Guest editorial

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to accelerate and take us into unknown territory, its tentacles are spreading further and further.

The numbers of those infected and, or, dying are becoming hazier, the lines between truth and reality from the official sources are dissolving into clouds of indecipherable riddles, while social media is being overrun with conspiracy theories

At the time of writing, Guyana had just suffered its fifth death from the coronavirus, Boris Johnson, the British prime minister is in intensive care, and Japan has declared a state of emergency. The Earth is facing a crisis whether the powers that be choose to acknowledge or accept the situation.

In 1975, in the working class neighbourhood of Handsworth, just north of Birmingham, in England, three sons of Jamaican immigrants, inspired by Bob Marley and the Wailers’ Catch a Fire album, formed a musical band. The roots reggae group, Steel Pulse, despite the passage of time, the inevitable departures and arrivals of members, has managed to survive under the leadership of one of its founder members, David “Dread’’ Hinds. After a rough beginning, the group climbed the ranks of the genre, and in 1986, became the first non-Jamaican group to take win the Grammy for the Best Reggae album.

During this period of forced confinement, whilst the younger generation have kept themselves amused with video games, the older generation have sought to pass the time exploring activities of earlier life, which, for the most part, have been shelved by the pace of modern day living. Reading, looking at old movies (the VHS recorder permitting), listening to the music of their youth, and getting in touch with former high school classmates, are among the more popular choices.

One album t drawing some attention, is Steel Pulse’s fifth studio album, entitled Earth Crisis, which was released, ironically, in 1984 (George Orwell would be proud). Among the ten tracks, all penned by Hinds, are two songs, “Earth Crisis’’ and “Wild Goose Chase’’, which, uncannily, seemed to have predicted and captured the mood and the temperament of this disturbing period.

Hinds’ smooth delivery of the verses of both songs with their catchy choruses is worthy of further refection as we confront today’s challenges.

From Earth Crisis: “Misguided people

They don’t seem to care…”

“Lend ears to what I say

Man in his ignorant state

Has signed and sealed his own fate…”

Chorus: “Earth crisis Earth crisis

All this suffering

Earth crisis Earth crisis”

In the midst of one of mankind’s most difficult epochs on the planet, politicians have sought to manipulate this crisis to their own advantage, whether by minimising the threat of the pandemic or outright denial of its existence, either way exposing the public to serious health risks.

With each passing day, as the consciousness of the public rises and the questioning of the directions chosen of the powers that be, come under more scrutiny, the burning question of, “Where are we heading?’’, becomes even more pertinent.

Thirty-six years ago, David Hinds gave us the following verse and chorus in his song,

“Wild Goose Chase’’:

“Chemicals in the food

To control the population

Intentions to build a plastic nation…”

“On a wild goose chase...”

— Courtesy Stabroek News

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