If you are an aficionado of cinema then the name Michelangelo Antonioni should be familiar to you. Generally regarded as one of the best directors of cinema, the Italian maestro was a man known for traveling in unknown cinematic territory that the brave dared not go.
This proclivity brought out his fantastic ability to embrace novel ideas. Antonioni’s films have one overarching theme like the plays of Tennessee Williams – the nature and purpose of human existence.
Commissioned during the hippie era of the late sixties to make three English-language films, Antonioni became a respected figure in the English-speaking film world with his first two movies. “Blow-Up” starred British icon, Vanessa Redgrave and “The Passenger” with the inimitable Jack Nicholson.
Antonioni’s final English film was “Zabriskie Point” about the hippie culture in the US. Antonioni gave the lead role to young man in circumstances that was unthinkable.
The Italian director was driving and saw this guy in a tempestuous rage at a bus-stop. He felt the emotions in the guy were raw and he needed that for his leading man in Zabriskie Point. Mark Frechette never believed he would be a star in a movie. It was a fairy tale for him.
Zabriskie Point is an interesting movie with an innovative director and a tragic lead actor. After the film, Frechette became a cult member, robbed a bank, got convicted and was killed in jail in mysterious circumstances. I am a big fan of Italian directors, so you can borrow Antonioni’s three films from me.
Michelangelo Antonioni’s courage and willingness to explore ideas beyond imagination is what has kept civilization going. The world needs innovative thinkers and transformative minds like Antonioni’s. If there is a country that needs a Michelangelo Antonioni, it is Guyana.
A media operative from Prime News came to Kaieteur News to interview me. He is making a documentary on trade union rights. He asked me if I think Guyana is on the road to ending the naked abuse of workers’ rights and the disrespect shown to trade unions. My reaction was swift – I don’t know. I would not answer in the affirmative and I proffered my reason – I do not see transformational leadership in politics in Guyana. I did say to my interviewer I mean no insult to anyone in the corridors of power but as a practising academic that is my intellectual conclusion about political society in this land.
The sad tale of the marijuana law has shown where this country has reached the point of no return from nihilistic descent. It takes a ruling party back-bencher to introduce an amendment to the law that will remove jail sentence for possession of small amounts of ganja, a civilized change that is sweeping many countries across the world.
No Cabinet Minister has the mind of a Michelangelo Antonioni to be brave to pilot the amendment in his or her own name. They simply lack the ability, capacity and willingness to advance brave, bold, new ideas in their country. Where in this country is the direction confronting an ocean of disrespect for workers rights?
So why should I accept that Guyana is on its way to confronting the cruel, sadistic exploitation of the poor and the powerless?
We are going to have a General Election in 2020. If I am alive, I would have penned more than a thousand columns at the time of that poll but our primitive mentality will be as active as it was fifty years ago when we had Independence.
Come 2020, our ancient divorce laws will remain unchanged whereby only three explanations are acceptable to the courts to secure a divorce. There is no courageous mind in the corridors of power that would be modern enough to end that charade. Come 2020, poor people’s votes will be begged for only to be given to politicians from across the national spectrum that will perpetuate the culture of a bygone age in their use of power and would be willing to continue begging for votes to continue the mindless rut.
Come 2020, people will pray that a sparking wire does not inflame their home because the electricity company will come two days after it is reported. Come 2020, people will pray that the bandits do not violate their young girl children when they invade their home because 911 does not exist.
Come 2020, the people will pray that their bedrooms are not flooded because a burst main is spilling water onto the yard and it is Sunday and the state-owned water company does not work on Saturdays and Sundays. But then again; come 2020, there may be no one left in Guyana.