The Greatest Whatever

In an age of increasing sensitivity to what people have been calling diversity and equality the use of comparative and superlative adjectives has become a hypocritical chess game. As a result, parenting has become a parental black hole. Leading has become figure-headed wandering. Excellence has been downgraded to “great efforts”, everyone takes home a trophy, and the truly great ones are hidden behind bullying, prejudice, and insignificant conflicts based on the love of gain, personal and national pre-eminence.

The colonial and imperial mentality with its greed and domination motifs, heroes and villains, still pops up from time to time, reminding us that humanity is what it is: a creature with options. The current Canadian furor about the word “sons” in the national anthem illustrates how thought leaders can pettifog, pretending to be aiming for the sky in recognizing diversity and equality. It has not dawned on Canadian patriots, to tease out how the First Nations lost their sovereignty, in Canada, the USA, Australia, New Zealand, the Caribbean, South America, and the Levant. Who are the heroes and villains in the great slave of Africans?

O Canada! Our home and native land!

True patriot love in all thy sons command.

With glowing hearts we see thee rise,

The True North strong and free!

From far and wide, O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

God keep our land glorious and free!

O Canada, we stand on guard for thee. O Canada, we stand on guard for thee!

Here is an example of the greatest nothing. Polls (for changing/against) report: 4/31, 594/5398, 3/9, and 12%/83%. Since when does son not mean offspring, adopted or otherwise, especially in a nation with an English language heritage? Since when does we or our not include the speaker (the singer)? What is Canada’s gender? Why is this anthem using 16th century pronouns: thy, thee? Millions of believers read and study the best-seller of all time in the same 16th century language as the anthem uses, the King James Version of the Bible. Just look up sons in the Christian heritage!

On the trail of the greatest we find all eyes looking back in time, way back, to ancient Babylon, the Medo-Persian empire, Greece and Rome, the first and second world wars. The present is irrelevant, because labelling anyone as the greatest other than a martial arts fighter who just knocked out the opponent runs the risk of calling someone a loser. To call something the greatest is to relegate another to “the pits”, and we can’t have that, can we? There are however men, women, boys and girls, all over the planet who are the greatest.

Malalal Yousfazai is the bravest victim of Taliban misogyny and backwardness. I could be wrong.

What label does Nelson Mandela deserve? What wreath will Barack Obama wear? Does not Winnie Churchill ought to have a crown for standing up to Hitler? Which of the trading nations will rise to the top of the list of Babylon’s prostitute daughters? Does anyone want to claim the title “Greater than Babylon the Great”?

We thought Solomon was wise. What is his legacy in connection with the revealed wisdom of his ancestors? We were sure that Moses was legislator par excellence. Where are his disciples today? We thought the caesars and Alexander were great. Where exactly is their squeaky-clean legacy?

By the way, doesn’t the biggest sword go hand in hand with the biggest shop?

And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword. Revelation 6:4

And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived. Revelation 18:23

And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more: Revelation 18:11

The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble, Revelation 18:12

And cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men. Revelation 18:13

Which nation will stand up as the refuge for oppressed people?

Which nation will take the prize for a religion (culture?) of intolerance of foreigners?

Which nation will stand up for the equal right of all its people?

Which nation wears the crown for its drug culture?

Who wields the biggest sword?

Who built the longest wall?

Where is the peace and security the United Nations is supposed to guarantee?

Don’t everybody stand up now.

Envelope please. The Oscar goes to ………………………….the greatest … magician who has … disappeared from the front row.

The search continues. Nobody wants to be the greatest any more.