The buck stops with the people

Dear Editor,

Equality, human rights and justice are unquestionably good causes for which to fight.  The nature of power is such that, left unchecked, it will bend towards the wealthy and powerful leaving the masses struggling for crumbs, begging for justice and largely shut out of opportunity.  And so, creating and living in a just society requires the vigilance of all citizens. The more disconnected the citizens are from the political system, the more injustice will ultimately be meted out to them.  Oppressive governments prefer to lead a loyal educated minority along with an under-educated, over-entertained and poverty-stricken citizenry.  They are easiest to control and are often too busy having fun or swamped with the challenges of daily survival to pay attention to the real reasons for their suffering.

And so it is that oppressive governments sideline the country’s intelligentsia, except for those who are squarely in their camp.  They attempt to silence the media and they institute strong retaliatory measures against those who rebel in order to deflate the courage of any remaining dissenters.   They usually host a strong propaganda element whose job it is to inform the citizens that all is well, that right is wrong, that up is down and that the poverty they feel is comparably better that where they were yesterday.  They “feel your pain” as they live in ever larger homes, educate their children at the finest schools, drive the finest cars and foster for themselves a lifestyle so grand as to be obscene given the level of poverty and hopelessness in the countries they lead.

They will infiltrate and compromise the military forces by generously compensating the leaders whose job it is to quash any dissension within and maintain law and order on the streets by enforcing often unjust laws and brutalizing the citizenry.

Economic growth and the success of the nation are a priority to the extent that revenues are in the coffers to pay for necessary government services and to enable corrupt government officials and their cronies to amass mega fortunes by raping and pillaging the taxpayer funded treasury and natural resources of the country.

These strategies are not new, history is replete with regimes current and former that followed this very effective prescription for power.  These nations have mastered the art of ‘repression through proper channels.‘ They feign democracy and go through the motions of elections while stacking the deck and rigging the system to ensure success.  Simply put, it seems to be the very strange nature of power that engenders these behaviours. So much so, that very rarely do leadership or party changes matter much.  What really matters is that the people remain vigilant.  The people must listen carefully to promises and must hold all leaders accountable for delivering on those promises.  Until leaders in Guyana understand that they will be held accountable for their actions, abuses will continue.

Democracy requires an engaged citizenry.

If citizens give up that right or allow themselves to be manipulated by immoral and selfish leaders, then they deserve every bit of contempt they receive from the government.  If suffering is to end, then citizens will have to stand together and say “no more.”  We the people will have to decide if we have the stomach for freedom or if we prefer to survive on the crumbs left over from the feasts of our leaders.  The lives of our children will depend on the thoughts, decisions and actions we take as a people.  The buck stops with the people.

Power to the people of Guyana.

Yours faithfully,
Karen Abrams

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