By NICOLE BURROWS
IT usually takes me quite some time to make up my mind about something, especially if it’s something of great importance or meaning to me. But, when I finally do make up my mind, the plan is quickly and fully executed, no details missed, because lots of thought and preparation have already gone into the process.
When something is absolutely not right for me, I know immediately. When I’m done with it, I know immediately. My decision to keep that thing in my life is a function of: 1) my other options, 2) my connection to it, or maybe even something as simple as 3) my degree of boredom at the time. It might take me some time to pull something on board my plan, but not much to get rid of it. And it often doesn’t seem like any time at all to others when I toss something overboard, in fact it seems abrupt... but they don’t see the backstage planning and the churning of my thoughts.
Those who know me very well - and they are very few - know this about me: I ponder the heck out of something I need to consider and my action on it is ultimately swift. I don’t always know exactly what I want, but I always know exactly what I don’t want and that is, generally, to linger in doubt and uncertainty. If there is a way for me to know or do something, I know or do it. I don’t hang around waiting for the last crack in the hull that tears the ship apart and sinks everything on board. Being overly committed and sacrificial are not traits of mine.
It’s easier for me to make swift decisions, as a single person with no one else to consider, but I’m almost certain that, if I were not single, I would still cut the necessary cords swiftly and cleanly if I had to. If I can help it at all, I’m not actually hanging on to the point where someone has to tell me “it’s time” or ask me to leave. Thankfully, no one has ever had to and I hope no one ever will.
My thinking is this: if it’s not working out, what are you waiting for to find out about it? Especially if it’s been weeks, months, years...? All you do is torture yourself - and others I might add - and deny yourself the possibility of something more wonderful waiting in the wings where you can’t see it. And this thinking can be applied to all types of situations: personal relationships, professional endeavours, political leadership. So many people, supposedly of faith, live more by fear. They forget what started them on their path was a first step. Without a first step, a journey will never be finished for you to begin a new one. And life is filled with a series of journeys which you should want to take, as they groom you with wisdom through experience. Fear has no place in there, because it obstructs progress... your own and others.
You can’t be afraid to move on. I would think that there’s actually more pride in moving forward instead of dangling mid-air, because the more you are suspended the weaker you become, the weaker your plan, the weaker your resolve. Movement, constant movement, requires more movement, and that’s how you get things done.
If there’s one thing the Panama Papers scandal and the downfall of Iceland’s Prime Minister Gunnlaugsson has reinforced for us is that, in a truly civil society, when the people say you have to go, you go. If you don’t do as they ask, they push you out. Now, the people of Iceland say the whole of their government must go, including their President Grimsson who didn’t acquiesce to the people’s request for him to dismiss Gunnlaugsson in the first instance.
You don’t linger until the people hate you, vilify you, and are apt to curse you and spit on you if they ever see you in the streets. If you get them to this point, there is little to nothing that you can convince them of beyond here. Where’s your pride? Where’s your decency? Are you going to hang around until they have to take you down by force? Until you’re too old to move, and you can’t get out of your own way? Where’s the dignity in that? If you do this, all it says is that you think no matter what the people say, you still and always will - as far as you’re concerned - know what’s best for them... and it includes you not leaving. “Bow out gracefully” escapes your comprehension and certainly your vocabulary.
We have the crap leaders that we do in The Bahamas because we allow foolishness to prevail. Look at our Parliament circus. Look at Mr Christie. Look at Mr Minnis. Their own followers can hardly stand them yet they remain where they are. Obviously the puppets are pulling their own strings and the people are too unwise or too indifferent to care. Why? Because they’re the same way... they’re not making plans to move forward. They are perfectly happy to linger, be stationary, dormant even. No real movement, no real progress. Their status quo is what they abide by in every respect so they are quite content if the people who lead them now, which at some point includes them, is who remains in leadership.
With more than 15,000 companies in the Mossack Fonseca data leak being incorporated in The Bahamas, I wonder just how many of our people, our politicians, the ones still alive and keeping secrets, are itching in a place that can’t be scratched, potentially holding their breath for a very long time to find out who among them and their families and associates will be called into question, as was the UK’s Prime Minister David Cameron and his Icelandic counterpart.
1977 to 2015 is a long time to collect information. And while we all want to know about our political leaders’ (especially) duplicitous behaviour, what if we ourselves had millions to stash privately? Would we not? It’s a serious question. And perhaps more than half of us might say yes, if we thought we could protect our assets then we would. So how many tax cheats would that be in total exactly? And though you’ve never paid income taxes, per se, in The Bahamas, you know of what I speak, because you’ve dodged the customs duty bill most times you come through Bahamas Customs. For some of the biggest shoppers among you that is standard practice. So, really, we live in a world of cheating, dishonest, evasive people, everyone just trying to hold onto what they can at whatever cost they’re willing to pay. What a world.
Meanwhile, Hope Strachan, Minister of Financial Services, says the news of the Panama leaks is very disconcerting. It must be hard to have to stick your neck so far out for the entire financial services industry about which you know so little in the past 40 years, not knowing whose names could potentially be called sooner or later.
The new and improved WhatsApp is supposed to be end-to-end encrypted, supposedly protecting us from data leaks, hopefully safeguarding us against something of the same magnitude as the Panama Papers. This encryption, in short, is supposed to mean that messages sent in the app can only be accessed by the sender and the recipient. I’m guessing most people think, or thought, that everything they did online was already end-to-end encrypted. But do we really buy into this?
Think about it. Unless you are yourself a coder or cryptographer, how do you really know that your messages are safe? Nothing is foolproof is it? After all, WhatsApp belongs to Facebook, the largest indirect and unapologetic data miner on the planet... which now owns another one of the biggest communications companies on the planet. Obviously, Facebook saw some great potential in WhatsApp, having acquired it for $19bn. Here’s a hint at one aspect of that “potential”: if you notice, when you use WhatsApp and your Facebook app is open, you get stories and ads in your Facebook timeline that connect to things you type in WhatsApp.
And, even though WhatsApp is still operated by its founders Brian Acton and Jan Koum, it still belongs to Facebook. How do we know, perhaps, in the biggest communications collusion ever, that Facebook, courtesy of WhatsApp, hasn’t just built a super strong and incredibly false sense of security for you to be at complete ease and let down your defenses, only to hand over your data at a later date?
Perhaps the safest measure to take, in light of all these concerns about data, is to assume that nothing, no communications technology, keeps your personal data 100 per cent safe.
• Send email to nburrows @tribunemedia.net.