Dreaming alone won’t bring about change; there must be a practical approach

Dear Editor,

Mr Anthony Pantlitz in the Stabroek News of November 20 under the heading ‘Dreams can come true’ and employing the words of Martin Luther King’s ‘I have a dream’ speech wrote: “I have a dream that one day Guyana will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘One People, One Nation, One Destiny,’” and then went on dreaming many other things he hopes we will one day realize. Mr Pantlitz hopes to see a better Guyana where people care more about laws, unity, ending racism, weeding out corruption, ending poverty, etc. He says emphatically: “As long as I live I will never give up dreaming; I refuse to believe that dreams can’t come true.” Editor, no one can disagree with the brother; ain’t no true-blooded Guyanese to the bone who wouldn’t long for a Guyana as described by Mr Pantlitz, when we can all, with heads held high, raise our voices and lustily sing with joy and dignity: “O beautiful Guyana/My lovely native land.” It will also be sung more meaningfully because from deep down within we know it to be so. Indeed what a beautiful day that would be.

And really I do believe that some of the ugly things, the vices he spoke about can be arrested, but not by mere dreaming; there must be a practical approach.  I’m afraid that we will not be able to bring about a different and better dispensation as such, moreso as was stated by our late National Poet Martin Carter in his poem ‘Looking at your Hand’: “Know that I do not sleep to dream but dream to change a world.” Therein lies the fullness of a desire-dream.  The point is, none of those unwholesome things mentioned by Mr Pantlitz can be wished away; we have to work at it, enforcing meaningful laws, working at weeding out the fakes, fraudsters, feckless leaders, leaders in sheep’s clothing. In any event these things just din’t happen overnight; they were nurtured and as we slept they crept up upon us and consumed us.  Our duty now, which is no piece of cake, is to break them down like the Berlin wall.

But I do have a problem with some of his dreams:

a) That one day the wealthy 1% will help the poor and oppressed to rise up from their poverty. This is surely a big dream. Generally this state of affairs is as a result of an unbalanced economic system set in place; that one per cent didn’t get there by dreaming.

b) That one day the sons and daughters of the wealthy businessmen and politicians will be able to sit down together in the same school and get the same education. Well, he’s got me there. I’m smelling something ‒ who is he really rooting for?  The wealthy businessman and the politicians’ children are already on par; did he forget to say all children ‒ rich and poor. And also you have got to pray for some luck that by the time he has finished dreaming the “extra lessons industry” has not become cancerous. By the way, has anyone noticed that today an entire class as compared to times gone by cannot grasp what is being taught during normal school hours?

c) That every corrupt politician, magistrate, businessman, police officer and religious leader would go to prison, and that government and opposition will stop looking out for their own self-interest. That members of parliament would start hearing and feeling the pains of the poor and oppressed. Mr Pantlitz, you are indeed a dreamer. I’ve got to give it to you, really this one is like reaching for the end of the rainbow.  Laws are never made to trap the very people who made them, never! A few ‘accidents’ here and there, yes, but politicians and parliaments feeling and sharing in the pains, and woes of the oppressed? Jettisoning their self-interest? Come on Mr Pantlitz, dream again. It reminds me of the man who said only the poor pay taxes, and that’s no joke. As I’m on this rich/poor note, allow me a light one, which though a little off, is a nice one: The late Beatles singer John Lennon in requesting that his audience participate said: “Everyone clap their hands; those in the front row can shake their jewels.” Anyway, I’m not knocking Mr Pantlitz for dreaming; it’s healthy, we all do it, but just remember, dreams die first.

Yours faithfully,

Frank Fyffe

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