutions to be sought. So Vincentians do not know that the environmental or energy challenges they face are also confronting Jamaicans.
While for some the solutions to the seemingly insurmountable issues are to be addressed with prayers, and others a militant activism, we at Abeng News have decided that our approach will be to help bridge communities. We are not building new communities but puttin touch old communities that need to be in communcation. We won’t be condemning the Palestinians or the Israelis as enough of that is shared by the UN and the various governments and interested parties; we won’t be contributing to the chaos on frontlines ina world which already knows the value of mutuality and cooperation.
Instead we will tell you about what the people of Granville, St James, Jamaica are doing to help themselves and you can decide how you can help with their work. A we will be telling you about the folks like the unsung heroes being supported by FirstCaribbean International Bank and again giving you the chance to make your voice heard.
Welcome to our vritual Caribbean community – a mission off on with a bang!