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“In politics, change is not always inevitable”
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“In politics, change is not always inevitable”

The New Year is traditionally a time for resolutions and change. But Ryan Bachoo, 23, a Commonwealth Correspondent from Trinidad & Tobago, says while the pledge to watch less MTV might succeed, years of observing politics leave him with little expectation for change on the world stage.

I’ve long stop expecting grand changes in the space of a second, at the moment the clock strikes 12 on January 1st of every year.

When I was younger, the New Year meant the perfect time to throw out the old bad habits and become a good boy, but not now. Maybe the politics, war, or the economics I cover daily challenges the idea of change being inevitable.

No matter what the resolutions for 2013, I can assure you the only ones likely to be kept are about eating less fat, drinking more Diet Pepsi, or watching less MTV, and that in itself is quite a challenge.

This January makes it two years I’ve been writing for the Commonwealth Youth Programme. I’ve been following politics for much longer than that. I can assure you, don’t expect any New Year changes in the relationship between Washington and Beijing. It will be the same snake-like game. Don’t pay attention to any news that war is close to ending. It will meet you on January 1st of 2014 as well. And perhaps my favorite, I’d be cautious in listening to any positive forecasts for the economy from institutions such as the International Monetary Fund or the World Bank.

Instead, when it comes to January 1st of every New Year politics merely goes through the same motions on a different date. To hope that our politicians would gain a sense of seasonal spirit and change would be to stretch the imagination.

Here’s an example. On December 27th, 2012, Colin Freeman, Chief Foreign Correspondent for the Sunday Telegraph, wrote about how the world’s navies ignored the plight of a hijacked ship for nearly three years. The ship, Iceberg 1, was hijacked by Somali pirates in March 2010.

If you don’t know much about this story, it’s because it didn’t gain many headlines. The crew consisted of six Indians, nine Yemenis, four Ghanaians, two Sudanese, two Pakistanis and one Filipino. Almost every ship that has been hijacked by Somali pirates over the last five years has been confronted. So why not this one?

The answer lies in the beliefs of the hostages’ families who stated “that had this case involved Westerners, it would have been resolved long ago.” And they can’t be far from right.

 “The answer, I suspect, is that most nations are generally reluctant to risk the lives of their own troops to free citizens from other countries…” Colin Freeman wrote about the lack of international intervention.

The situation doesn’t do much justice to international forces and the job they are paid to carry out. India too, a rising superpower, neglected the plight of six of its citizens.Washington,London, Paris (a loud advocate of anti-Somali piracy) and Berlin, all with some of best forces in the world were silent during this crisis. So too was the media.

Close to 120 seafarers are still held by Somali pirates, though that number is considerably down from the height of the piracy crisis two years ago, when more than 600 hostages were held at once.

To say that I’m advocating that the West should have gotten involved is untruthful and wrong. It is Washington that claims to be the savior of all people and ready to fight evil wherever it lives. I’m just the messenger.

Ironically, the United Nations set up a counter-piracy programme (CPP) which began in 2009 with a mandate to help against Somali piracy. What has that programme done in the last three years? The governments of these countries were either unable or unwilling to mount a rescue attempt. So too, the multinational anti-piracy force generally prefers hijacked ships to be freed by ransom, on the basis that freeing sailors by force carries too much risk of casualties. Ransoms for large ships in recent years have averaged close to $5 million. It seems we’re just feeding the child pills when what she really needs is surgery.

As Colin Freeman reported, “Conditions on board the boat were appalling, with the crew driven almost mad by prolonged confinement and lack of proper food and drink. Two of them died in the process, one apparently jumping overboard after becoming unhinged from stress.”

In the end, the remaining crew members were rescued by Somalia’s own fledgling anti-piracy patrols, not by the multi-national force.

So save yourself your genie’s three wishes and forget about change at the top. Barack Obama entered the White House with the hope of changing the politics in Washington. He soon learned that he had either play the game the way it ought to be played, or Mitt Romney would be President in 2013. Repeatedly we see mankind turning to war as the only solution to resolve differences. There have been 47 recessions since 1790, in the United States alone. So history has taught us that change is not always inevitable.

At a lecture at my old elementary school six months ago, a child stood up and confidently shouted, “Change is the law of life!”

“You obviously haven’t turned to the political section in today’s newspaper,” I responded.

She sat back down confused. When she turns an adult in ten years, under the same system of politics, she’ll be able to understand exactly what I meant.

Photo: flags.me

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About me:

“Hi, my name Ryan Bachoo. I’m a Journalist and Public Relations Practitioner from Princes Town in the twin island of Trinidad and Tobago. I’ve moved into the field of Mass Communication now. I currently work for the West Indies Cricket Board, protecting the online image of West Indies Cricket.

I’ve been a Broadcast Journalist at Cable News Channel 3 for three years. For the Commonwealth Youth Secretariat, I write on topics of politics, war and economics.”

Ryan Bachoo

Journalist & Public Relations Practitioner

The People’s Writer

I speak for those who have no voice!

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?

To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/

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