Editorial — 23 July 2009
In societies like Belize’s, the road to success for those members of the professional bourgeoisie who have risen from poverty, is a largely individual thing. It begins with a member of the oppressed people, or the poor class, deciding that he or she wants to be a lawyer, a dentist, a doctor, an accountant, or some such. As education reaches higher and higher levels, it becomes more and more expensive. So those citizens who come from poor families have to start looking for scholarships and financial aid as they climb up the ladder of education. It’s a struggle.
It is hard for a poor person fighting his/her way up the ladder not to become a little selfish, self-centered, eventually even a little arrogant. This is because that person will watch most of his/her contemporaries drop along the wayside and settle for less ambitious pursuits and occupations. The future bourgeois professional begins to conceive of himself/herself as special, unique, and so on and so forth.
The bourgeois professional trods on, trods on and on, makes sacrifices and feels pain, finds fortitude and endurance he/she never knew they had before, until finally, one day they achieve the qualifications they have worked so hard and so long to achieve.
Then the bourgeois professional begins to reap the harvest of the seeds he/she has sown. Even as the journey to success was singular and lonely, so the pleasures of the bourgeois professional tend to be individualistic, or limited to small groups of like-minded colleagues with similar histories.
In the post-colonial era, the record has shown that huge amounts of the trained professionals from poor, underdeveloped countries, migrate to rich, developed countries, where they pass their lives in individual and family contentment. The question which keen economists then raise, is how much of a road to development for poor countries does the education system actually represent, when those on whom poor countries spend large amounts of their resources to train, so often prefer to take their acquired skills elsewhere, in effect strengthening those countries which are already rich and developed.
In our region, the two most famous revolutionaries, Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, were bourgeois professionals. Castro was trained as a lawyer, while Guevara was a qualified doctor. There were things in their lives which convinced them that they had to put what skills they possessed at the service of the people, at which point they became revolutionaries instead of contented members of the bourgeoisie.
We use the examples of Castro and Guevara merely to provide the best known examples in the Western Hemisphere of bourgeois professionals becoming revolutionaries. In the United States, Angela Davis was a Ph.D. academic who became a revolutionary. In Honduras, Jim Carney was a highly trained Jesuit who became a revolutionary.
It is classically said, that there cannot be a revolution where all democratic means of effecting change have not been exhausted. Belize is therefore not presently a candidate for revolution, because there are free and fair elections held here. We can change things without revolution, theoretically. Belize, however, is certainly a candidate for improvement, or reform, if you will, because the social conditions are outrageous. And right in front of our wide open eyes, we have watched an elite class becoming more and more wealthy, while the masses of our people sink lower and lower into poverty and desperation.
Since there will be no revolution here in the near future, the question then becomes: what are the trained Belizeans here doing about this socio-economic crisis in the land of their birth, except criticizing everybody else who is not as successful as they are?
Certainly, there is a need to cite the sterling nationalistic efforts of Senator Godwin Hulse, who has worked diligently and consistently to improve his country. There are a few other bourgeois professionals who have made efforts to support Senator Hulse, and their efforts must be commended. But the vast majority of Belize’s bourgeois professionals, educated in a system which supposedly is dedicated to the emulation of Jesus the Christ, are living selfish and relatively hedonistic lives in small circles of contented success.
Well, there will be no revolution in Belize. But every day, it seems, more individual citizens are victims of crimes, crimes which are becoming increasingly frightening with each passing day. There is no guarantee that if you, bourgeois professionals, make an effort to improve your community of origin, that you will, because of such efforts, never be the victim of one of these vicious crimes. There is no such guarantee. But the chances are greater, if you insist on congratulating your personal self and doing nothing in the collective context, that you or your child or your close relative, will be victimized. Down the road, Jack. Down the road. They say it is better to light a candle than to curse the dark. Likewise, they say that the journey of a thousand miles begins with but a single step. Power to the people. Amandala.