Rescued from hate and mindlessness

Even in the worst of times – and who can doubt that the daily, brutal, unstoppable exploits of uncaught criminals have made this time one of widening and deepening fear and frustration – reading comes to the rescue by revealing other worlds of experience where cruelty and mindlessness and man’s inhumanity to man do not continually have the upper hand.

The never-ending gift

I have far exceeded the Biblical span of three score years and ten, so I realize clearly that this overtime gifted by the Gods must be most carefully husbanded.

From Persian Parables

Perhaps there has never been any time in history when terror, horror, cruelty and brutal suffering, much of it inflicted by men themselves, have set their curse upon so many lands.

The truth about the Pharisees

History often saddles people with reputations that are undeserved. Take Florence Nightingale. The biographical facts show conclusively that she was pushy, domineering, and bitchy to an appalling degree.

Treasure the gift of life

One might have thought that as time passes the heart might harden as arteries harden and the sense of loss grow less acute as the five familiar senses most certainly tend to do.

The extraordinary claims of poetry

Intermittently through the year, and especially during memorable times up the immense and soul-redeeming Essequibo, I like to read Shelley – as we all should do from time to time since he is pre-eminently the poet of hope.

Respect

This too shall pass. The utter shambles into which the administration of Guyana’s cricket has fallen will one day end.

Climate change – the latest scream for help

Do you remember one of the world’s great exercises in futility? In 2007 as many as 20,000 politicians, officials, international functionaries, journalists and activists attended the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, better known as the Bali Conference.

A fateful and historic mistake

I think there must be a majority of Guyanese deeply worried that the festering animosity between the political parties and the incessant jockeying for position and narrow-spirited search for partisan advantage is greatly harming Guyana’s progress as a nation.

Reflections on another birthday

A few weeks, it seems, since the last one, a new birthday has come along – the 81st no less, hardly believable when one thinks how not so long ago one could joyfully spring up stairs three at a time if the occasion demanded it or party until dawn (very possibly celebrating another West Indies victory as No.

When losing is a kind of death

The fatal flaw in the Duckworth/Lewis formula for deciding unfinished cricket matches is that it makes no allowance for genius, flair and sheer, joyous inspiration.

Selfishness rules

Democracies came to be based on a balanced view of human nature; people are by nature selfish but self-government is possible because we are wise enough to restrain and control that selfishness.

Making progress not just in pure statistics

Like nurses anxiously watching the pulse rate and temperature of patients in an emergency ward, for a long time we were schooled to observe movements in Gross Domestic Product as the indication of whether a country is healthy or ailing.

Ageing

At 80 years old I do not think I can be criticised for writing about ageing. 

Preserving our literary heritage

Emeritus Professor Ken Ramchand of the University of the West Indies at St Augustine, eminent scholar and literary critic, the other day sent me the address he gave as Chairman of the Project Committee at the opening of The Naipaul House in St James, Port-of-Spain, on 10th February.

Growing inequality in the world

It is being noticed more and more – President Obama and Pope Francis are currently making it a theme in their speeches – that inequality is growing and that the already rich and powerful are becoming even more obscenely rich (the President and Pope are too diplomatic to use the word obscene but it is the right one) and even more unchallengeably powerful.

Joy

The feeling of joy is a strange emotion. It can derive from momentous events – winning the great championship, realising a long-nourished ambition, owning one’s own home at last.

Do not fail to read this

I have a dear friend whom I admire in all things and who herself writes beautifully and clearly but who has what I consider a blind spot.

The examined life

‘The unexamined life is not worth living’ – Socrates.   When I was no more than twelve or thirteen the feeling grew in me that it was important not simply to live life day by day but somehow to give greater meaning to it by recording what was happening every one of those days and by planning how I should shape and what I should make of my life in the future.

A J Seymour

Today marks the 100th birth anniversary of A J Seymour, Guyana’s greatest man of letters.

Private wealth, public squalor

Who can doubt that in Guyana in 2014 clenched fists of the past must be opened so that hands can reach out across embattled ground for the good of the nation.

Lines for a hard journey

Writing a column on the celebration of Christmas is a little like trying to illustrate the scope and scale of Shakespeare with one or two quotations; you can succeed about as well as the man who tried describing the marvellous cathedral at Chartres by showing a carved stone and single piece of stained glass as specimens of the building’s majesty.

Not fun any more

It is strange how the words sport, game, play, which in the dictionaries are associated with fun and frolic, have more and more lost their original meanings.

Never lose heart

Intermittently through the year, and especially during memorable times up the immense and soul-redeeming Essequibo, I like to read Shelley – as we all should do from time to time since he is pre-eminently the poet of hope.

Changing the nation’s frame of mind

By what values should we strive to live in order to achieve a community in which differences are accommodated, a community where there is diversity of discourse but a recognition of the common good regardless of politics, religion, race and personal beliefs?

`We know not whence they come but they die not’

If you think about it carefully it seems impossible to reconcile two things which most people would very much like to believe – one, that they enjoy free will and in some ultimate sense are masters of their fate, and, two, that the God of all creation is omnipotent and has a master plan for us all.