4 Apr 2010

Aruba Libre!

Posted by Robert Gibson

As the first column in what I hope will be a long series of entries, I would like to introduce you to just a little of what is to come:

Throughout the history of mankind, from the unfortunate incident that led to banishment from the Garden of Eden , literature has recorded our ceaseless search to locate or create a perfect place to live; a perfect society.  Whether it has been called The Promised Land, Paradise, Atlantis, Utopia, Shangri La, the New World, El Dorado, or even Margaritaville, we have yet to succeed in this endeavor.  I embarked on my own quest back in the 1990′s when I arrived at the conclusion that living and life in the United States was no longer a viable option if I wanted to find true happiness and contentment.  Politically, economically, and socially, I found myself at odds with what U.S. society had become.  My expectations of a new home carried no thoughts of perfection though,  because lessons learned over the years reinforced the maxim that mankind and perfection will never merge, but I was hoping to come ashore on my version of Margaritaville when I accepted an offer to live and teach in Aruba.

In 1997, Aruba was a truly amazing Southern Caribbean isle, a land of promise and of paradox.  An island blessed with strong refreshing trade winds, never-ending sunshine, and a unique history of settlement and development.  It was just what I had been looking for and fit my own short list of necessary criteria.  Situated within kayaking distance, just a little over fifteen miles from Venezuela (the present day Land of Chavez!   An interesting tale in itself to be covered at another time), and historically a natural crossroads and melting pot.  Aruba was  like a pair of old dungarees- a soft, suave, custom fit.  Aruba was all I could ask for and more, and it was here that I landed.  Upon disembarking from my flight, as the sunshine, breeze, and heat from the tarmac of Queen Beatrix Airport greeted me, I felt like I had attained my goal of relocation in time and space- to Gibson Nirvana!  I felt I had found a place to live and love!  To fly-fish, dive, snorkel, read, write, recline in a hammock, golf, drink, dine, smoke, teach, and talk of nothing and everything with kindred spirits.  A place to take long walks on pristine uncrowded beaches, and short walks off old piers.  A place to embark on great adventures and journeys to other islands and the treasures of south and central America.  A place to bask in the beauty of mother nature, and indulge in the simple pleasures of life.  All at a pace that would allow the flavors of life to be savored to the fullest!  So this is how the tale begins, and what follows are the adventures, the successes, the joys, the disappointments, the lessons, and the folly- served up Aruba style.

But Aruba, like all places, has changed.  Now don’t get me wrong, I knew change was inevitable, yet Aruba today is not what it should be or could be.  The ramifications and associated resultant outcomes of many things – both internal and external-  situations, events, and actions that had over the years already been set in motion, began rising to the surface at an alarming rate.  The majority of which are now quickly spiraling out of control as development, folly, and population continue to boom.  The long list of island positives that made Aruba so special was and is being depleted exponentially.   What was once to me a land of beauty and promise, is now in danger of disappearing under a sea of asphalt, concrete, and public debt,  unless drastic changes in attitudes and stewardship take place.   Aruba still has hope.  It can still recapture it’s promises of a special, unique, way of living.  It still has potential.   It still has room to grow.  It still has the resources . . . especially sun, wind, and sea.  But Aruba and its islanders must be emancipated, set free from the enslavement brought on by a failing system of education, mass tourism, unplanned- unsustainable development, the legacy of the history of the Caribbean, decolonization, bureaucracy, nativism, discrimination, modernization, globalization, materialism, and the failures of Democracy in the 21st century.

Aruba’s people desperately need to be provided with the information and the tools to break the shackles of a master leading it on a path of self destruction and environmental disaster!  2010 finds a new government in power.  A last chance to reverse the flow of the tides of history!  Are they willing to take the steps necessary to do what it takes to right a sinking ship and set it on a new, safer and more productive viable course?

This is my motivation – enough not to leave, but to wield a pen, and raise a voice of dissent,  in this blog and in other venues.  I take it upon myself to inform , to educate, to call to action.  It is possible to energize a small community to see, to think, to question, and to take control of its future.   It is the hope – my hope- that 2010 and beyond will see the first true steps in a new and vital cause – Aruba Libre!

Robert Gibson

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One Response to “Aruba Libre!”

  1. What is it about this entry that you do not agree with ?

     

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