Did you give one of the greatest gifts of all? The poor Little Drummer Boy confessed to the Magi,‘I have no gift to bring,’ Check out the lyrics again. He petitioned the Holy Mother at the Nativity,couldhe at least play for Baby Jesus. She nodded in approval. It was his time to shine!

The Magi, they that are wise, have been telling us things for some time now. But have we been listening?Indeed, we are all gifted – perhaps not in a celebrity kind of way. Idols like George Michael, Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson were unbelievably talented. Their magical songs recall sweet moments of our lives. Yet,sadly, they were deeply flawed. As another year draws to an end, remember that, no matter how humble, there is always something that you and I can bring to the table,something that can leave a more lasting legacy.

I remember my first encounter with international students during my sojourn in the United States. I was awestruck when I met my first Jew. It was like, wow! You guys gave humanity all those famous Bible stories. You guys overcame the Holocaust. Youdeveloped this thriving democratic nation in that arid,savage neighbourhood of the Middle East. But why should you be above international law?

I remember meeting my first Japanese. It was like, wow! I studied in history how you were nuked back to kingdom come to end World War II. Instead of everlasting whining and complaining, even with little natural resources, you guys learnt from the West how to make cars and electronics. Now you do it better.Ditto for Chinese today.

I remember meeting my first South African. Wow! Your country was still gripped in vicious civil war. We African Liberation Day marchers worldwide conceded that the racist Apartheid regime was so strong; victory was unlikely in our lifetime. But we marched anyway – because you guys told us you had some Mandela fellah. Who did we have?

Actually we had people like Jamaican Marcus Garvey, Dominican Rev. Dr. Phillip Potter, Martiniquan Frantz Fanon and many others. Our Magi spoke to me. Deep in my heart they told me, “Sam, it’s your time to shine.”Only then did the scales fall of my eyes. I buckled down to make my family and country proud. To my surprise, I discovered other nations generally hold West Indians in quite high esteem. We are not a people who go abroad intent on causing mayhem in those people’s place. Generally, they regard us as hard workers emigrating for better opportunities for their children and to help family back on island.

On that note, we want to say a special thank you to Dominican benevolent organizations overseas, which do so much to give back. You are our true ambassadors! To our students and trainees far from home at this time, you represent us well. We miss you dearly. We cannot wait foryou to be home for Christmas next year.

In the aftermath of holidays, some gifts are much appreciated. Others, well, not so much. In certain societies, the tradition is for returning unwanted gifts to the stores – for a limited time only. Others plan on re-gifting: passing on those gifts to others for whom they feel it may be better suited. But there is just one gift I want to focus on today, one that has no expiratory date and certainly designed to be passed on.

Drum roll please! That is the gift of organization, of institution building. We all agree that deterioration is relentless. A garden, if not tended, it quickly becomes bush. That is a scientific fact. In physics, the Third Law of Thermodynamics deals with the concept of entropy. It basically describes that things in nature tend to a state of disorder, unless acted upon by an external force. Furthermore, willful neglect or ulterior motives are systematically degrading our cherished institutions. We will stop this.

It is our level of organization that distinguishes us from the animals. Organization determines how successful we become as a nation. Sustainable development with technology transfer demands a new vision and a commitment to doing real development work. Only that will we provide decent jobs where people earn their own money. If Dominica’s top cash generator collapses today, we are already worse off than before. That is simply because we have neglected traditional industries and genuine means for progress.

So may each of us today re-commit, at home, school, work and place of worship. Begin with the children. They need to learn initiative and responsibility in doing chores; that money doesn’t grow on trees. Men must help with housework. Every person, even the retired or infirmed, must play a part. Let us all pitch in through community development projects. Heal the handout-itis.  Root out the rampant graft and greed. Civil society organizations and village councils need to elect those who are respectful, trustworthy, with a proven track record of serving others. Like the prophet Nehemiah in ancient Jerusalem, our mission is to rebuild these walls. As we resolve to do this, it will filter up to our national leadership and the ship of state will be steered in the right direction.

The story of the Little Drummer Boy ends well:

 

I played my best for Him

Pa ruppapumpum…

Then He smiled at me;

Me and my drum.’

 

That little boy did his thing. Now let us do ours. The most valuable gift to each other is rebuilding our cherished institutions and putting Dominica first again. You and I constitute that force that must act to change things. Stop whining and complaining. Resist the rot tooth and nail. Organize! Organize! Organize!Like the good people of LaPlaine,whatever our labels, whether by two or three, let us do our best work together. A cord of three strands is not easily broken. A people united, can never be divided. 2017 is our time to shine!

 

Dr. Sam Christian serves as public relations officer of the Dominica Freedom Party. He can be reached at 440-9133, Whatsapp at 265-0886 or on urgentcareda.weebly.com