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Some years ago, one afternoon, while I was at the presbytery, I saw two roosters having a bout. I was not in the least surprised. I had often seen that before. The roosters would merrily conduct their fight without much fanfare or threat to life or limb. Whenever one of them signalled his submission by withdrawing from the field of battle, the other walked away.

However, this time the game, or rather the conflict, was of a different kind. The roosters fought for a long while. During that time, when one of them would withdraw, the other continued in pursuit until the opponent turned around. The fight continued. When the rooster who was at one time in flight had the upper hand, the other would withdraw, pursued by his opponent.

This went on for quite a while. Finally, I left them to continue their sport. Little did I know that the end was far from being near. Sometime later, I returned to the scene only to find that one rooster was lying helplessly on the ground while the other continued to attack.

It was time for me to act. I drove off the triumphant rooster to spare the conquered any more pain and humiliation. I thought that was the end of the battle. Several minutes later, I came back to see what was happening. To my amazement, the victorious rooster had returned to the scene and was standing over the conquered victim, administering the last rites! He persisted in attacking, intent on driving the very lifeblood out of his unfortunate opponent!

I see this as a fair indication of the state of party politics in the Commonwealth of Dominica. The two political parties seem to have lost their humanity. They are at each other's throat. If this is the kind of democracy that exists in the Land of the Lord, it is no more desirable than a dictatorship. In fact, it often seems to be a dictatorship in democratic trappings.

O Judgement, Thou art fled to brutish beasts And men have lost their reason. Shakespeare, Julius Caesar

How can we as human persons dare to model our lives on that of the beasts of the jungle? Do we not realize that we are made for greater things? We claim to be a Christian country. Yet, even avowed Christians support this nonsense. Where do we hope to go with such foolish perceptions of democracy in a poor, developing Island?

The political scene in Dominica reminds me of the state of affairs as depicted in 'The Lord Of The Flies', a novel by William Golding. We are marooned on a desert island. Our survival depends on the cooperation of everyone. But we will not listen to each other. We turn a deaf ear to the concerns of each other. We are seeking to destroy each other.

When we say this, some will suggest that we have a religious service to which all parties are invited and listen to a few speeches about peace and pray together. However, this has been tried and proven useless. This solution is much too superficial.

What is needed is a new beginning. We ought to shed all hypocrisy. We need a radical programme of reconciliation. People must be sincere about their desire to be reconciled with one another. But this can be possible only if it is based on truth and justice. Anything short of this is doomed to failure.

The Republic of South Africa under President Nelson Mandela has given us a wonderful example of this in the 'Truth and Reconciliation Commission'. It worked admirably. During decades of the unjust apartheid regime, horrible crimes were committed by both Whites and Blacks. Only an admission of guilt by all parties could produce a clean slate, provide healing and prepare the nation to move on. Are we listening?


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