In his letter of October 9 (‘A PNC-free Guyana does not free Indians from existential and social problems,’ SN), Mr Abu Bakr stated, “Accused of ‘intellectual dishonesty’ I am called upon to admit that the PNC is responsible for the genesis of “suicide/alcoholism/domestic violence” in the Indian community in Guyana.” But nowhere in my letter, to which he was responding, is such a call stated or implied.
The reality is that I was responding to an assertion of Mr Bakr, in a previous letter, in which he stated, “…while the social degradation of suicide/alcoholism/domestic violence is part of the Indian condition in our country, for nothing in the world will they change that for a suicide-free world under the PNC.” My response was, “Mr Bakr cannot be more intellectually dishonest and disingenuous since he fully well knows that this condition of Indians has its genesis under the PNC government and there is nothing either in the PNC track record, arsenal or rhetoric that positions the PNC to transform Guyana into a “a suicide-free world.” My point was that this condition was part of the social landscape inherited by the PPP and is not a product of the PPP governance.
Surely someone of Mr Bakr’s intellectual prowess would recognize that the ‘genesis’ in my statement did not refer to suicide/alcoholism/domestic violence per se, which all predate independent Guyana, but their exacerbation into social issues under Burnhamism and the PNC.
Additionally Mr Bakr incorrectly asserts, “Guyana’s Indian community has perhaps the highest suicide rate in the world.” And he goes through an eclectic meandering that supposedly ‘proves’ that Indians are inherently suicide prone. The reality, however, is that neither India nor Indians feature among the nations that are characterized by high suicide rates. According to Suicide.org, Lithunia leads the world followed by Belarus, Russia, Kazakhstan, Hungary, Guyana, Slovenia, Latvia, Japan and South Korea. In fact, while it is nothing to shout about, India is number 45 on the list compiled by Suicide.org, with countries such as Switzerland, Sweden, China, Iceland, Norway, Portugal, Australia, USA, Germany, New Zealand, Canada, France even Trinidad & Tobago, higher up. Thus Mr Bakr’s fabrication is yet another manifestation of disingenuousness and intellectual dishonesty. Interestingly, few African countries have data about suicide because socio-political, religious and cultural factors relegate suicide to a crime with negative consequences for the families of the deceased.
Secondly, in keeping with the pattern of those who pretend to be objective while masking their defence of the PNC’s years of authoritarianism, Mr Bakr refers to sexual harassment of Indian females at National Service as fantasy. This dismissal of the Indian experience under Burnhamism is a tactic that allows its practitioners to then lambast Indians for supporting the PPP.
Ironically none of these, Mr Bakr included, has ever found anything wrong in the unmitigated support for the PNC by Afro-Guyanese, a PNC with a track record of historical dictatorship and rigged national elections among other pathologies. Additionally Afro-Guyanese have been quite emphatic about ensuring that their experiences (real and perceived) under the PPP remain on the front burner, even when they proclaim the trees to be the forests as in the case of marginalization. Yet real and pervasive marginalization of Indians under the PNC must remain a non-issue.
Finally Mr Bakr is of the view, “That India is forever lost” to Indians. But he does not draw the same conclusion about Africans in relation to Africa, even though, “The certainties of its (Africa’s) social and spiritual universe exploded” a much longer time ago.
Mr Abu Bakr characterized my letter, to which he was responding, as virulent. For its deliberate misconceptions, odious insinuations and baseless conjectures, how should his letter be characterized?
As an aside please note that at no time has Ravi Dev ever claimed to have given birth to the idea of ‘Ethnic Security Dilemma.’ But Mr Bakr is quite aware that Ravi is the first person to flesh out this dilemma as it relates to Guyana.