There is a saying in classical Roman literature that “ Whom the gods love, die young.”
There is also another saying, that “Cowards die many times before their death. The valiant never taste of death but once,” attributed by Shakespeare to Julius Caesar in his play entitled “Julius Caesar.”
Said Caesar to his wife, “It seems to me strange that men should fear death, seeing that death, a necessary end, will come when it will come.”
These are strange, but profound words. Death is unpredictable. Which of us would dare to tempt the fates, by trying to predict the length of the ordinary life of a seemingly healthy person?
Accidents, death as a result of robbery or unexpected violence and/or the internal malfunctioning of some part of our complex physical system may serve to give the lie to any of our predictions.
Winston Derrick, a man with less than a decade to go to reach the proverbial three score and 10 years of Biblical fame and prediction, did not find favour with the gods, and die young. He survived to make a lasting contribution by breaking the restrictive barrier of media suffocation and, by virtue of his daily appearances on the Radio show.
“The Voice of the People,” was not expected to die so soon. There had been no suspicion of a life-threatening illness that would have served as the harbinger of his demise, sudden or normal. The expectation of hearing him next week was sufficient to keep the flame of expectation alive. But this was not to be. The Romans had a phrase “Dum spiro, spero.” The classical meaning of the Latin phrase is “While there is life, there is hope.” The literal translation is, “While I breathe, I hope.”
When Winston had ceased to breathe, that signalled the end of hope and calls for a re-alignment of the affairs of everything in which he was involved.
What lesson ought this to teach us? Life is a constant learning process and we must learn as if to live forever. Live as if to die today. The motto of The Daily OBSERVER is “Let there be light.” Light is the antithesis of darkness, and darkness can only generate darkness. Light comes from the generation of an enabling power. In terms of an enabling power, knowledge has been the source of the OBSERVER‘s source of Light.
The bravery of Winston in helping to generate the light that did bid to and illuminate the pathway of the media in Antigua & Barbuda has been unique and phenomenal. In his battle, there was no delaying tactic. The action was brave and dauntless. He faced the foe and stood up and fought, regardless.
The result was clear, unambiguous and decisive. He did not flinch and vacillate many times in the process. Like the valiant, he tasted of death, but once. Let there be light? As long as the media exists in Antigua & Barbuda, his legacy will live on and continue to shine to remind future generations of the darkness out of which we came into the glorious light of Freedom of the Press and the Media.
May the Motto “Let there be light” not only be of Biblical significance, but also continue to be of a significant means of illuminating the pathway of all our journalists in the future.