Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Stella Says…The Flutter of A Butterfly’s Wings Can Be Powerful

(Originally published in the Kaieteur News on 08 Nov 2005)

Sometimes we don’t understand that even the smallest action can cause a powerful reaction that can never be retracted. There is a statement that once caught my attention that maintains, “When a butterfly flutters its wings in one part of the world, it can eventually cause a hurricane in another.”

I’m not so sure this statement is indeed true, since logic would then say there would be a hurricane for every time a butterfly takes flight. However, it is the nuance of this statement that speaks to me by implying that even the smallest and most seemingly innocent act can produce very potent consequences. It is with this in mind that I examine some recent actions that may at first seem small and maybe even inconsequential, but in the end have great significance.

When I asked Sweet and Sensitive Freddie Kissoon to address the situation with the parliamentarian seats belonging to the PPP and PNC that are now being filled by AFC members, I asked for an academic and intellectual dissertation and for him to be honest about how he felt on the issue.

On the first point, Freddie certainly did not disappoint me in his column on Sunday. His exposition was absolutely brilliant, though it was exactly what I expected. I had already told a friend what Freddie’s response would be – that he would take the philosophical route instead of the religious route to determine a moral foundation.

I was a bit taken aback at his use of Bentham as opposed to John Stuart Mill when arguing the Greatest Happiness Principle, but that just shows that Freddie is definitely “old school” – and I can respect that. Either way, the point was well taken since Bentham is to Mill what Socrates is to Plato. Bravo, Freddie!

Though if we were going to argue the Greatest Happiness Principle, I would think the best choice would be for the AFC members to resign since that would restore the faith of the people in their ability to make the right decisions and to completely cut ties with their former parties. This is what will help the AFC win the elections next year and thus bring peace and joy to the land.

It is on the second point of my request that Freddie has disappointed me greatly. Not only did he completely skirt the issue of how he personally felt about this situation, but he danced around the subject altogether – as was evident to even a close friend who called him before breakfast on Sunday to say as much. And boy what a dance it was!

Therefore, Sweet and Sensitive Freddie made another attempt to clarify himself on this issue in his Monday column. Sadly though, instead of telling us what he personally thinks about this situation, he turns the table and tells us we are all sinners and should be worried about all the other ills of Guyanese society instead of this one. In other words, we should allow this one should slide with the rest of the corruption.

And I thought we were talking about a change in the political landscape.

It is a typical move in debate to offer long-winded responses or to throw inciting accusations around to distract the other person from the subject at hand. But I am not so easily distracted. Offended? Yes. Distracted? No. I specifically asked Freddie not to insult my intelligence by playing such games in his response, yet instead he tossed in a lengthy philosophical treatise (which I did appreciate) and then threw a fit in which he pronounced the rest of Guyana void of conscience.

Since the decision on this matter by the three AFC members will no doubt impact the credibility of their party, this issue is not one that should treated as trivial. Though that is exactly what Freddie has asked for us to do. We are expected to look the other way because that is what Guyanese have to do everyday.

After two columns on the subject, Freddie never did say what he thought the three AFC members should do or if they have taken the right road. He avoided the question I asked about his feelings on this matter in a spectacular philosophical treatise, which was an essay any astute philosophy student could have pounded that out in an hour or so, and then offered a torrent of accusations.

In the end, Freddie had written so many words and said absolutely nothing. I believe this to be a purposeful act since my friend has never had a problem expressing his views before this particular issue.

Now he knows I have to call him on this, but I won’t go much farther than that. I find it incredulous that he would think anyone in Guyana believes for one second that he does not hold an opinion on this matter since he seems to have an impassioned view to share on almost any subject that can be discussed amongst humans.

I have a sneaky suspicion that he does indeed have an opinion on this matter. How could Frederick Kissoon not have an opinion on any political issue? However, I also believe that rather than be dishonest to himself by giving an answer other than how he truly felt, he chose the easy road – evasion. (I think I heard the fluttering of a butterfly’s wing)

I may be wrong, but I think he may have chosen to avoid the question so that it doesn’t seem like he is unsupportive of his new party. This is his choice and I do understand his reasons for skirting the question. I do not have to take a stance on any political party and therefore choose to call this situation as I see it.

However, he must now be the understanding one whilst the rest of the nation mourns the departure of his trademark candid and honest assessments on the political climate in Guyana. (I hear another flutter of wings and forecast a devastating hurricane)

Perhaps we should take another approach on this matter. Let’s forget the moral definitions of Bentham, Mill and Kant for a minute and look at this situation from another perspective. From a purely public relations standpoint, this issue is a slow suicide for the AFC. Letters keep pouring in calling for their resignation, yet these three seem unmoved in their decision. (Flutter, flutter)

This is where I will let this matter drop since I too have hope that one day another party will rescue Guyana from its depressing political situation. But dear friend, please remind your “gang of three” that it is the will of the people that is paramount. Not their wills or the will of any party. This holds true now for this situation and for when they get into office.

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