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Divali and wealth

first_imgDivali began as an ancient festival in India during the autumn season when the last harvest before winter was brought in. At that stage of human civilisation, the harvest of grains was a critical event defining the difference between happiness and misery for ordinary people. From this perspective, grains – especially rice – represented wealth and explains the worship of God as Mother Lakshimi, the giver of wealth, during Divali.When Indians were brought as indentured labourers, they inevitably brought their culture with them. Part of that culture was not only the Festival of Divali, but the concrete societal activity that produced the festival: the cultivation of rice. Forced to work on the sugar plantations for wages even the freed African enslaved people refused, the Indian immigrants supplemented their wages through the cultivation of rice on small, marginal plots of land for which they exchanged their contracted passage back to India.This activity was encouraged for two reasons. Firstly, it provided a safety valve for the frustrations induced by the abysmal indentured wages boiling over and exploding with disastrous effect on the planters. Secondly, it also saved the state from paying the costs of repatriation to India that far exceeded the costs of the exchanged land. From its humble beginnings, rice cultivation grew into an industry that now far surpassed the sugar industry for which the Indians were brought.Even in absolute terms, Guyana is now a cited player in the international trade in rice since its minuscule population allows the exportation of more than 500,000 tonnes from the 600,000 plus tonnes produced. It is rather ironic therefore, that even as Hindus yesterday and today celebrate Divali and offer their prayers to the goddess of wealth, while the harvest has been bountiful, the depressed prices of rice has plunged many farming families into the darkness of depression.Along with the abysmal state of the entire economy, which at long last is being acknowledged by some elements of the government, this has made the prayers of Hindus during this Divali even more fervent than usual. Even in modern India, after the harvest businessmen calculate their profit and loss at Divali, which then marks the end of their business year and the beginning of a new one. Based on the comments of the local business sector, if they were to reconcile their accounts at this time, it would present a very sorry picture indeed.But through its long and variegated history, Divali became associated with some other events – all making the point, that notwithstanding the offering of prayers, sometimes man has to take action to remove the darkness of oppression and suffering. In North India, one incarnation of God in his role of “preservation”, Sri Ram, is remembered during Divali as an example of how to deal with those who would transgress the boundaries of propriety and the law. The analogous example of his later incarnation Sri Krishna, is also remembered in South India.The point about Divali, then, is the light that must be lit is not only in the “Diyas” or earthen lamps: it must be lit in the hearts of man whenever darkness of whatever shape or form spreads its wings and must inspire him into action to remove that darkness.In the Hindu world view, poverty is seen as one of the worse maladies or darkness that can afflict people. Not only does poverty prevent man from supporting those causes that strengthen society, but actually influence him into dysfunctional behaviour because of the primal urge to survive by any means necessary.At this Divali, it would be foolish not to acknowledge that Guyana has already headed into a period of darkness as far as that which Divali acknowledges is essential for a harmonious society – the generation of wealth.We call on all, especially the government, to play their role in lighting the light of wealth for our people and country.Happy Divali, Guyana.last_img read more


first_imgThe real fight this weekend is for second place at the box office. That’s because “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” is a shoe-in to take the top spot. The Harry Potter prequel kicks off this week’s “Showtime.”The world of J.K. Rowling is headed back to the big screen in “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.”Eddie Redmayne is Newt Scamander — a wizard with a thing for magical creatures.Some creatures escape and the world of magic is nearly discovered.Eddie Redmayne: “He’s a passionate guy that is misunderstood and is more happy in the comfort of his creatures than he is with humans.”“Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk” stars Joe Alwyn, Kristen Stewart, Steve Martin and Chris Tucker.It follows a group of soldiers whose act of bravery makes them heroes. While on leave, they battle PTSD, sudden stardom, family issues and the knowledge they have to return to the front-lines.Chris Tucker: “I think it’s going to give people a personal view of this soldier Billy of this movie of what some soldiers go though and the dealings with the family and relationships and the brotherhood of soldiers. I think it will give them a personal connection of what they all go through.”Growing up is hard, but it’s even harder when your best friend starts dating your older brother. That’s where “The Edge of Seventeen” begins. Hailee Steinfield and Woody Harrelson star in this coming of age movie that will make you wish you back in high school again.In “Nocturnal Animals,” Amy Adams is shaken to the core when her creepy ex writes a creepy book and dedicates it to her.It’s a psycho-thriller written by Tom Ford, you know the guy who designs super fashionable eyewear!And you can let Tom Ford scare you on your schedule.We’re giving away tickets to see “Nocturnal Animals” any Monday through Thursday at any Regal Theater in Dade or Broward. Enter to win by emailing your name, address and phone number to Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.last_img read more

In the wake of the terror attacks that hit Paris

first_imgIn the wake of the terror attacks that hit Paris, France, Facebook enabled a feature called “Safety Check,” allowing Facebook users in Paris to check-in so that loved ones would know they were safe.[Related: Zuckerberg Posts about Racial Injustice in Prison System]From the post dated November 14th:Yesterday, we activated Safety Check in Paris so that people there could let their friends and family know they were okay during the horrific events that took place. Communication is critical in moments of crisis, both for the people affected and for those far away who are anxious for news. People already turn to Facebook to check on loved ones and get updates during times like this and we created Safety Check to make these connections even easier.The post quickly received comments from many outraged that Facebook made the feature available for those in France and did not for prior terrorist attacks most of which occurred in the non-Western world.Image: File Image: FileMany also criticized that fact that Facebook allowed users of its platform to overlay their profile pic with the flag of France and did not offer that capability when other countries lost citizens from terrorism.Image: FileFacebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg responded to the criticism on his personal Facebook page. He wrote that many “rightfully” asked why Safety Check was turned on for France and not for attacks in Beirut or other places.He further commented that up until the France attacks, Facebook’s policy was to enable the feature only in the event of natural disasters. Zuckerberg wrote that Facebook changed its policy going forward and that Safety Check will be available in the unfortunate event of human disasters as well as natural ones.“We care about all people equally, and we will work hard to help people suffering in as many of these situations as we can,” Zuckerberg wrote.Image: FileThe use of Facebook for social justice issues and for national mourning has become standard across the globe. This past summer, more than 26 million Facebook users added a rainbow flag filter to their profile picture in support of same-sex marriage.“Openly declaring your support for gay marriage or dissatisfaction with modern policing [on social media] can create a brief moment where people who see the image have to think about the issue,” Philip Howard, a sociologist at the University of Washington and the director of the Digital Activism Research Project told The Washington Post. be_ixf; php_sdk; php_sdk_1.4.18 read more