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Something called Nobility

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

There is a nobility deficiency and there is no vitamin pill or steroid injection that can produce this in order to reform the mind. But what exactly is nobility? What is this seemingly elusive quality. The word noble, according to the Oxford Dictionary, describes someone who is magnanimous, possessing lofty character, rank, title, imposing appearance etc. But rank and title do not provide nobility, because it has been proven, over and over, that there are people who have rank and title but possess zero nobility. So there is a Vitamin N factor that should be viewed as significant, even compulsory, as we choose leadership for different organisations. It should be a value that should permeate the arts, sports, business, church and politics etc. Journalists, social commentators, religious leaders, par- liamentarians should have a generous supply of nobility. When Ravi B behaved in such an atrocious manner, inciting the crowd because he failed to capture the chutney soca crown, you know he has a Vitamin N deficiency. The sensationalism that drives the me-dia trade provides little space for nobility.

Nobility involves the golden rule; it is the best way to conquer revenge. Nobility involves courage, risking one’s life to save others. It puts country before self and is as resilient as the Rock of Gibraltar. Nobility embarrasses those who exploit a crisis for personal gain. Integrity is the hallmark of the just and the noble. Let us look at some critical examples. There are police officers and fire officers who go beyond the call of duty. They do not compromise the eternal principles that God designed for the human race. They resist the bribes that are offered, because they have faith in God and they think of long-term benefits and not short-term profits. In other words, they look at the big picture. Think of a burning building about to collapse, and think of fire officers with an overdose of cour-age and commitment, rushing into the inferno to rescue a child. Think about sons and daughters who take care of their sick and aging parents, refusing to dump and abandon them in a geriatric facility. But think about the others who leave their parents to suffer, don’t care a hoot about them, and then go to the funeral, screaming as crocodile tears flow from their concrete hearts. I have been reliably informed that the opposite of noble is ignoble.
Think about the balisier section of the crowd at Calypso Fiesta who waved toilet paper at De Fosto and booed the Prime Minister.

They have no nobility, and are a poor example to their children. Some calypsonians in this country possess a huge Vitamin N deficiency.  You see, nobility enables you to appreciate diversity and the strengths of your rivals. Nobility looks beyond the tangibles, and assists you in appreciating the intangibles. How many years will the judges affirm Sugar Aloes in his constant hounding of Mr Panday? Who selects the judges? What is their claim to fame? Educators say values are more caught than taught. Well, well, well—are parents aware of the impact of their horrid and torrid example? Some of our artists like Cro Cro never enjoyed the luxury of appreciating unity in diversity. They are not interested in the synergy created when the Ganges meets the Nile, they ignore the perils of the black male crisis triggering a female crisis. So they use the national cultural stage to punish Afro-Trinidadians who voted for a government led by an Indo-Trinidadian. As far as Cro Cro is concerned, that is the unpardonable sin.

Time and time again, I have stated that culture—music, poetry, drama, fashion etc—must be an elevator and not just a mirror. While the artists must comment on what is there, they must be objective and not engage in blaming and hating. One would have taught that with an escalating murder toll, and the number of youth that we are losing, that there would be a display of greater nobility—including a profound level of responsibility. But alas, the opposite occurred. The subtle and not so subtle racist lines dominated some of the lyrics. We cannot leave people where they are; we have to move people to where they should be. For a moment, look at the savage, tragic killing of Daniel Guerra. Just eight, but a target of the paranoid vampires in this society. And please, let us remember that he is not the first. Have we forgotten Akiel Chambers? Sean Luke was just six when he was butchered, Hope Arismandez was eight when she was raped and stabbed. Have we forgotten Kenne-dy Deolal,just four years old, who was forced to drink poison? Recall the bludgeoning of nine-month-old Rakeem Ricardo Clarke.

We need more safe homes for battered children and women. We need to pass the Children’s Bill which collapsed after parliamentary meanderings. But beyond the bill, we need the will and the nobility. Each citizen must play his part and play his part diligently. Revenge, bacchanal, subjectivity, racism, discrimination will not help us to develop noble individuals or a total quality nation. We have almost reached to the point of no return. Ignoble parents and adults cannot help children to internalise the values of courage, honesty, nobility and sacrifice. With corruption comes a steaming dose of indiscipline. How much lower can we get? We now have a bottle of white oak diluted with water, selling for $2 million. Alas! Capitalism gone chutney! Wine! Wine! And more wine! Leg wine and neck wine, even shoulder wine. A calypso patriarch with the help of his children affirming what has become a wine and jam festival. Our schools continue to be all-inclusive fete centres. Drink the poison and wine your way to the cemetery.

Stop the madness, do not send double signals to our youth. Climbing the nobility mountain may seem insurmountable, but by God’s grace it will be possible. In the book Power, Ambition and Glory written by Steve Forbes and John Devas, there is the record of a conversation between Socrates and his pupils. Socrates is asked by his pupils about what makes the best leader. He gave the flowing reply: “The man who steps forward in a time of need—motivated not by ego or financial gain but by a sense of duty to benefit the society to which he belongs—then when the task is completed, returns to his former life, no wealthier than when he began.” Leaders in the society must engage in thought stimulation, but we must also engage in soul stimulation. An inspirational leader is what is required to save the country from the “myopicity” of ignoble characters. We cannot romanticise with prejudice and expect our children to resist negative peer pressure and the gangs. When a member from the opposing team scores a high-quality goal, we must applaud. That is nobility. When our enemy is ill, we must lovingly transport her to the hospital. That is nobility. When the neighbours are starving, we must feed them until they are back on their feet again. That is nobility. Dear Lord, I pray to you to grant us an overdose of nobility. Grant us self-control. Help us not to exploit the Achilles’ heel of those who are our enemies. Grant us grace, strength, courage and humility.


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