Of late, every so often I would hear some form of outlandish or convoluted political discussion, and depending on the topic I would thereafter make an effort to revisit sections of works by various distinguished writers who have in some way addressed the topic in question, in search of a semblance of sound and healthy understanding. Foremost among them, and in the light of our plight, are the readings from Walter Rodney, and I try very hard to see and apply what they have said not from a static position, but rather to examine them against the present scenario.
Do they still command any relevance within the scheme of things? I heard someone use the word ‘dialectical’ in describing this pattern of analyzing a situation. Lincoln Lewis in his missive ‘Suggestions for solutions to the nation’s myriad problems must be grounded in universal principles and the constitution’ (SN, Feb 25) ended thus: “Further, any interest in putting this country on the proper path requires no belonging to the marginalized or aggrieved ethnic group in order to speak out for what is right or just. True change must start, and can only begin, with respecting the rights of self and others, even if it requires taking a public stand against your own ethnic group.”
This is sound and mature thinking which, if employed, will put us on the proper path. But we have consciously chosen to neglect it and by so doing, we have aided and abetted in fostering and perpetuating an unwholesome and sordid political culture that now festers to the detriment of ourselves. We all ought to be in full agreement that unless we are prepared to stand up and speak out as a matter of principle across race, then we will remain shackled. Lewis further noted the stark reality which allows people to adhere to destructive behaviour: “…where some, out of pure necessity for survival are being forced to resort to suppressing their dignity and rights.” This is indeed a damning position, difficult to arrest as we grab to live.
Still, too often we remain silent, turning a blind eye to obvious wrongs, either because we think it doesn’t concern us or because it has been viewed with an ethnic eye. From experience and history, however, we learn that wrongs allowed to go unchecked will eventually boomerang with equally unpleasant effects.
Our ethnic difference does rule supreme; it has been so well implanted, so nurtured and lubricated for such a long period that it hardly needs further prodding; it runs smoothly and feeds off itsself from within, and has perverted our every thought and action, though it is conveniently suspended when self interest or survival demands, and that in itself should be a profound lesson for us.
What is odd about this whole ethnic issue is that the mass of people who are programmed to behave this way are the wretched, whose existence is most vulnerable; they are the ones constantly being hit below the belt in many ways; they live between a rock and a hard place, digging a hole to fill a hole. It just doesn’t add up that they are so hooked on what keeps them hopelessly in a stranglehold.
By the way, one of the sad and false thing about having ethnic meetings is that for whatever reason the raw cold truth is never stated when our two major races sit together; it is more likely to be so when we are gathered separately, thus our true feelings remain pent-up within us; in other words we live a lie. And may I say here as I have said before, that from my honest observation, Afro-Guyanese generally have shown a more willingness, are more inclined to take a stand against their own kind on the question of justice, principle and changing the order of things than our Indo-Guyanese counterparts – and I’m being very frank.
It is so sinful and morally devasting seeing children being discriminated against. I observed recently, three youngsters of the same ethnicity looking timid, together in a corner, afraid to step out, conscious that they weren’t equally appreciated, and believe me that is disturbing.
This whole race thing is so well artificially drilled into us it’s unbelievable; children would naturally be as one when together, and nothing else matters, until they are indoctrinated with this silly race-hate virus.
This is the damage we do to them, ourselves and our country when we drive the love and innocence out of them. Some years ago Professor Ali Mazrui in his address to us, ‘Genesis of a Nation,’ stated that nation-building requires that we be large and magnanimous in our thinking and actions, that it requires forgetting, and sometimes even getting our history wrong if needs be! The late Soledad Brother George Jackson also poignantly observed: “We will be forced to move against some of our own before we can effectively move on.” We cannot keep covering, defending and remaining silent on palpable wrongs based on race/ethnic group, then create a stink when the exact same thing is done to us for the same reason. We need to rise above baser thinking. Wrong is wrong and it hurts, no matter who does it.
Right is right and is just, and it matters not from whom.
That for me is the bottom line and the question for us to address.
The above quoted passage from Lincoln Lewis should be our conscious and adopted position which we should make every effort to adhere to, for as long as this does not happen then we would never get anywhere, even in a month of Sundays, and would remain going around in circles chasing our tail.