LUKSHANA GOPAUL

In the past 50 years, we’ve seen unmitigated progress in the areas spanning from our agricultural sector to our service-based sector.  An economic miracle, we’ve come to call it.  We wax lyrical about it even if inequality is on the rise and our politics is still confined to a ‘dark age-esque’ nomenclature.  The vast majority of the things we read about in the papers, is not about aiding the population in forming a coherent opinion, nor about steering us in a certain ideological direction. The vast majority of the political maunderings we hear about, read about and talk about, is enmeshed in tribalism of the nastiest kind.

This kind of tribalism permeates everything from our own norms, culture and, by extension, our politics.  In a country where we laud ourselves for being  »educated » and slap ourselves on the back for somehow  »making it », we’ve surely come to a halt when it comes to ideological education. Our kids are rarely educated on the various political systems, debacles and tragedies that plagued human civilization.  Thus, they fail to take into account their own role and the power of political dictum.  Instead, they’re taught about the soulless aspects of our system, making profit at the expense of mounting inequity, learning by rote at the expense of convergent and divergent thinking.

It’s no surprise that our political system is anything but a poor copy of the democracies of the world.  The headlines of our papers are always about the nonsensical bickerings of our politicians, parliamentary votes that alienate half of our population, a quasi dictatorial stance toward nation-building.  Witnessing this ridiculous circus, our youth has become inured to such cloying displays of power. Knowing that the system has always been a certain way and isn’t likely to change in the near future, they fail to perceive the strength in their political activism.

The most progressive democracies have embraced a humanistic approach to politics.  Cannabis, once a much demonized substance, has recently been decriminalized in South Africa.  Mauritius, which touts itself as the second most developed country in Africa ought to do the same, but much of our political conversation centers around inanities and garbage peddled by tabloid-esque papers.

Women who are victims of abuse, just like a female politician whose ordeal was recently revealed, are rarely given the support they need.  Our judicial system confuses domestic battery with  »lovers’ quarrel ».  Last year, women were subjected to violence of the most horrific kind, from being burned alive to severe beatings that ended in their deaths.  In a country where we pride ourselves on our mythical victory in terms of gender equality, especially when it comes to women in parliament, it seems like little is being done to protect their own female constituents.

All of this to say that progress isn’t only measured in terms of monetary gain.  Sure, our GDP has risen.  Sure, we’re selling vast plots of land to foreigners and building a metro, a much awaited system of transportation.  But what about  »real » progress?  Progress that will extend to the future generations in terms of a safer, more just system that doesn’t persecute consumers of a substance whose benefits exceed its mythical harmful effects, a judicial system whose power deters abusers and punishes them accordingly.  Why do we keep peddling nonsense, keep feeding our citizens half-truths instead of informing them about their rights and their political power?

It’s not going to be easy to remove our country from this cesspit that’s been clogged by stupidity of a very special kind. But what we can do, as people who experience the world digitally, is share information that’s advantageous to progress.