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For Protest’s Sake Print E-mail
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Written by Jamil Matar   
Thursday, 22 August 2013 00:00

If you are a devoted fan of the evening news as I am, you will have noticed the extraordinary amount of protests being staged in our country these days. These protests did get highly emotional at times; especially the one where Ms. Matura gave a Fidel Castro-length speech and flung the gender policy booklet to the ground, and the other where an effigy was burnt in Toledo. I repeat; things were getting a bit emotional, but, to me, entertaining nevertheless. In fact, it gives me something to write about this week. As usual, I invite you to join me in exploring a little deeper into the genesis of these protests.

Most of us will acknowledge that when a protest is staged, regardless of the issues, there will be genuine organizers and participants in attendance who truly believe in their cause. We have to give these people our respect and our ears; they are the ones who truly strive to ventilate their concerns on issues they perceive to be wrong. I actually can identify with this class of protestors since it keeps our young democracy alive and kicking.

However, there is a small cluster of individuals who view protests as opportunities to hog up the limelight; either to get their fifteen seconds or to promote their personal agendas. Some of these people, like Don Hector, do it on the talk shows each morning (and nights now, I see) and unfailingly congest the phone lines, not to give their two cents, but the whole bleeding dollar. Sometimes it just gets under my skin when I hear these same gentlemen voicing their uninspiring opinions on every single subject under this sun. I quickly switch channels or turn off the radio completely.

Please excuse, since I digressed. Now let us get back to the issue that is presently on the front burner; the national gender policy. To be honest, I don’t think many people have read this document. To me, there is nothing deeply sinister in the booklet, and if there really is, nothing that cannot be settled around a table.

And if the evangelical churches believe that it comes too close on the heels of the Unibam challenge and can affect the outcome of the court case, well, they have the fundamental right to take issue with the document and protest publicly. Nobody can stop them, and nobody even tried.

Thing is, after the churches had completed their wave of marches, and PUPs TV had moved on to protest the cruise tourism MOU (Wade’s home-screen on this was the guy bending over with a ship in his butt; of all scenes to be aired on a so-called Christian TV station!), Menzies could not stop. He had gotten addicted to the microphone and he could not go cold turkey. Menzies wanted more air time.

Claiming to have had inside sources at UB (making it sound as if he had inside sources at the CIA), Menzies decided to mount a charge against the national university, UB, for “promoting the gender policy”. After being proved a fraud, he said “praise Jesus”, since, he claimed, it was because of his impending protest that the document was withdrawn from the curriculum. What is wrong with this man? Is he just protesting for protest’s sake?

Mein, how space gone! I really wanted do an in-depth essay about Khron and his disrespectful language aimed at our Government, and his one-man protest against cruise tourism (and the resultant creation of jobs and foreign exchange). I can’t believe the audacity of this man putting self-interest ahead of the good of our country. Individuals like him are nothing to play with; greed has eaten away their good senses, and replaced these with misplaced indignation. We need investments, local and international, and I am supportive of any effort to attract sound ones to our shores. Our government cannot afford to be swayed by personalities who are shamelessly self-promoting.