Instilling wisdom, not fear, through the arts
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.2nd Timothy 2:7
The Bible says in Proverbs 4:6-7, Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom.
On the above two verses of scripture my faith stands strong and so should yours in the face of this coronavirus pandemic. Yes, the Bible did say that in the last days men's hearts will fail them because of fear. However, fearlessness is not stupidity but it is about being cautious and wise, recognizing that the creator himself has blessed man with knowledge and wisdom.
My preamble may mislead the to think that I am straying from my usual cultural commentary but you are wrong as sporting and cultural activity all over the globe has been seriously affected because of the latest outbreak, hence the importance of bringing this week's commentary from an optimistic viewpoint as far as the arts is concerned.
The wisdom that should be exercised is exactly what all the experts tell us about washing of hands, coughing into armpits or sleeves, being wary of colds, cough, and sneezing in your environment, crowded areas etc. Don't you think Britain's minister of health knows this and has protection more that most in his country? Sure but ironically he has been tested positive. Even movie star Tom Hanks who has all the financial and other preventative and sanitary devises available to him, yet, he has fallen victim. By the time this article is published we will hear of more before things better.
I was happy to hear the Cultural Division still announcing the DOMFESTA song contest and other entertainment activities continue of course with desirable levels of caution. Though it just takes one individual to spread the virus to others for once our small population and the fact that we are called 'underdeveloped' seem now to be a blessing as the likelihood of infections are not as grave as these bigger so called developed countries but who have greater capacity to deal with such eventualities.
There seem to be even less opportunities for various groups to entertain tourists of late and one is not sure whether it is indirectly or directly related to the coronavirus scare due to fewer visitors coming to our shores or financial constraints by the state, hence, the Discover Dominica Authority can't add entertainment to cruise tourist arrivals.
A decade ago I did a comprehensive survey and study of our cruise ship calls and found that adding entertainment value was something which the tourist at that time missed and valued. For instance our largest reception cruise facility at Trafalgar is as silent as a cemetery as only the distant roar of the falls are audible to arriving visitors to Trafalgar. Certainly we can do better than that as we don't need to be reminded that tourism and entertainment go hand in glove. This was not so last year where several groups were contracted to provide such needed entertainment.
Now, the world is cancelling flights, shows, cruise ship calls, sporting events, schools and even church, prayer and worship; ironically forsaking assembly and the very prayers to save us, all in the name of corona…what panic! The situation has graduated from caution and the exercise of wisdom, to full blown paranoia. We must rebuke this state of fear and panic in the name of the Christ as, (not to be taken in a literal sense) 'those who seek to save their lives will lose it'.
This virus may yet provide an opportunity for songwriters and singers to give hope to the people of the world via music. For us as Christians it should signal our own vulnerability as mere men, whose lives can be so easily disrupted by a microscopic virus; indeed 'what is man, what is man, that thou are so mindful of him?'
For the first time in our history we have a cultural practitioner heading the Ministry of Culture, in the person of Roslyn Paul, a member of the Paix Bouche Cultural Group. This is great as she should be able, more than most, to identify with some of the needs of the ministry, driven by her own passion for the arts. Therefore, the recent announcement of the Arawak getting back into commission in the next four months is good news. This country can't afford to shut down because of corona, already there was hardly anything happening. Still while we should not operate with and in fear, we must act with caution and wisdom. That's why I fondly remember radio serials like 'Green Gold' and cultural groups such as Movement for Cultural Awareness (MCA) of the 70s, who provided hope, information, direction and gave comfort through the arts. (UPDATE: Activities for DOMFESTA, and other events such as Jazz and Creole has been cancelled)