July 24, 2012

Oprah Angers India's Custodians Of Its Government's Tourism/Investment Dreams

Apparently, millions of Indians are deeply offended by Oprah’svisit to their country which she filmed and used as part of her Next Chapter series. Oh wait, by millions of Indians, I mean several Indian media houses. By the way, not everyone in the media houses, just those in a position where they understand clearly they are working as the Government’s PR Companies, helping it to attract foreign investment and tourism. They have a special job to do in painting a certain picture of India at all times- Up and coming G8 nation! Glamorous Bollywood! The Modern India! High Tech India! Rapidly Changing To Gender Equal India! So when Oprah showed the poverty in India or the fact that most Indians eat with their hands (I don’t know what so embarrassing about that. How else you suppose to eat paratha?) or the fact there is still a caste system in place, it tarnished the shiny lie.

You see as a Caribbean woman in general and a Trini woman in particular, I real familiar with this scheme. I know it because I living in a tourist-isle right now that trying to constantly attract Investment. The media here tends to be rather lax about reporting the unflattering news of which there is plenty. I know it because of Patos days when he make my force-ripe T&T pretend to be Up and coming G8 nation for Obama’s visit and used Chinese slave labor to do it. And the so-called Afro-centric people who love him so in the ghetto don’t even realize that if you really “FOR BLACK PEOPLE”, the first thing you would do is honor your ancestral heritage by NEVER inflicting the pain of slavery unto another race of people like it was done to your ancestors. But in Trinidad, it was “the black people dem Government” having Chinese people living in slave quarters, getting sick, not getting paid. And for what again? Oh yes, a pappy show!

In Patos days it was woe to any media house that did not applaud at the pappy show. No unflattering coverage of T&T was allowed. We have a Hyatt godammit! And a retarded version of Sydney Opera House round de Savannah. We REACH!!!!!!!!!!

The one positive stereotype about India that actually proves to be true is the spirituality found there which was primarily Oprah’s focus.

So we started painting a picture of Trinidad and Tobago that is not entirely real. We even got our very own episode of Househunters on HGTV. What was it about again? Oh yes, an oil worker from Texas having to relocate to work in our country’s petroleum sector. They eventually settled for a gated community with full time security of course! We REACH!!!!!!

Perhaps if it was a story of a returning Trini American family coming back here to retire or an foreign artist who came to live here because of being inspired by the culture, maybe I would have been less suspicious. Only because that would be so far-fetched it had to be true because nobody would believe it even if it were a lie. We know damn well that NO Trini American family EVER returns to Trinidad to retire. Times real hard in the USA and it becoming racially hostile yet you seeing St. Lucians returning home. You are seeing Grenadians returning home. You are seeing even Dominicans returning home. Trinis, they will stick it out till the end!  Romeny will have to use the National Guard to get them out (those without visas anyway) if he get elected president and his law enforcement better prepare for some serious fight…with obeah and thing.  Most Trinis too chicken shit for the physical pain of resisting arrest. We don’t do hunger strikes. We are also not the standing in front of a tank Teinemen Square types. We had a Government Minister called Hulsie who tried to protest and as soon as she bamcee touch the highway a soca tune start playing and everybody forget what she was protesting about. We cannot even throw a proper coup. So the most the NIS have to worry about when they come to drag Yasmin and she anchor baby Jaleel to JFK and put her on a flight to Piarco is she offer them “sweat rice” or make them a so foot.

You just have to LOVE the juxtaposition of the photo and the main headline. This sums up Trinidad and Tobago PERFECTLY!!!!

As for a story about the foreign artists who come here. Well, that love affair’s shelf life is only as long until the first assault, rape, burglary that happens to them. It is not the crime itself that makes them fall out of love. They know that unfortunate crimes happen even in their first world countries. No, it’s the ineptitude of the police and the constipation of the justice system that makes them cool considerably towards the land of calypso. Of course, if you really want them to flee, make them use the public health facilities.

But we REACH right?  Just like India.

What I find a bit confusing though is, How come these offended Indians were not complaining about all the episodes of The Amazing Race on CBS when the contestants went to India and the film crew captured real racing footage and almost everyone in the Western Hemisphere with cable saw India's true condition for more than a decade now, the crowded streets, beggars, street children, filthy water, poorer castes, hungry eyed men gaping at the American women and groping them on the train. And what of Slumdog Millionaire that showed the real conditions of the poor in Mumbai, including the outbreak of religious violence between Muslims and Hindus resulting in terrible deaths?

Why are these media houses acting like this is the FIRST time their country's no so flattering side has been exposed?

Were they expecting SOMETHING of Oprah they would not expect of the powerful white, male CBS directors and white male Hollywood execs? Were they expecting her to kowtow to them and do their tourist and political public relations for them? Why? Because she has Deepak Chopra on her show every now and then and urges her guests to practice meditation? Does that mean she must also give up her journalistic integrity? She started out as a newsperson. This is what people forget and she will explore the story for what it is at the end of the day. India is way too vast to explore and its population too large. So she picked a poor family and a wealthy family and since the vast majority of India is poor, I would say she actually gave “Wealthy India” more than fair coverage.

That aforementioned, is me thinking of the best case scenario for why the Indians are offended at her because the worse case would be they think that because she is a woman and black, they can intimidate Oprah while they keep their polite smiles on for the white, male CBS directors and white male Hollywood execs and the Brangelinas of the world, who highlight all the poverty and inequality of India more often than Oprah ever did.

Modern India indeed!

In true modern societies the media does not have to play sycophant to the Government and spread propaganda to the world. It is not just the Caribbean and India that should take note but America too. Unless you are living in utopia, true patriots of their country always have a love hate relationship with it. Oh and it is an "out of the closet" relationship. You share both what you love and hate about your country with the world in an effort to appeal to be honest and forge true understanding on a global scale.

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