The Trinidad Guardian / The ignoring of wounds does not lead to faster healing. Throughout history it has been those brave enough to be burdened by compassion that have been most impactful. It is those with dreams, those with strong convictions and those who feel the injustice of others as though it were their own that inspire thousands and change the very history of the world.

However, it is those who are too unbothered to change the status quo that are the obstacles to social change. In light of this, consider the following:

The United Nations World Happiness Report, released Wednesday, March 14, 2018, ranks the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago as the happiest nation in the Caribbean. Not only that, but we were also ranked as the 38th happiest nation in the world! The report is based on economic, social, health and other factors.

Apart from these strict metrics it is evident that we are a light-hearted people. The prevalence of limes, parties and various other celebrations provide ample evidence to the fact.

However, as many have pointed out on social media, the report does not paint an accurate picture of our lives here. Upon closer inspection, despite the many good aspects, there remains much to grieve about in our nation.

Now, I do not mean that we shouldn’t celebrate the many positives this nation offers us. Many of us have worked hard to ensure that they exist, for us and our children. But the importance of remaining sober-minded due to the severity of our present circumstance cannot be stressed enough. Should a nation plagued by violence among citizens and corruption among their representatives really be described as happy?

I must ask, is this happiness at times just a mask to cover up stronger feelings? Is it that we as a people have become apathetic to the ills we encounter every day? Have we become afraid to feel the hurt, loss and betrayal that would overwhelm us when news of homicides and scandals are publicised? Have we been disillusioned by the failure of our many protests, marches and campaigns to address these same issues?

It is my hope that we would once again open our hearts to feel. Those same feelings of hurt, loss and betrayal can spur us to action. They can lead us to do what we can within our spheres of influence and reach. And in so doing, create a community where true happiness can flourish. Not because we look away from the ills, but because we are compelled to treat them, no matter what it takes. I work towards a future happy Trinidad and Tobago, even if it means I must endure present heartbreak.

Jon Hubert Bristol

Arima

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