A severe test of nerves - Things That Matter

Cooks prepare meals during a food-testing exercise of the Olympic menu in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Diners will choose from five different buffets: Brazilian, Asian, International, Pasta and Pizza, Halal and Kosher, and everyone gets to dig into 40 varieties of Brazil’s exotic fruits like caju, acai, carambola, caqui, goiaba and maracuja. AP Photo

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Due to a hectic schedule and a well documented issue that has generated significant and heated debate, I had little private head space in recent days, so much so it would have been easy to feel a sense of despair.

Trying to address the multifaceted debate that purged the diversity of views and socio cultural and socio economic antecedents and make sense of the chaos, demanded a severe test of nerves.

As in most emotionally charged debates, the framework for learning is quickly distorted by those who position their views as deep well researched critical analysis.

Closer examination reveals that well presented and well argued opinion gets lost in the melee. The end result is that civility is soon the victim. It is a revelation for those who consider themselves neutral. But for those who hold strong opinions the volume is pumped up as if to say louder evolves to right.

It matters not. The train has left the station. An important aspect of it all is the willingness to remain engaged and accessible, it is no longer about sharing information or seeking first to understand. Is there space for seeing another’s view point?

The embrace of social media and the digital world has totally emasculated the rules of engagement in respect of debate. It is a brave heart that will stay the course but regardless of how savage the exchange, the quest for enlightenment requires patience and peace.

Violence, be it physical, verbal, mental or emotional only births a greater intensity of violence. Respect is calcified as judgement is elevated. In the end what we learn is that the line in the sand is drawn and moving forward is no longer a priority.

Those who advocate the loudest seize the spoils of victory—whatever that may be. All advanced societies go through periods of violence in whatever form. The discovery that it is in the heat of battle that clarity is arrived at and on the bedrock of clarity that mission and purpose clarity is acheived.

At times it may seem a futile battle to arrive at understanding. It is more about who is right and who is wrong.

Accountability and transparency must never be sacrificed because of the fear of scrutiny. The battle scars are more than worth it. Scrutiny, as disagreeable as it may be, also brings clarity. It is in the white heat of debate battle that understanding is forged.

In moving sport forward, this is a necessary travail. Scrutiny, transparency and accountability. Trinidad and Tobago is a wonderful country with passionate people. In our very own way we all make an invaluable contribution to the development of the twin Island Republic.

We are a rainbow nation with a diversity of views and perspectives. From the search for truth and truth telling will emerge self discovery and oneness and the discovery that there is no us and them but we. It may take time and perseverance but clarity of vision, mission and purpose is an embrace of the simultaneous journey and destination.

Namaste.

Brian Lewis is president of the T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC). The views expressed are not necessarily those of the Olympic Committee. Support #10 Golds24 Athlete Welfare and Preparation Fund make your donations to any branch of Scotiabank account 171188.

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