The ‘open hands’ symbol chosen by A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) represents a powerful call to all Guyanese to ‘unclench your fists.’ It heralds a distinctive juncture on the long road to reconciliation in Guyana. In his inaugural address as the first African American President of the United States of America, President Barack Obama proclaimed to the world: “To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fists.” (Jan 20, 2009) These historic words are now cast in granite and remain the chief cornerstone of President Obama’s foreign policy. Throughout history, whenever the hand is used as a symbol of focus, it is a sure declaration that, ‘Now is the moment!’ Ultimately, this rallying cry reverberates around the globe and produces triumphant results that are truly liberating. The historic advent of A Partnership for National Unity in Guyana has already resounded around the world with its momentous ‘open palm’ symbol. Sir Winston Churchill, the great wartime Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during the Second World War, who was an officer in the British army, a historian, orator and writer, used the hand to great effect. He made famous the victory sign – the raised first and second fingers forming a ‘V’, with the other three fingers clenched. This sign became known as the international peace symbol following the end of World War II. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the right hand, raised above the head in a tightly clenched fist was used as a symbol of defiance and solidarity by the Black Power Movement in the USA and across the world. It was also used by the Civil Rights Movement and embraced by both blacks and whites in the United States during the 1960s. America was changed forever.
Within the last four decades since Independence, Guyanese of the two major ethnic groups, with clenched fists and from different song sheets, have been lustily and rousingly singing the international trade union anthem, ‘Solidarity Forever’ and the international socialist anthem, ‘The Internationale.’ The result? Fear, distrust and disunity! Providentially in 2011, the hands, now unclenched, are being offered to all Guyanese regardless of race, religion or political affiliation, as an open invitation to unite and to uplift our homeland in sincerity and honesty.
The ‘open palms’ symbol is providential because it represents a ‘Kairos’ moment for Guyana. The Greek civilization had two words for time: ‘Chronos’ and ‘Kairos.’ Chronos refers to chronological time and is quantitative in nature, such as the way we mature in age. Kairos denotes immediacy and is qualitative in nature. In a Kairos moment, something significant is about to happen. The emergence of APNU is such a Kairos moment. It is a sudden opening of opportunity that must be grasped with intensity and maximum force in order to reap the benefits of getting on to the right side of history – a safe, prosperous and well respected Guyana. This is the opportunity to restore Guyana as a leading voice in Caricom once again. We will no longer be known as a hyphenated people. This is the chance to shed the hyphen. No more Indo-Guyanese, Afro-Guyanese and Dougla-Guyanese. This is the opportunity for real reconciliation as proud Guyanese.
The acronym APNU spells out a simple ‘call and response’ refrain. The call: AP Always Prepare(d); the response: NU, Never Unprepare(d). No doubt, all partners of APNU are already prepared for the hard road to victory. Along the way they should display the habit of greeting each other with the open fisted ‘high five,’ causing the ‘open hand’ symbol to ‘go viral’ in a short space of time. This will give new meaning to APNU’s visionary leader, Brigadier David Granger’s ‘Get Ten Movement.’ This movement should now incorporate a ‘High Five’ component. Perhaps a national ‘High Five Day’ should be declared during the campaign. The APNU refrain should be on the lips of every Guyanese voter, especially the youths throughout Guyana from the Pakaraimas to the Corentyne. The unclenched fist is the first sign of unity, security and opportunity being restored. It is the olive branch of peace being extended to every Guyanese, particularly all voters in the 2011 national and regional elections. Let’s all be prepared for healing through APNU and its message of redemption and reconciliation. Give me a five, a big high five!