I heard that excellent presentation ‘El Dorado Complex in the shaping of the Indo-Guyanese: A Revisionist Perspective’ by Professor Clem Seecharan to mark the 2014 Republic of Guyana Distinguished Lecture Series. I hope that it is available to the public, so that I can hear/read and absorb better a second time around. Once is never enough for a discourse like this.
He was very candid, open and objective; he certainly did some digging, and I hope some myths and false perceptions will be cleared up, many so deliberately twisted for different purposes. Indeed, one expects that this fine lecture will serve to stimulate robust debate for an enlightenment and understanding of our uneasy situation in relation to each other in so many ways.
Though far from being Pandora’s Box, I suspect there will be some who will be ruffled by some of his revelations. I once heard an Indian professor/historian from Trinidad who was proceeding along the very same route – reading from the same page as Professor Seecharan – but I wasn’t successful in getting her interviews that were shown by NCN.
I need to point out that I have so far noted Mr EB John’s ‘An insult to an intelligent audience’ (KN, March 8), in which he expressed his disappointment and annoyance at the “abrupt truncation” of a repeat of that presentation which robbed viewers of the Professor’s critically climactic appeal to the divided society to have a conversation that would lead eventually to a “unified nation.”
A good thing about the professor’s talk is the kind of inspiration it gives; it sets the tone for one to have latitude; to search; to open up hitherto closed doors and question without any sort of guilt or cheap shame; to face the truth head on in spite of any discomfort. As he correctly said, “if we can’t understand and accept the truth then we can’t move forward… will not have respect for each other in a sincere and meaningful way.” This underscores some things that I have noted for so long – in fact many of us have.
Let me say frankly that indeed we will not move one inch forward – I do not mean sprawling buildings and posh vehicles and personal material possessions. Not that at all; let us not quibble about it, we are rapidly losing good ground, hooked on the rat race and race-race and seem to think that we are doing fine.
As we are known to be, we are hesitant and timid to openly discuss our problems of genuine fear about each other when we are gathered. We feel much more free, secure and comfortable to do so among our own kind, and lord knows there are so many hurting issues to be addressed. What we perceive and fear about each other we keep bottled up inside, though inevitably our actions betray us by painting a different picture. Often time what comes from the lips is not in harmony with the heart. As you move around there are glaring unhealthy and dangerous mindsets among Afro and Indo Guyanese towards each other, that have clicked in anew and are spreading. There are new nuances of existing beliefs being fostered for various reasons which are definitely not allowing for righteous bonding.
Professor Clem Seecharan has given quite a talk much for our Indian brothers and sisters to ponder on, and a challenge to step out of their zone. We ought to welcome such frank, open and objective discussion by all scholars and historians in addressing our many troubling issues and not just those sugar-coated stories. I repeat as I stated above the need for this lecture to be printed and made available for public consumption. It is much too valuable to be skimmed or played down.