May 4, 2010

"Do So!" is the new Caribbean pose - Trini style

Gabrielle Jamela Hosein is a feminist, activist, poet and Lecturer at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago.

By Gabrielle Jamela Hosein
The 2010 Trinidad and Tobago general election campaign is worth remembering for several reasons. It is the first campaign where an attack on the glass ceiling is being seriously waged, and where the nation may make history by electing a female, Indian Prime Minister. It is the first time in Trinidad’s post-independence history that a coalition of four political parties and a union are battling for power on a unified platform, fully aware that the population is still hurting from cleavages in the 1986 coalition government of the National Alliance for Reconstruction (NAR). Finally, it is the first time since 1956 that a People’s National Movement (PNM) government has collapsed so quickly, with no explanation by the Prime Minister, so early in its term. Yet, by far, the most memorable thing about this election, and its campaigns, is ‘the Villafana.’ Caribbean people everywhere will love this story. The Villafana is a pose. It has become a dance. It is a symbol that needs no words. The ‘massive’ at rallies enact it simultaneously, making Jamaica’s choreographed passa passas look small and scraggly. It is inspiration for an exceptional Caribbean-style take-off on the Obama campaign slogan, ‘Yes We Can.’

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