Tony Deyal, Contributor
"Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness; for they shall be filled."
This line from the Sermon on the Mount comes from Matthew 5:6 of the King James Version of the Bible, the simplest of language, the most beautiful and moving prose, words that reach deep into the heart and soul.
The problem, as Martin Luther King said about equal rights in his 'I Have a Dream' speech, is that it is a promissory note, and while it might strike a responsive chord from the harps of the angels up there in Heaven, down here on earth it is a deep discord, especially when you take on the Establishment.
Dr Wayne Kublalsingh, an academic and social activist, has been clamouring for a review of a highway project that would disrupt the lives of many people in one of the agricultural areas of South Trinidad. He thought that those who had ears to hear and were not minding his plea for a review would be moved to listen if he embarked on a hunger strike, or fast.
Hunger is a slow death, but not half as slow as the government to at least empathise with Dr Kublalsingh's idealism, if not his cause, and not half as fast as their counterattack on his motives, character, mother, family, and credibility.
The minister of national security in Trinidad and Tobago is Jack Warner of FIFA fame.
There was Warner, on a hastily erected anti-Kublalsingh political platform, describing Dr Kublalsingh as a "conman" and treating the crowd to some gallows humour: "They say the prime minister is killing Wayne Kublalsingh, but he is killing himself, and he better do it quickly!"
Mr Warner, who may now have to face an enquiry for not telling the truth in Parliament and is reported as being investigated by different national and international law-enforcement agencies, disclosed that Kublalsingh was staying at homes in Maraval, a northern suburb, and Marabella in South Trinidad and "eating more hearty than you".
He embellished his claim further: "My advice is that when he (Kublalsingh) goes to his secret homes in Maraval and Vistabella, he has a hearty meal. I am even advised that last week he was lying on the back seat of his vehicle eating a doubles. And it was not even a Debe doubles."
For the benefit of my non-Trini readers, Debe is a village in the centre of the highway storm, and doubles is a sandwich made with two small fried flatbreads and curried spicy chickpeas, or 'channa'. If there are three, instead of two, flatbreads, it is called a 'triple'. This also described the attack on Dr Kublalsingh's veracity and intentions.
First, they doubled up on him.
Then they mounted a triple threat. Environment Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal got his kicks from attacking the Kublalsingh family. A newspaper report quotes Moonilal as saying, "There is something surreal about this family. It appears to be a cult. Kublalsingh's mother has not intervened to save the life of her son. We must keep an eye on this family. What they did this week was bad, but they have now gone into radical political expression. There is one more step, the next step is violence."
Moonilal added, "Wayne is a fraudster, a trickster and a hoaxer. This fella has given instructions that his family can do what they want, but they have to make sure that he don't die. He wants to crawl to the grave but not jump in. The day after we lower the price of 7,000 food items, he decides to stop eating."
Despite all these attempts to stir up the people with the spectre of violence, the government, through former disc jockey George, is playing the same tune again and again, accusing Dr Kublalsingh of "using emotion to fight his cause".
Wikipedia's definition of a hunger strike is instructive. It says that a "hunger strike is a method of non-violent resistance or pressure in which participants fast as an act of political protest, or to provoke feelings of guilt in others, usually with the objective to achieve a specific goal, such as a policy change. The hunger strike is often terminated by the custodial entity through the use of force-feeding."
Like the beloved apostle Matthew, Wikipedia did not take into account the Trinidad government. First of all, neither Kublalsingh nor Matthew - not even the Almighty, for that matter - can provoke any feelings of guilt in the T&T government.
Wayne Kublalsingh can hunger and thirst for all he wants but, as one of my colleagues commented, if you know where a highway is going to be built and can buy the land cheaply, it is a question of gilt versus guilt. He also pointed out that it is not Kublalsingh that is being force-fed, but the people who believe Warner and the others.
My view is that the Trinidadian pronunciation of the word 'fast' holds the key. In this sense, while Wayne is fasting, the Government is on a massive 'farce'.
Tony Deyal was last seen saying that given Jack Warner's reputation, if Minister George wants to know who really moved the goalpost, he should check with Jack.