Let me be upfront and admit from the onset that this year’s STAR Person of the Year should long ago have been so honored. We can think of no one, going back at least ten years (yes, I know, that would include the several past winners!), more deserving of the accolade. So the question automatically arises: Why only now?
To borrow from Sherlock Holmes, the answer is elementary my dear Watson, if also somewhat embarrassing: we’ve been forced to acknowledge we are not nearly as different from the rest of the herd as previously we had imagined (at any rate, concerning the matter at hand); until now we lacked the courage of our particular conviction; we were silent when we should’ve shouted the truth, however out of tune with the choir.
Too many of us have been content simply to dismiss her as eccentric—even mad!—when all the time we knew in our heart of hearts she was neither; that what she has been all these years is an annoying thorn in our collective conscience, an uncomfortable reminder of our own individual contributions to the hypocrisy that for too long has plagued this now plummeting land that gave us birth.
In passing it might be worth reproducing here Ambrose Bierce’s definition of the word mad: “Affected with a high degree of intellectual independence; not
conforming to the standards of thought, speech and action derived by the conformants from study of themselves; at odds with the majority; in short unusual.”
No need to reference your regular lexicons that would have you believe mad defines “a person suffering from a persistent disorder of the mind, who is often angry.” It will come as no surprise that the cited symptoms have always resided in eye of the beholder.
Our STAR Person of the Year has consistently demonstrated what the nation’s effectively uneducated and the unschooled (oh, let’s not leave out the whitened sepulchers!) construed as anger and insanity, was actually proof of an acknowledged obsession with doing the right thing, regardless of the victimization likely to be visited on her by the very individuals sworn to do well by the people.
In the people’s name these elected see-no-evil monsters have sat unconcerned on their duffs—whether obese or boney—while other deprived and hopeless citizens languished for years behind bars, without a court appearance or even a trial date; while court cases are
month after month adjourned
for no good reason, and the hell with the Constitution that demands speedy trials for all citizens charged with criminal activity.
Nothing is more likely to bring our STAR Person of the Year out in hives than mindless suggestions the police are infallible. Or if in pursuit of suspects they have contravened the law, still they should be praised and their illegal actions overlooked in the best interests of a stable society.
She knows only too well the difference between a country at peace and one whose citizens simply are too scared of their government, too ignorant
or too vulnerable to risk speaking up for justice. Countless times, on radio and on TV, via our newspapers too, she has spelled out the huge difference even the local press seem unable to grasp: lookalikes peace and quiet are absolutely unrelated.
While we should all be human-rights advocates but regrettably are not, too many of us have chosen to label her a human rights lawyer (there’s a difference!), with a tone in our voices suggestive of palpable contempt.
Still she remains as undaunted today as she has been for over 20 years, long before the label—reminiscent of apartheid’s burning-tyre necklace—had been forced around her neck. Too many citizens are ignorant of the fact that she had in one way or another resisted at personal cost some of this nation’s worst injustices, widely perpetrated and perpetuated.
No need to spell out the discombobulating details here, for this would quite possibly expose her to further persecution. Besides, she tends not to want to look backward, only forward. Her unspoken mantra: What’s done is done—especially when she alone had been the target.
No surprise that the more vicious among her mindless detractors had later benefitted from her stubborn determination to see good triumph over evil. She has always been less concerned with looking good, as they say, than with doing the right thing. Losing a round here and there has never deterred her from taking on fresh battles or from continuing her fight against our society’s more entrenched evils.
She knows only too well the near-unlimited power of her detractors, ironically bestowed on them by their victims.
In recent times even the police have threatened her—which is to say, threatened her life, however subtly, however inadvertently—when they should’ve been providing
special protection from the conveniently misconstruing misanthropes.
Not that the police were lashing out in the name of justice. Their big gripe du jour is synonymous with the publicized withdrawal of funds the US State Department suspects have for too long been used for illicit purpose—including human rights violations and extra-judicial killings, ordinarily referred to as murder by criminals in police uniforms!
Our fetus-featured first defender of justice has so far seen no need to endorse our candidate’s activities. Neither has he publicly reprimanded his officers for their demeaning public statements about this particular citizen who has so often dared to bare her social conscience.
Then again, our justice minister considers himself one of her targets, embroiled as he is in the controversial US reaction to the police killings earlier cited. I anticipate someone with a warped sense of right and wrong will say something particularly stupid in relation to my last observation. Then again, c’est la vie en Ste Lucie!
I could go on and on listing the battles our hero took on while most of the population hid their faces even from their bathroom mirrors. But truth be told, it’s not so much the battles that have, for more than 30 years, separated our hero from the do-nothing politicians in bras and their jock-strapped counterparts.
What stamps her as extraordinary is her stubborn persistence, her unyielding determination never to be cowed by the threats of our oh-so-Christian and democratic nation’spresumed most powerful, her unshakable refusal to be a casualty of perpetuated official victimization.
Indeed, these very threats and others to the constitutionally guaranteed freedoms are what keep her going. They are the high octane that fuels her engines.
And now that we’ve found the courage finally to give the lady her due, we are proud at last to declare Mary Francis 2013 STAR Person of the Year!