Aiyegoro Ome

I want to pay my respects to the life of Brother Resistance, Lutalo Masimba. During his time on earth, he was one of many Keepers of the Word. I call them Keepers of the Word because they have been custodians of Trinidad and Tobago’s oral tradition.

If we wish to remember Resistance honourably, we must see him as part of a community of artistes that was birthed out of the era called the Roaring 70s, as Brother Valentino said it in a calypso.

Resistance and others wrote, recited, sang, chanted, drummed to proclaim the aspirations of a generation of Trinidadians and Tobagonians who wanted to change this country into something more noble than the one they had met.

The Establishment, as we still call it, would have liked to silence them but it failed as it was unsuccessful in curbing the calypsonians, our nation’s other Keepers of the Word.

Artistes like Resistance gained popular support and established themselves when they took part in innumerable cultural events such as those held by the National Joint Action Committee. They and the calypsonians spoke the language of the masses.

In most cases these Keepers of the Word came from Laventille and its adjacent communities in East Port of Spain. There were also some from South Trinidad. Some have passed on; others are now in their 70s and 80s. And all of them have created a legacy worthy of our respect.

They have been followed by the current rapso and spoken word artistes. These younger performers have inherited the craft and commitment of Brother Resistance’s generation.

I can’t remember all of them, maybe you, the reader, can help me remember.

Here are some who have transitioned: Alfred Fraser, Ceteswayo Murai, Cheryl Byron, Lancelot Kebu Layne (the founder of rapso), Lasana Kwesi, Leroy Calliste (the poet who shared the birth name of Black Stalin), Mansa Musa (Rudolf Lord), Onika Grainger, my late companion, and Wayne Davis from San Fernando.

And some are still with us: Abdul Malik, Brother Book, Brother Mze (from South), Joseph Cummings, Kasi Senghor, Karega Mandela and Pearl Eintou Springer.

Some of them wrote books, some have had recordings and all of their works are out there in the atmosphere.

We should not continue to do what we are doing now. We should not be playing Resistance’s music for a few days and nights until his funeral and then forget him. Please, we need to stop that. We have done it too often to our heroes in the arts, for that matter all our achievers.

If we persist, we shall not only dishonour Brother Resistance, but all artistes who have been and continue to be his spiritual companions, the Keepers of the Word.

The author is a member of the SINUHE Centre

Foundation of Mt Lambert

RECOMMENDED FOR YOU

As it prepares to ramp up its communications to counteract vaccine hesitancy, the Ministry of Health’s best chance for success lies in aligning its messaging to the concerns of its target audience.

With the race now on to get vaccines into arms before the more transmissible Delta variant arrives, it might be too late for crafting a scientifically sound public awareness campaign. Nonetheless, a willingness to listen and learn will go a long way in erasing lingering doubts and changing minds.

I have termed Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and his Finance Minister Colm Imbert the “Diego Martin dinosaurs”, politicians “intellectually fossilised by fossil fuels” who failed to see the global energy revolution threatening the nation’s economy, about which I warned repeatedly for five years.

I got vaccinated last week. I received the first of two doses of the Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine. I chose the drive-through option at the Ato Boldon Stadium because it is close to my home and I didn’t have to leave the privacy or comfort of my car to queue up at any stage of the proceedings, which is helpful to people who suffer with Parkinson’s and similar neurological disorders.

Once more, the families of seafarers are left to mourn the death of their relatives out at sea. This time the victims are two fishermen who apparently were attacked by pirates.

The incidents of people drowning at sea have become far too prevalent. It is time the authorities make the wearing of life jackets on open vessels mandatory. This would help to save the lives of many people, whether they are fishermen or people on pleasure trips.

Vaccine hesitancy is a delay in acceptance or refusal of vaccines despite the availability of vaccine services.

Vaccine hesitancy is complex and context-specific, varying across time, place and vaccines. It is influenced by factors such as complacency, convenience and confidence.

There is a story about a Samaritan called “good” in the Bible because he did not walk past a suffering Jew. He had no prior relationship with the man lying beaten on the roadside, was not part of his community, yet he acted out of compassion. Giving up his rights and freedom, he helped the man recover and get on with life.