The state of existence as a tribalist is when one is living with a distinctive characteristic so as to be identified with a particular identifiable distinctive group. This status quo surfaces to facilitate the tribal member who is excessively loyal to his own group. The term is more readily used to describe the situation where one puts his group above all other considerations including patriotism, justice and altruism, but only to a member of his own tribe. Tribalism usually result in bigotry, hatred, and racism. A couple nights back I was listening to a call-in radio show in Trinidad and if this wasn’t tribalism, then nothing else could be.

My observation stems from a guest who called into one of the local radio stations and shouted, “all you people—the Indians are selling the drugs to the Africans and that the Indians are to be blamed for the Afro brothers being hooked on drugs”. The radio host replied, “It is simple do not buy the drugs!”

First of all this caller and indeed many other members of T&T society should update their semantics. The term “Indian” usually means an inhabitant of India and likewise an African is an inhabitant from the African continent. Using these terms referring to Trinbagonians is outdated; they are only used by tribalists and the like, stuck in the past. This caller and perhaps a few others like him are trying to resurrect the 50s, and 60s in Trinidad, when the PNM-DLP dichotomy flourished.

The Black Power movement and the NAR chasing the PNM out of power changed all of that. What is most contradictory is that tribalists with such stripes are doing the dirty work of the one-percenters and rich gang leaders who are the major enablers of drug trafficking. The caller and another like him cited examples of the deceased Dole Chadee and other “Indian” business people from the San Juan area. These alleged drug dealers are perhaps the only ones who could have been caught as they were not shielded by the power elites in the country. Following the tribalists’ reasoning, then by implication it was the Indian government that went after the Indian drug dealers and put them out of business. I hope these tribalists and the likes get my drift or else it says something about their IQ.

Ash Maharaj

via e-mail

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