Monday, June 12, 2006

Pirates in Heroes Clothing

By Marcus M. Mottley, Ph.D.

Why are we surprised that our resident Pirate of the Caribbean is heartless? A quote from Kurt Vonnegut should give us both insight and clarity about our modern day “Pirate in Heroes Clothing.”

“The chief weapon of pirates, was their capacity to astonish. Nobody else could believe, until it was too late, how heartless and greedy they were.”

Certainly, over the last ten years, Antiguans and Barbudans have been astonished by the nefarious, malicious, vengeful, controlling, and manipulative ploys of the Pirate of the Caribbean who partially resides here.

Nobody could believe” it when the pilots were threatened, when the islands were filched, when the airport lands were purloined, when credible Antiguans were incredibly enticed into and then unceremoniously kicked out from his organization, when… well, it’s too much… let me stop.

But I must add that many people who sincerely believed that this “Pirate” was a “Hero” are now doing an abrupt ‘about face’ in light of his recent heartless action related to a local program involving a “House” full of dependent women and children.

The fact is that Vonnegut is right… Pirates, whether they are from the Caribbean or elsewhere are not only ‘heartless’ they are also greedyexcessively greedy. Modern day pirates like the one who has leeched himself onto us, will not be involved in anything unless there is either an obvious or devious and carefully manipulated scheme behind their apparently “heroic” offerings.

Pirates will offer you a carrot and when it is time to spring their trap, they will of course snatch it away. The bigger the carrot… the more devious the trap. And there is something else… the bigger the victim’s perceived need… the bigger the carrot and the more devious, elaborate and emotionally appealing the trap will be.

These are not ordinary carrots. Pirates, we must remember, deal only in gold and silver and things that are precious and of high value. And their gold and silver don’t belong to them either… they ‘acquire’ those from other people. So these are ‘acquired’ golden carrots that are offered to needy victims.

And we in Antigua are ripe for the pickings… vulnerable because there is a lot of need... just the kind of situation for a greedy pirate. Pirates of old never operated in England, or their home territories. Modern day pirates don't operate their piratical activities in their homes either... There, they are on their best behavior... Apparently... But here... we are easy pickings - psychologically and materially!

A case in point is our needy cricketing teams not only from Antigua… but from around the region – and of course our Windies cricket team. Their needs are off the charts…

So here comes the Pirate of… well… the West Indies… Here he comes with a humongous golden carrot… wait… not one carrot… but a whole ‘crocus bag’ full of them… And of course, our cricket legends get sucked in, our cricket boards get sucked in, (the politicians are already sucked in) our cricketers get sucked in… and of course the public gets sucked in… into the trap of course. When will the trap be sprung? Who knows? The pirate of course…

There is a psychological, Machiavellian one-man game going on. It is a simple ruse. It is also a psycho-physiological ploy used by the drug cartels (that is an intriguing parallel). Get the people hooked… and you have got them addicted and dependent for life! In this case, money is the drug...

Forget about teaching people to fish… just give them the fish… make them dependent… and you can take their lands, their houses, their little islands, corrupt their best minds, make the best and brightest of their youth dependent on and addicted to their ‘gold’, control their political parties, manipulate their politicians, own their ministers (both types)… take away their big island, own and manipulate the current “king’s” advisors, maybe even one day - own the “king”… or become the “king”.

Sounds impossible? Well if you analyze the above carefully, our resident Pirate is more than half way there…

Let’s go back to Vonnegut’s quotation: “The chief weapon of pirates was their capacity to astonish. Nobody else could believe, until it was too late, how heartless and greedy they were.”

Let us focus on the phrase “until it was too late.” It’s too late for those pilots. It’s too late for ……… - (well I don’t want to call my friend’s name), it’s too late for some of the staff bribed, enticed and stolen away from our indigenous airline (then, of course, kicked to the curb) … it’s too late for the contractors that were sacked… it’s too late to get our lands back… it’s too late to get our islands back… and the Airport… well – that’s an on-going story.

And it is too late for the poor, unfortunate residents of the House…. All they wanted was the temporary shelter they were promised, a hot meal and somewhere to lay their heads at night. That's all they wanted... temporary relief! But...

It will soon be too late for LIAT – that’s another story.

It might take one year, or it might take five… (it took 8 years before the heroic plans for the House were abandoned) but it will be too late for our cricket… Maybe it is already too late…

And it will be too late for any government that depends on and gets addicted to the Pirate's golden carrots... Maybe its too late there too...