Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 22nd 2015 Contents Rustling with energy backstage,
dozens of children waited in dark-
ness and silence, as senior dancers
with Lilliput Theatre Company per-
formed lines from Malala Yousafzai s
Nobel Laureate acceptance speech. A
few girls in front of me mouthed lines
as they listened and fidgeted, impatient
for their cue.
Malala s words were starkly humbling.
My chest quietly swelled with feeling,
over the three nights of this weekend s
performance, every time I heard the
young performers quoting her say: "I
had two options. One was to remain
silent and wait to be killed. And the
second was to speak up and then be
killed. I chose the second one. I decided
to speak up."
What a lesson for us adults.
When Malala visited Trinidad, I had
explained her story to Ziya. I was
explicit that Malala had been shot in
the head, and that there were men who
did not want girls to be educated.
"Why?" Zi kept asking, as four-year-
olds do, when adults struggle to explain
Lilliput s show now led Zi to seize
upon Mighty Gabby s song, Government
Boots, which played just before Zi went
on stage. "What are government boots?
Who is Tommy?" she started asking,
taken with the catchy refrain of "left,
right, left, right."
I explained that the song was telling
Barbados PM Tom Adams there should
not be so many soldiers. "Why?" she
The sound of soldiers boots frightens
many people. Soldiers hurt people with
guns, and some children are forced to
be soldiers after being taken away from
Again: "But why?"
Imagine the show, in which Zi played
a child bride, making her start these
conversations, real ones about girls
being forced to marry men they don t
know and boys being forced to hurt
people, instead of them all being safe
with their families and in schools.
Imagine me wrestling with how and
how much to tell her the truth, won-
dering what constitutes age appropri-
ate knowledge when it s about the real-
ities of children her own age.
Imagine her at night, with her mind
effervescing, as all children s do just as
you want them to close their eyes and
sleep, with questions about Malala and
"Do the children see their families
again?" she asked. Imagine all this
because I only wanted her to grow less
shy and more confident, and make
friends, by taking a dance class.
But it seems the world doesn t allow
girls to grow up innocent so.
I admired that Noble Douglas and her
company compelled parents, past stu-
dents and more to invest in one way or
another in giving our children a chance
to dress up and dance to the chorus,
"No, no, no." And there s one line Zi
now remembers from Malala s speech:
"Let this be the last time."
For me, seeing the whole process,
from weeks of Saturday morning classes
to rehearsal chaos and finally to a huge
cast of exuberant children on stage, also
humbling was the show s determined
mix of community parenting, feminism,
global politics, children s rights,
Caribbean culture and joyous creativity.
There was a small army of mostly
women, helping with children, costumes
or make up, making me appreciate how
much labour matters beyond what is
waged and counts toward GDP, making
me recognise the sacrifices of women
who never saw the show because there
wasn t anyone who equally shared their
childcare responsibility, making me
want to ask: "But why?" like Zi.
Unbelievably, after all this, all Zi told
her school friends about the show was
that she had on makeup. I had to
laugh. Seems Lilliput also scored in Zi s
world of actual priorities of four-year-
EDITOR'S NOTE: Gabrielle Hosein's
column will return to its usual Thursday
spot next week.
Friday, May 22, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
The political battle is heating up and al-
though the election date is yet to be an-
nounced, the battle has surely began. The both
major political parties have national events on
Sunday which marks the end of the five-year
period since the election was won by the UNC
led coalition in 2010.
The PNM has its family day and surely in-
tends to speak out on the Government going
over five years of being elected.
The UNC also has its anniversary celebra-
tions on Sunday and some see it as the per-
fect opportunity to announce the election
One thing is for sure, they will be both
measuring up to see which party has attracted
the largest crowd and the competition for live
media coverage will be fierce. This may be the
final major rally by the both parties prior to the
official election date being announced.
This is the season where political parties
will seek the approval of the electorate to as-
cend to government or maintain government.
We expect lots of energy and fanfare in a
bid to rally the troops and oil the machinery.
sea of yellow in the east.
The population will be looking on, as the
election date is the center of attention in the
midst of all the other burning issues in the
Both parties will do well to note that the
marginal seats will determine this election and
these are the people that will be looking on
from their homes.
In this regard we would like to hear more
policy discussions and less bacchanal.
After all is said and done on election day
there can only be one winner. In our Westmin-
ster model "winner takes all."
DIARY OF A MOTHERING WORKER
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When Malala visited Trinidad, I had explained her story to Ziya. I was explicit that Malala had been shot in the head,
and that there were men who did not want girls to be educated. "Why?" Zi kept asking, as four-year-olds do, when
adults struggle to explain complex situations.
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