Wey De Man With The Hammer Gone?

Posted on April 19, 2010 by 137 @ 3:53 pm | Category: Uncategorized

That question traditionally resurrects David Michael Rudder’s classic rendition of his 1986 melodic hit, “The Hammer”, honouring steel pan pioneer and steel band leader, Mr. Rudolph Charles (1938 -1985). And while Mr. Rudder’s voice sweetly calls on the chords of the chorus and steel pan notes harmoniously reply, it all seems to somehow give the answer to the question, or if not an answer, a satisfyingly fitting musical interlude that negates the need for an answer all together, but captures appreciation from the soul.

That is, until now…
It would seem that in 2010, the man with the hammer, after years of calling, made his presence felt with a passionate display of defiance at the gates of the Gods.
But this sledge hammer wielding man was not Mr. Charles, and these gates did not secure the heavens or the passage to the afterlife.
It was in fact, local activist Mr. Ishmael Samad and these gates are in Trinidad.
The only common denominator, it would seem, is that the gates were indeed protecting a God…or something larger than life itself.

Activist Ishmael Samad slams the gate of the Cascade home
of former UdeCOTT chairman Calder Hart with a sledgehammer
on Wednesday 14th April, 2010. (Trinidadexpress.com)

Mr. Samad went to Mr. Hart’s residence to make a citizen’s arrest based on the premise that Mr. Hart in his capacity as UdeCott chairman had wronged the people of Trinidad & Tobago. In an act of sheer passion, determination and frustration, he brandished a sledge hammer and dealt the mighty gates several blows. It is public knowledge, the events that transpired during and after the incident.
Damage to the gates was estimated at an unbelievable $200, 000. Mr. Samad was arrested and charged with malicious damage, no citizen’s arrest was made, Mr. Hart returned to Florida shortly thereafter.

My focus was not totally directed on the act itself but, rather, on what would cause/persuade/force a man such as Mr. Samad to take it upon himself to carry through with such an almost desperate plan of action. I use the word ‘desperate’ after much thought; when a man is left with little choice after all legitimate avenues have proven futile, desperation sets in. When expression is taken away from you, desperate measures replace conventional forums. When you genuinely feel you or your people have been blatantly disrespected, disregarded and reduced to helpless statistics, you are left with two choices…either rebel or ignore.

Mr. Samad chose to rebel against suppression, to stand up, to publicly express what most people would not dare to do… he did it on behalf of hundreds of thousands of people…and he did it alone.

So…”Wey de man with de hammer gone?” Well, to its most literal translation, the man with the hammer, Mr. Samad, went to the home of Mr. Hart to effect a citizen’s arrest. He was unsuccessful in his mission, but victorious, I would say, in his quest, which evokes a deeper meaning of the same question. It calls upon every citizen of this country, it pulls from deep within, from your soul like the tune, but it asks you about yourself, about your beliefs, about your spirit as a Trinbagonian.

So…again…”Wey de man with de hammer gone?” Look at yourselves. We come from a people that stood up for what they believed to be right. We come from a people who fought so that the produce of their blood, sweat and tears remained their own. We come from a people who were not afraid to clench rugged fists around proverbial hammers to break down walls of tyranny. We come from the man with the hammer. We have come from all of this…but look at where and what we have come to…

The old adage goes, ‘desperate times call for desperate measures.’ However, given the current state of affairs of the country and the general state of mind of the people, a transformation is in order; “Desperate times call for educated decisions.”

Such could never be more applicable than right now when the country is plagued with critical governing issues and a general election is mere weeks away. Now you can answer the call! Now you can redeem the strengths upon which our people uplifted themselves. May 24th is the day of reckoning; it is the day when the man with the hammer returns.

Wey de man with the hammer gone? On May 24th, your index finger becomes your sledge and on that date we say the man with the hammer never left.

So Mr Samad, thank you. Thank you for reminding us all of something we have taken for granted…For reminding us of the power we still have as a people…For reminding us that our struggle continues and that it is not in us, it is not in our people to submit. Our spirits may have been broken, but we still carry the hammer within us that the generations before us used. Thank you Mr. Samad, for reminding us of who we are, what we are made of and what we should stand for.

I admire his courage and the passion he has for what he believes in because it was selfless…it was never about him, but about us. I, admittedly, would not even think about carrying my protest to a private residence, much less consider forceful entry to get to the subject. Trespassing on or malicious damage to private property? I may not even take the chance unless it was personal…maybe. There is one question that provides food for thought in my mind though; is Mr. Hart’s property private or public?

So wey de man with the hammer gone?

“Somewhere up in Laventille, many years ago…
A man had a hammer, used to follow him to and fro…
He used to use it to pong a pan…
Or sometimes a stupid man….”

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