We’re a global people, of poor self-image

Guyanese now span the global village. We’re a global people, a 21st century nation in every sense of the word, with our homeland nesting comfortable, peaceful, pastoral, forest green, sunny yellow, multicultural, between the giant Amazon and the gigantic Atlantic.

Being part of the Commonwealth Caribbean, we enjoy such a blessed homeland, with the natural environment so serene. Guyanese all over the world dream, with great nostalgia, about our homeland with fondness and warm pleasure in the heart.

The Guyanese Diaspora spans the world, and we’re all knitted together as one people, sharing the common homeland. Even a guy like Jay Jordan, whose parents migrated to Canada in the wave of that 1960’s migration, himself being born in Ontario, maintains a keen interest in Guyana and Guyanese culture. Jordan knows of the houses the family lost as the State nationalized and seized private property as his family fled the Socialist rhetoric that underlined our drive to political independence. They today want to regain the Georgetown property they lost in Alberttown: even as a Canadian, he remains 20121122shaunrooted in his Guyaneseness, celebrating Christmas with a Guyanese family dinner, including ginger beer and black cake, knowing stories of Georgetown from his Mom and grandparents and uncles and aunts, Guyanese of British and Portuguese and African and Indian and Native roots.

Meeting Jay Jordan is an eye-opener to the real identity of the Guyanese. Would he ever live in Guyana? Not likely. But he maintains a keen interest in the homeland, and wants to play a role in contributing his computer programming and professional wrestling expertise to the country, even wanting to establish Olympic wrestling in the public education system.

Such is the role of the Diaspora in our nation’s development, contributing skills, expertise, knowledge and, most of all, a global perspective and outlook to national development. These things we must welcome, learning to re-think the local-diaspora relationship, tackling the relationship with dynamic flexibility and creative plasticity: we shape the path as we traverse the journey.

Indeed, Jordan visited Georgetown for the first time a couple years ago, and fell in love with the place. He has connected with long lost family, including a DeFrance descendant living at home. Now he’s developing a family tree of his genealogy.

So we make up a global, 21st century nation, not at all homogenous, but multicultural, multinational and multi-linguistic even. Guyanese married into families from around the world: Italy, France, Britain, Germany, India, China, Hong Kong, Denmark, Romania, Russia, not to mention North America and the Caribbean. We’ve truly become an astonishing people, and as we start to tell our story, the true identity of the Guyanese would emerge.

Now we’ve got our national icon, Dave Martins, back home, living in the homeland. But let’s not expect an army of Guyanese settling back in the homeland. Just like the Diaspora of India, China and Jamaica live all over the world, but maintain strong ties and contributions to their homeland, we Guyanese are engineering this new way of being: it’s a globalized world, where the individual has free rein to live wherever while working for the cause of his or her heart. This is the new way of the world.

However, as with any story of the human condition, the picture is not all rosy and pretty. We must overcome the poverty of self-image that underlines how we see ourselves, especially in the homeland. We see ourselves as small, pitiful, victims, crushed under a society of institutional cultural deformities.

In fact, Guyanese at home and around the world bemoan this state of their nation. Since Independence we’ve lost the Guyana Dream, the vision of the Guyanese man and woman building our place in the history of Mankind.

We suffer from a severe cultural deformity, where our dented morals and paucity of ethics fuel widespread corruption among citizens, institutions and State organs. We employ scant conscience today in how we treat the elderly, how we talk among our children in public spaces, how we approach raising the young, and how we exercise fairness and equality in our Justice system. Our language at home has deteriorated to crassness and cuss outs and contentious plosive loudness.

Guyanese everywhere express shame about this decline of our nation.

Over nearly 50 years of Independence, we deteriorated in our socio-cultural being.

In the process of that decline, we developed a poor self-image: the Guyanese feels anything but this heartbeat of being a world class citizen. We see ourselves as poor victims unable to occupy a platform on the world stage. Even though we gave humanity so many gifted, amazing leaders and souls of outstanding achievement, our nation still suffers from this poor self-image.

Yet, when we contemplate these things, of who we are as a nation, we see that everything is well, except we all cuss out “the Government”. This is the one single challenge we face, complaining constantly, over 50 years, of the Governments that govern us.

Now we’ve got a Government freely and fairly elected, but we revert to our default, to blame those we perceive as mastering and lording it over us – maybe a leftover from the days of slavery and indentureship.

But this is the 21st century. We must move on. We must give up our dysfunction and repair our socio-cultural self. Whatever the faults of whichever Government is in Office, we must learn to tackle the issues facing us with rational sensibleness rather than emotional crassness.

We’re a work in progress, our nation, our Government, each of us individually. And it’s time we work together to see ourselves for who we really are in the global scheme of things; a people gifted, blessed, ready to play our role on the world stage, to carve our niche into the 21st century.

Such an attitude would make the world of difference in how we wake up and face each day, feeling inspired and motivated and ready to build the Guyana Dream, the joy of being Guyanese beating in our hearts with passion and determination to rise to the occasion. It’s the 21st century. It’s time for the Guyanese nation to assert its soul in the wellspring of global humanity.


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