Our history was hijacked

Dear Editor,

Mr Annan Boodram’s letter, “Politics in Guyana is reactive because survival is the name of the game,’ (SN, October 8), is invaluable because it is firstly a reflection of the shaping of the social psychology of many Indo-Guyanese, and secondly it shows just how difficult it will be for an Afro-Guyanese to win over Indian votes, even Brigadier Granger who satisfies all the virtues as prescribed in the Vedic literature. My former school teacher Mr Frederick Collins stated that Indians in Trinidad and Tobago were not afraid to lose to an election, (SN, October 9) but in T&T there was no PPP to brainwash Indians.

The PPP’s control of Indians did socio-psychological damage because the party was not Indian but communist. The Jagans abrogated our history to such an extent that we were socialized to believe that it started with the Jagans who fed us the account that they and the PPP were the embodiment of Indian struggle and that all other Indian leaders were guilty of betrayal. Our history was hijacked and the PPP replaced it with that of the PPP’s struggle for communism. The party distributed Marxist publications rather than Indian or religious literature.

And for sure the CIA and Burnham’s targeting of Indians in 1962 and 1963 helped the Jagans and the PPP to gain full control. In their efforts to remove Jagan from power the CIA and the PNC unwittingly helped to mentally capture Indians for the PPP. So powerful has been the PPP’s mental imprisonment that today we have educated Indians like Mr Boodram shouting the same messages that the Neil Kumars and Kellawan Lalls do. Mr Boodram’s, “TK now typifies the kind of Indian Guyanese that African Guyanese seek to design,” is the same as labelling Indians as betrayers when they free themselves from the PPP.

The educated Indians such as Mr Boodram love to talk of the PNC rigging elections but never concede that the Jagans and the PPP were the cause of rigged elections. The evidence is abundantly clear that Jagan was removed from power in 1964 due to his adoration of communism. He did not think of the interest of Indians or that of Guyana. There was no sole guilty party in the unrest of the 1960s. The Indian and African people were not the culprits. We were just pawns and victims. It was the PPP that took us into the Cold War; the Russians and Cubans who aided the PPP; the USA which wanted the PPP out; and the PNC whose interest coincided with the USA, and thus made all Guyanese hapless victims ‒ even today.

Even after his eviction from power by the USA Jagan continued to blindly ignore the geopolitical realities and advocated Stalin style communism for Guyana. He went so far as to brag in Parlaiment in 1978 that he was proud to be a Soviet stooge. That at a time when most of South America was under US backed military dictatorships and all of Central America was embroiled in a CIA sponsored civil war. So there was no way the USA would allow Jagan back in power and so there was no way Burnham could have held free and fair elections, even if he wanted to.

Burnham was no fool. As much as he was socialist he knew how far he could go without provoking the wrath of USA. Just imagine the mighty superpower USA invaded tiny Grenada in October 1983. The aircraft carrier was bigger than Grenada. That was the environment that Jagan wanted to set up a communist state in Guyana. The USA would have fomented civil war and that meant racial war for Guyana. So I for one have no qualms in saying thank God for Burnham’s intellect. Had Burnham been around after the end of the Cold War in 1990 he would have found some way to hoodwink Jagan into remaining in power. Thank God it was Desmond Hoyte, a non-socialist, and he put the interest of Guyana first and restored free and fair elections in 1992.

Unfortunately the PPP did not continue with the democratization process but instead, assured of an Indian vote bank, reversed the democratic gains of Hoyte and embarked on the road to elected dictatorship. To keep its vote bank intact the PPP continued to exploit the damage to race relations that was done in the 1960s rather than start the process of national reconciliation. The Leader of the PNC Brig (rtd) Granger just recently in a message to mark that party’s anniversary acknowledged that there was “racial hatred” in the ’60s and pledged to work for national unity with all forces in Guyana. Brig Granger has clearly hinted at his willingness to start the national reconciliation process. Could Mr Boodram please get the PPP to follow suit.

In closing I ask Mr Boodram how he reconciles the fact that he pontificates on the PNC socialist dictatorship, which the PPP declared support for in 1975, yet ignores the PPP’s call for Stalin style communist dictatorship. And could Mr Boodram please say how many Indo-Guyanese emigrated to Jagan’s paradise, the Soviet Union? Oh that’s right, the Soviet Union and world communism collapsed. Just goes to show that Jagan and the PPP were dead wrong all those years. They have misled us since 1947. It is time Indo-Guyanese free themselves from the PPP narrative and support Brigadier (rtd) Granger’s willingness to engage in national reconciliation to remove racial suspicions and mistrust. Only then can we start building democracy and national unity.


Yours faithfully,
Malcolm Harripaul

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