On Trinidad

posted 16 May 2004

You don't realise when you grow up in a place how it's different; you don't realise what is special about it. You take the extraordinary for granted, because to you it seems ordinary -- you don't have any experiences to the contrary. But recently I was discussing growing up in Trinidad and I was struck by how diverse it was, and how much we take that for granted.

Trinidad has two major races, a handful of minor races, 4 major religions and dozens of smaller ones. And yet there's never been religious tension; in fact, the heads of the major religions in Trinidad sit on a common council whose purpose is to ensure that they don't step on each other's toes or preach messages that belittle other religions as inferior. Nor has there been a racial disturbance of any kind since the 1970s. Our constitution guarantees equality of all races and religions, and our national anthem sings about it... what other country in the world makes equality so central?

And so growing up I was subconsciously taught to realise that no religion could be considered the "true" religion, and it was self-evident that all races were equal because they were, not because somebody told me it was politically correct to say that they were. And those things still seem obvious to me today, but now I realise that to somebody who grew up surrounded by a majority race which had unfair advantages over others, or a single religion that taught that other religions were false, it might not be.

So I realise I was lucky to grow up where I did, even if our little love-in of peace and equality has yet to extend to sexuality :-)

Listening to: So-called chaos by Alanis Morissette (not released until Monday, but so what?). It's excellent. Nothing will be JLP, but it's excellent.

Oh, and finally: I had some very good news Friday, but still cannot post about it for reasons of tact. You'll hear on Tuesday, hopefully.

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