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Après Nous, Le Déluge

Après Nous, Le Déluge is a French saying that, when translated, means “after us, the flood”. It is a French expression, attributed to Madame de Pompadour, the lover of King Louis XV of France. King Louis XV is said to have modified this saying to “Après moi, le déluge”, which, when translated, means, “After me, the flood”. This saying is believed to date back to the 18th century after the Battle of Rossbach in 1757, which was a disastrous time for the French.

There are two possible interpretations to this archaic statement that marked a turbulent time in French history. Possible interpretations are: (I) “After my reign, the nation will be plunged into chaos and destruction”; or (II) “After me, let the deluge come”.

In literal interpretations, this could very well mean that he did not care what happened after him. The other corresponds to the meaning of “Après nous, le déluge,” which is said to be interpreted as “Ruin, if you like, when we are gone.”

Now as you read, you may be trying to understand the relevance of this particular 18th century French saying to present-day Belize; especially given the crisis that we are currently facing.

Well, rightly so, we are facing some rather challenging and daunting times brought on by COVID-19. Clearly, our economical woes and financial imprudence predate COVID-19.

However, COVID may have simply been the straw that broke the camel’s back and shed light on the rather dismal state of affairs.

Nonetheless, as we undauntedly strive to battle the financial, social and economic effects of COVID-19, coupled by the increasing number of cases, we mustn’t lose sight of the fact that this is an election year.

In addition to being in an election year, the country Belize finds itself in a unique position, a rather critical juncture in its relatively short existence since independence. We are talking about an election to choose a new Prime Minister, along with the ongoing fight against a global pandemic, coupled with a shot to save an ailing economy as the country wages war against an indomitable disease, while having a people in dire need.

So what happens next? Is a “flood” imminent?

Clearly, this virus is here and will be with us for a while. And also, an election for a new Prime Minister is less than one hundred days away, while the economy is being held together with rubber bands, scotch tape and white glue. For how long will these adhesives last? What happens when they give way? Will the new Prime Minister who takes over the reins be capable of continuing to hold the country’s economy together while simultaneously keeping the virus at bay; while also providing much relief to the poor and indigent?

Or, like the French saying goes, will there be a “flood”?

Whether or not you have thought about it, this is a very serious situation we find ourselves in. This is a very pivotal time in our country’s existence. There looms overhead the possibility of a great flood that can (possibly) hit our shores in less than a hundred days! Unlike a typical flood, this flood will bring economic destruction and leave devastation in its wake. We are talking about the possibility of retrenchment, salary cuts, amendment to benefits, and severe social ills — leaving the country’s people further crippled and more indigent than ever.

So, one must beg the question: How imminent is this “flood”? Well, truth be told, given the malfunctions of the Doppler Radar, one cannot tell with much certainty.

However, we are in a “hurricane season” — literally and metaphorically. The mantra then stands: Be Prepared! With good reason, one may reckon that it’s hard to be prepared in the face of little. But with whatever little we have, we must collect our sticks, saddle them up and ready them to burn a fire.

Because, there exists the possibility of a “flood”, and only time will tell if and when this flood will come, or if there is someone on the way with an Ark.

Until then, stay strong and hold the fort. After all, we are all in this together.

God Bless Belize!

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