RAJ RAMLUGUN

Rest assured, what follows is not the product of a mood swing or mere intellectual dilettantism. It is what I gather from careful observations and up close and personal relationship with what is happening in our environment.

We are facing a serious existential and environmental crisis at various levels, personal, familial, social and institutional. This is obvious in the behavioural delinquency that seems to have overtaken us in our blind quest for personal gratification in everything we do. Do we care to give ourselves the time to question our own responsibility in what is happening to us and in our environment? Or, are we just enjoying to fuel the reactive culture of blame game and conveniently reducing everything to ‘l’enfer, c’est les autres’? This populist approach makes for good entertainment in the media and public opinion sphere, but is it providing us with the light for a better and durable model of development and happiness ?

In my humble view, all this spiralling decadence is the result of a combination and convergence of various factors, including loss of bearing and basic values in our daily relationship with each other and the wider environment. From greed, selfishness, proliferation of industries of institutionalized lies and manipulation to the outright misuse and blind adulation/cult of ICT in our midst. As if technology is the magic bullet for all our ills/ vices and the ultimate recipe for human happiness! Look around for proofs of the havoc that unbridled and ill-planned innovations and mimicking are wreaking on the structures of our society and even on our very humanity. Putting all the blame on governments, politicians and others without examining our own share of responsibility in whatever is going wrong in our midst or in the world would be the shortest way to make the doomsday scenario a self-fulfilling prophecy! However, where our elected and institutionalized leaders are to blame is in their inveterate indulgence in lies, denial, complacency and lack of commitment and consistency to address the challenges of our society in a clear order of priorities. With a clear line of sight and sense of continuity in terms of policy decisions and their effective implementation. An enlightened decisiveness that cuts across our parochial interests and put the collective wellbeing above all. Instead, we often seem to revel more in the costly experimentation mode. One step forward, two steps backward!

 

Besides an obsession with PR and window dressing through countless advisers with no grounding in the realities of our society, we are also cursed with a culture of nonstop antagonism, conflicts and controversies in the public opinion arena. On almost any subject. All of these conveniently entertained in the name of democracy. As if the whole world owes us a living! Endless rhetorics on ‘patron dominer’ without ever mentioning that there are equally ‘travayer zwiser, abc, sindikalis komplis/parazit’ in our midst. At numerous levels ! Those populist leaders, demagogues and mercenaries who from a limited vantage point of a given experience seem to have become the gurus of righteousness and bent on harping about rights and freedom night and day without bothering to ever remind their blind followers about ethics and sense of duty.

Asking for more of everything without asking the basic question as to who pays for our endless entitlements and where the money and resources come from! So much so that we often forget the very purpose of democracy, its institutions and the role of government. Hence, the gentle but firm reminder that the values of Accountability and Ethics should apply to all of us, in whatever we do.

 

As much as we should stand up against the tyranny of autocracy and the majority rule, we should also be aware that in the mass media world, the voices of the ‘minority’, peddling minority values and agendas can often stifle or undermine the will of the majority in a society. Leading to the other extreme whereby mediocrity and demagogy mixed up with populism end up ruling the roost.

 

The obsession of putting one’s survival and interests above what is warranted for durable higher collective interests is symptomatic of serious flaws in our leadership culture and governance values … at various levels. In some areas, it has worsened after

Independence.  Most key decisions seem to be driven by an agenda ‘pou fer plezir’, through vested interests or to make costly low-level compromises in order to ensure one’s survival in the face of pressure from often highly biased opinion leaders. Check for instance the state of our environment, the upkeep of our patrimony, our sense of neighborhood solidarity and our attachment to civic and patriotic duties. Though the blame should not be restricted to politicians and successive governments, the latter have undoubtedly been very instrumental in not setting the right example to inspire others to do the right things the right way.

 

Beyond soundbites and rhetoric, we have the tough reality staring us in the face. One that calls for all of us to summon our collective energy and higher intelligence to stem the slide into despondency and the propagation of a sort of culture of nihilism in our midst. Especially among the younger generation. The behaviour we see on our roads is not at all stranger to that growing sense of nihilistic and selfish mindset !

Can we reverse this trend? Yes! Foremost, by ensuring that our leaders and officers in various institutions walk the talk when it comes to values and utmost accountability for performance and non-performance in their duties. That they strive genuinely to be role models for all of us in their thoughts and deeds. And thereby inspire us to work at our individual levels to bequeath a more harmonious society, a better world and a healthier environment for the future generations. We are all responsible to make that happen.

Always remember this:

“When it comes to privacy and accountability, people always demand the former for themselves and the latter for everyone else”. [David Brin]