Not just an absence of the encouragement of fine art, of controversy, of challenging literature, of progressive thinking, or of a stimulating atmosphere, but the institutionalization of the repression of these very activities, either actively by enforcement, or passively by implied discouragement: “we may not lock you up, but it would be better if you do not move in that direction,,,or we might âdetain youâ, so watch it!â
We in St Vincent and the Grenadines seem to be facing this kind of cultural shift. Songs with lyrics pointed this way will be encouraged; songs with a slant that way will be heard less, or not all. Vituperative invectives aimed at the Prime Minister result in crippling lawsuits, but the same language directed at his opponents are forgiven as “figures of speech, not to be taken literally.â Persons discharging firearms in public who are members of the ruling party are ignored or excused, while others who are members of the Opposition are arrested and their firearms confiscated for simply having a licensed weapon on their person.
Forget active support for classical music performances or composition (European dead-white manâs music), or adventurous drama creations that are not in the framework of “Caribbean Civilizationâ, or literature that criticizes or is skeptical of the politics of the Bishop/Grenada, Maduro/Venezuela persuasion.
Henry Mencken called the American South of his day the “Sahara Of The Bozartsâ (intentionally misspelled) because there was no “thereâ there. Encouragement of artistic development or of the expression of controversial or critical political opinions may not have been applauded in that culture, but they were not discouraged or suppressed by governmental pressure or influence. Not so here. Look out, and “Get Backâ!