Real connections

Dear Editor,

The tapestry of today’s society is woven in a sea of complexity. For instance, in today’s society we are the most interconnected technologically savvy generation, yet we exhibit the most cold and detached attitudes toward each other.

The best I can describe it is that we have fallen into a social coma, or a twenty-first century fairy tale of life. When young people see posts on social media, people frequently portray themselves to be happy – in today’s vernacular, “ballin’ or loving themselves”. In reality, however, most people’s lives are not what’s portrayed on Instagram, Snapchat and the myriad of other social media out there. We are great at putting filters on things in these virtual platforms; we portray life to be amazing even though in actuality we are depressed. So we are good at making others feel we have it all together, like we have all the answers, when in reality we are confused and in many cases lost. So people get used to what I call “tech relationships”, rather than meaningful relationships with realistic interactions. They have no real social coping mechanisms formed.

So we have an epidemic of socially illiterate people, which transcends just one generation. They are ill equipped to deal with the real world and life challenges, so they lash out in irrational ways and have little to no remorse over the consequences. That’s why many Bahamians can easily take someone’s life and feel no weight. That’s why the school girl can sell herself for some Bamboo Shack and feel no weight. We are in an end-justifies-the-means society.

We see this even in our modern day media which has fallen victim to the divergence of society. For example, 30 years ago a murder in The Bahamas was at least front-page news. Now, depending on what other intriguing stories may be happening on that day, the report of a murder may or may not even make the news.

I believe a poem I penned quite adequately describes the plight of this nation. If I were to describe it I would say it is reality with a side of hope, as I believe there is still hope if we collectively will it and implement strategies to facilitate positive change. With your indulgence, editor:

My Country

Oh God! Dear God! What has happened to my country?

To my land which once burst forth with great expectations & idealistic dreams?

Why do my brothers lay dead in the street?

Why does their blood paint the sidewalks of our neighborhoods?

Why do my sisters live with the heavy hand of poverty ever looming over them?

Why do our children look up with eager eyes, to see no father figure present?

Why do our babies perpetuate the cycle of disadvantage by having babies?

Oh God! Dear God; Why?

How can we stem the tide of injustice, the cycle of poverty, the decay of foundational morality in our society?

How can we mend the wounds of my land?

How can we heal the hurts?

Why do some of our leaders seek self-serving agendas, at the expense of the masses?

Why does opportunity abound to those who are privileged?

Why is opportunity so scarce to those without means?

Why have some of our churches, even our educational institutions fallen in a state of disarray?

Where is the direction for our youth?

Why are there so few role models to inspire young minds to greatness?

How deep in the abyss of despair must my country plummet?

How cold and desolate must we become before recognizing the need for warmth and human decency?

How can we be our brother’s keeper, when we cannot fathom the concept of loving ourselves?

Where is the love that once distinguished us as a nation?

My country, my home, let love once again burst forth out of the sleeping consciousness of our society.

Let the streets be engulfed with laughter and camaraderie.

Let the dreams of young minds be nourished and bloom into the excellence of their life’s purpose.

Let the anthem resound with truer revelation to us,

Let us press forward toward excellence,

Upward toward the realization of our greatest potential,

Onward through the storms and crashing billows of life,

Together sharing the struggle and the triumph.

– N. Vandyke Pratt

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