Referring to Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities in his Christmas message to the nation yesterday, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley called on people, vaccinated and unvaccinated, to recognize not only their personal rights, but also the duty to take care of others.
He noted the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on the world as he called for a renewal of humanitarian values.
He also asked that a thought be spared for those who have lost loved ones this year.
The Prime Minister said: “Let us all believe in the indomitable human spirit and its limitless capabilities and believe that Christmas is a time of renewal, a time for each of us to look within, in the hope of shedding dark trends. rapacious individualism, selfishness, jealousy and hatred.
Rowley said, “Regardless of one’s religious beliefs, the spirit of Christmas runs deep into all of our hearts, creating feelings of calm, generosity, forgiveness, contemplation and bringing out the best in all of us.
“It’s a spirit that prompts us to take a break, savor the moments, be compassionate, and ask ourselves whether we’ve been ‘mean or bad’ in the past year.”
Dickens’ classic novel, A Christmas Carol, is a prime example, he said.
The tale uses a fictional miser – a businessman, Ebenezer Scrooge – to tell the story of lessons, “which we can learn at Christmas about the mistakes and failures of our lives,” the prime minister said.
He said, however: “But this year Dickens’ other novel, A Tale of Two Cities, may be more appropriate, when he writes about the best of times, the worst of times, the age of wisdom, the age of madness, the age of belief, the age of unbelief; the season of darkness, a winter of despair and yet a spring of hope.
“Dickens could have described the world we know now, which is in chaos and getting smaller and smaller, due to advancements in technology, international trade, transnational relationships and unique, even frightening challenges.”
On the other hand, the Prime Minister said: “It has brought us humans closer together, no matter how different we are.”
He said that “an increasingly interdependent and extremely interconnected world makes each of us the keeper of our brothers and sisters.”
“The Covid-19 pandemic, with its changing faces, has added to this chaos over the past two years, but it has caused us to begin to positively view ourselves as one large human family, with each person holding a ‘universal responsibility’ . “
The Prime Minister said: “This does not negate the fact that we all have individual rights, as citizens, but it recognizes the other side of the coin, or the neglected side, that each citizen also holds an individual responsibility. equal for the care and safety of his / her fellow citizens in Trinidad and Tobago.
In this pandemic, all citizens, vaccinated and unvaccinated, have rights and responsibilities for, among other things, the care and safety of each other in this country. During this season, we must not, at any time, think about asserting our rights, without acknowledging our responsibility to the remote person and, globally, to the nation-state of Trinidad and Tobago.
Remember the dead
“Let us all leave in these times of trial, find in ourselves the notes to sing ‘joy to the world’ as a declaration that we will overcome these challenges, supported by this lasting Christmas spirit,” the Prime Minister said.
But there are those who will face the Christmas season without being dear, he noted.
“Even while doing this, let us give ourselves a moment of reflection to remember all those families and communities who have experienced the loss of loved ones along the way and for whom the pandemic is more than the daily news but the source. of the pain that they would continue to suffer from. We pray that they will be comforted and strengthened as they overcome their grief, ”he said.
The Prime Minister said that “human civilization has been built on the core values of love, compassion, decency, morality, all positive qualities”.
“The Christmas season is that time when we can renew these values and reveal more of our true strengths, inside,” he said, adding: “Personally, I see the current chaos as additional challenges and the birth of a new order in our nation’s journey. Right now, I extend to our nation that ‘spring of hope’ that Dickens wrote about. “