Alain Ah-Vee, LALIT member, had been invited to be on the Radio One program “Controverse” due to come up Friday 4 August. It was on the question of using the mother tongue in education. Darlmah Naeck who had invited him, also explained that the other guest would be University lecturer, Veena Balgobin. Alain accepted.
Mr. Naick then phoned back later. He informed Alain that he was now formally “dis-inviting” him.
To do something quite so rude demands a reason. He is not only an honourable man, but he is also a rational man, Darlmah Naeck. So, reason he came up with.
The other guest, Veena Balgobin, who he had previously thought was “against” the use of the mother tongue, he explains, is instead, he has just discovered, in fact, “for” using the mother tongue. He needs one guest for, one against. Rules is rules.
So, he has been obliged to impose this strange and unusual “dis-invitation” on Alain, who was to have been his guest.
Supposing we believe his fairy story. Why not, after all, give the man the benefit of the doubt.
Now, read on …
Next day, Alain Ah-Vee together with another Lalit member, Kisna Kistnasamy, go to see Darlmah Naeck in another capacity and on another issue altogether (elucidated later in this article). When Alain, who was, incidentally, at school with Darlmah, pulls his leg about the “dis-invitation”, and asks who he has finally got to speak “against” the mother tongue to balance his program, this is what Darlmah Naeck, ever the reasonable man, comes up with by way of explanation:
He found out that Veena Balgobin, who he had, at first, thought was against, then found out was for, turned out, in the end, to be against.
So… you would think this was a prelude to re-inviting Alain, thus absolving himself of his prior despicable behavior. Then he would again have one guest for and one against, as the format of his radio program dictates.
Life is never so simple.
Darlmah Naeck announces barefacedly that he has invited Rada Tirvassen instead. (Rada Tirvassen, of course, had no idea what had happened, so is an innocent guest, in all this whose only relationship to the question is that he, like Alain, is in favour of using the mother tongue.)
To put the little cherry on top of Darlmah Naeck’s moral cake, as they say, when the program finally comes out on air, he has invited three guests (THREE), not the two he was supposedly bound to invite. He has invited Jimmy Harmon (another innocent guest whose only relationship to the question is that he, like Alain and Rada, is in favour of using the mother tongue.
So, everyone in Lalit was busy laughing at Darlmah Naeck, wondering what occult pressures this poor radio journalist had come under to make him act so outright dishonourably.
Now, read on ….
When all of a sudden, Alain Ah-Vee suffered yet another “dis-invitation” from another Radio Station.
On Thursday 3 August, he had been formally invited by Nawaz Noorbux to be on a Radio Plus program the following Tuesday afternoon, 8 August, this time on the role of diplomacy around the aggression on Lebanon. Foreign Affairs Minister, Madun Dulloo, was also to be invited. This was confirmed a number of times by Nawaz and by other people at Radio Plus. On the night of 7 August, Lalit held a very moving and powerful vigil in support of the people of the Lebanon and Palestine, and amongst other demands the gathering called for diplomatic relations with Israel to be suspended.
Then, on the morning of the day of the program, the phone rings. Alain happens to be at the Lalit offices. It is the secretary at Radio Plus. She tells Alain that Nawaz Noorbux’s program will be on “diplomacie” and maybe there will be another one on “humanitaire”. So Alain says, “Well, that means I come tonight?” She replies, “Nawaz is going to phone you to explain to you not to come.”
So, Nawaz, completely dictated to, just as Darlmah Naeck is, hides his head in shame and can’t even bring himself to explain in person. Because of course, he never phoned back. In his case, not even an attempt at an honourable exit, or reasonable face on it.
Twice in one week. This makes Alain Ah-Vee this week’s “person most dis-invited by radio” on the planet.
Lalit has this kind of treatment from time to time. Just in case people think we are so marginal as to be insignificant, one has to imagine the lengths that some powers that be somewhere must have to go to to make perfectly reasonable and perfectly honourable men like Naeck and Noorbux behave with such irrationality, not to mention dishonour.
And as everyone knows, on a permanent basis, neither MBC Radio nor MBC television ever broadcast any program with Ram Seegobin viva voce, unless forced to by electoral law.
What effect does this kind of control have on presumably self-respecting journalists’ psyches?
Now read on …
Once upon a time, in the press
Alain Ah-Vee and Kisna Kistnasamy, as part of the preparations for the Vigil in support of the Lebanese and Palestinian people to be held on 7 August, took a half day off work and went to see a number of editors of newspapers. Their aim in going in person was to explain the general intention of Lalit and former President of the Republic Cassam Uteem in jointly organizing such a vigil (see web articles), and in co-ordinating a petition that would be there at the vigil for people to sign up to on the night. There would be only four days in which to organize the solidarity vigil, and the Press could thus contribute to the cause of ending the aggression, by informing their readers of one of the local Mauritian responses to this main focus of all the international news and media, as well as national press and media, world-wide. Not that the Mauritian Press had, until then, been particularly helpful in exposing the US-backed Israeli aggression.
Anyway, on Thursday 4 August, they set off to see them all. First they went to see Le Mauricien editor in chief, Gilbert Ahnee. He said he could carry either a small article on the Friday, with the petition written up, or when all the details were known about the Vigil, a longer one on the Saturday. Alain and Kisna said the Saturday idea sounded much better. So a deadline was duly agreed upon. The details for an article were duly submitted in time to the email address agreed upon. According to his staff, Gilbert Ahnee did not come to the office on Friday evening.
No article appeared on Saturday.
There was a small article on the Monday afternoon paper i.e. a few hours before the night vigil was due to start.
What happened? Perhaps Gilbert Ahnee was not well, and co-ordination with his staff fell through.
Read on …
Similarly, Alain and Kisna had been to see Gerard Cateaux, editor of Week-End, who was the only editor who had already written very good editorials denouncing the agression of Israel and the US in the Middle East. He said he would put a reporter in charge of writing something. All the Lalit members had to do was to get the material to him and liaise. It would be carried in Sunday’s newspaper. The journalist concerned, we happen to know, did write an article. Sunday came and went without any article about the vigil. In fact, there was no news on Lebanon at all. Nor was there an international page at all. Nor an editorial.
Inexplicable. Maybe Gerard Cateaux was also not well, and co-ordination somehow fell through again. Coincidence, no doubt.
Read on …
Similarly, Alain and Kisna went to see Darlmah Naeck, 5-Plus Editor. He also said he would carry the details for the event on Sunday. Just submit everything in time. Alain and Kisna did.
In his newspaper, too, there was nothing.
Dis-invited twice on radio already.
Maybe he was also not well, and co-ordination somehow fell through.
Read on …
A Le Dimanche reporter submitted an article, but it did not appear in the newspaper.
The only newspaper that carried an article at a time when it could have been helpful was L’Express Dimanche . It, however, had a miniscule article, so small it failed to mention the participation in organizing the event of the former President of the Republic in the protest.
Please would everyone who has any tendency when they meet Lalit members to say, “But why didn’t you get that into the Press”, take note of this amazing, true “Once upon a time …” story.
Maybe we should try harder.