‘Ignorant insensitivity’

Dear Editor,

I stopped writing letters in the press because there is a nauseating level of ignorant insensitivity that emanates from the pages of all the print media houses in Guyana as it relates to issues involving or connected with Guyanese of African descent. That is why it is so urgent and important that there be African Guyanese ownership and editorial control of a print media entity in Guyana. This country would be livid and fuming if the situation was reversed, and there was no ownership of print media by anyone from the other large population segment in the country. The fact that there is little perturbation over the existing conditions is evidence of the superficial consciousness that prevails when it comes to the African segment of the Guyanese population. And this is exemplified by the latest issue of note in the press.

The CEO of the National Trust, in explaining the historical importance of a landmark in Victoria Village, is reported to have said that the entire village was of historical value, as it was the first one bought by slaves after slavery was abolished. In other words, the abolition of slavery in the perspective of the CEO, as well as the editorial gatekeepers of Stabroek News, did not affect the social status of Africans. The institution of slavery was abolished but they were still slaves, since that was their established origin.

Some might say I am nit-picking here, but in a nation where other groups continuously claim that not enough of their history is known to the general Guyanese population, I find this kind of casual ignorance absolutely amazing. Was this a Freudian slip? Maybe. Clearly the CEO of the National Trust, as well as those who scrutinize and censor letters in the Stabroek News are so culturally distant when it comes to anything to do with peoples of African descent that they find no contradiction between what we were under enslavement, and what we became after that institution was abolished. Indentured servants reverted to their status of Indians after that institution was abolished. Slaves however, for many it would appear, had no historical, geographical or ancestral connections with elsewhere.

Yours faithfully,
Robin Williams

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