A shimmering light of optimism

25 mai 2023, 09:14


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If one day in the future, you flick through the pages of our history in the last 10 years, you will come across one dark episode after another. The nomination of cronies at virtually all the institutions that were once independent and reducing them to doormats will be one of the biggest stains as it is leading to the gradual death of our democracy. Cronyism, political patronage and clientelism will also stand out as shameful scars.

The ugliest blot when we look back one day will be the mediocrity of the people we elected to represent us at the once august national assembly. Our children and grandchildren will never forgive us for that, as that one single mistake is destroying our democracy. And sadly, we have only ourselves to blame.

Can you blame our MPs for what they did this week when they all sheepishly voted a law to rob us of our right to choose our local representatives when the Privy Council has just ruled such a law unacceptable in another Commonwealth country? How can you blame a horde of starving sheep who have spent most of their lives in the arid desert and suddenly discovered a lush oasis from doing everything they are made to do – even if it’s illegal, immoral or unethical – not to have to go back to their previous insignificant lives? Can you imagine TD 18, TJ 5, DC 472, RP 13, VA 308, R 2154, R 2113, IR 13, RP 14, P 13 going back to their previous job or looking for a well-paid one? How many of them would you employ?

So, they willingly vote for all the laws thrust upon them, unashamedly ask all the outrageous parliamentary questions and read all the notes blatantly prepared by others for them, just to stay in power and maybe prove their sycophancy so they are given a ticket to bid for another term in office. Now, are you surprised that those who were elected to protect your interests are protecting theirs instead? Are you surprised then that not a single one of them raised their voice to object to the vile and ignominious act of robbing you of your democratic right to vote for your representative in the municipal elections?

In the middle of this dark sea, let’s still keep hope. This week, while the chatwas were voting to annul our franchise, the Director of Public Prosecutions bravely stood up to defend a fundamental civic right we have lost – that of the presumption of innocence. He called out the police for slapping provisional charges on people who are presumed innocent and stressed the need to consult his office before taking such decisions. We all know that the police have been targeting political opponents and those who are perceived to be close to them. Many of these hapless citizens have been victim to arbitrary arrests, house raids, humiliation, violation of their intimacy and privacy and at times prolonged detention and imprisonment. For the first time, someone has dared call them to order.

And while talking about the DPP, let’s not forget the MSM-proposed Prosecution Commission and what this country would have become had then Deputy Prime Minister Xavier Duval not pulled his whole party – minus some chatwas – out of government to thwart the enactment of a law that would have reduced an independent office to a subsidiary of a ministry. The motive behind this failed attempt to subordinate and shackle the Office of the DPP is blatant every time there’s a case to unlawfully oppress an opponent or absolve a crony.

While men and women are trampling on their own dignity to serve their selfish interests, while we blame ourselves – as we should – for the mediocrity and opportunism of those we have elected, it is equally appropriate to applaud the fearlessness and selflessness required to buck the trend in what is inexorably becoming a totalitarian state.

Let the shimmering light of those bravely fighting for our rights be a cause for some slight optimism. Let their selflessness imbue with a dignified fragrance the smelly chapters of the history books we are writing.