Monthly Archives: August 2015

THE WRECK OF THE REPUBLIC

Independence military parade. Photo © Rubadiri Victor

Independence military parade. “…the brown faces in their uniforms.” Photo © 2015, Rubadiri Victor

On Independence morning 2015 thousands of citizens flocked to the Queen’s Park Savannah and surroundings to see and feel evidence of their Republic. I too was looking for it in the live broadcast. And at times I glimpsed it: in the dedication of the brown faces in their uniforms, and in the applause of pride by the gathered population in their national colours… It was as if I briefly saw her in a back room whilst I was being escorted elsewhere… And yes, I wept at those times when I glimpsed the battered beauty of the Nation on the floor of her torture room, draped in her flag, awaiting rescue… Still beautiful and defiant despite it all… And I kept looking until the parade ended, constantly looking for those glances of her. The Nation…

And I understand the thing that drives those thousands to the streets of the capital. The need to have the nation affirmed. To witness it the only way it ever evidences itself- in temporary pageant. In event. Live!..

Live… She appears in the assemblage and marching of dedicated local troops in single file; or in the live footage of the Soca Warriors on a field in Germany with their hands on their hearts whilst the National Anthem blares and our flag waves for 2 billion people to see, and we cry, and wear Soca Warrior stickers on our cars till the paint and memory fades… Or we sense her, live again, when we witness a brilliant costume in Carnival, Hosay, or Ramleela, or when we collectively hear a great Road March… Or when another sportsman or artists reminds us that there is something called Trinidad and Tobago, something out there, an idea, a rhythm, a capacity to joke, wine, and lime… A unique form of humanity. A Magic. A thing. A thing that awaits me to complete itself… That awaits us… A lightning we have not yet bottled, not yet given back to ourself as a Gift. Something we have failed to construct a House for. Something we can only feel- Live!
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