We need to invent a new breed of revolutionary intellectual

Dear Editor,

That thirty-four years after the assassination of Walter Rodney, Ruel Johnson had cause to pen the letter ‘Abominable silence from important sections of society on shooting of 15-year-old boy by policeman’ (SN, May 12) is a sad reflection on our state of affairs, and more so on those in authority and those who have influence. It is testimony to the fact that we are not doing as well as some would like us to believe.

Says Johnson: “Today, the educated and moneyed classes in Guyana remain silent or at best inconsistent and oblique in even seeking to simply identify the most egregious acts, the most glaring wrongs.” When you look around today what do you expect, what do those hustlers who are more obsessed with a bag of gold care? As I have said before, the only time they appear to show any concern is when a contrary breeze begins to blow and the music become ‘un-danceable.’

“Nobody wants to lose a government contract or to fall out of favour with the government officials that they schmooze with at cocktail parties or at PTA meetings… ” – dead right! Hence the reason for keeping on their blinkers. Hear them talk, watch their actions/inaction, some are plumb brazen, shameless rogues, other are players, masters of the game and often times the most dangerous.

Editor, I feel the passion of this forceful and fearless brother and writer who, from what I’ve been reading, is always forthright. Lord knows, we sure need more of our young people taking a pattern from him in terms of being courageous; we need for our own sake young men and women of valor, virtue, moral rectitude and revolutionary zeal. Mr Johnson’s take on our state of affairs is not misplaced, but rather smack on target; the quicker the working class wakes up to the reality that almost the entire bunch of those who assume leadership positions are feckless and feeble, the better. So many poor folks have become so woebegone and helpless that they now just grumble to themselves. Look, as I mentioned before and will say again, we somehow will need to invent a new breed of revolutionary intellectuals with backbone who are courageous enough to challenge the ruling authority and will speak up on principle. But this is hardly noticeable – I’m reading Ruel Johnson as an exception among the motley few. “Where have all the flowers gone?” The present crop of academics we are saddled with fit so well the type that Walter Rodney caustically referred to as “static parasitic creatures.” Many are so brazen and bombastic, as well as material grabbing, short on moral integrity and lacking a passion for positive change.

I wish some would heed the words of the late actor Paul Newman: “If you do not exploit your success to improve things in the world then you are really wasting it.” On the contrary we have more than our fair share of intellectual mind-blowers behaving like political hustlers. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking anyone for pursuing upward mobility; desiring the best for themselves – no way! Life was meant to be lived to the fullest, but your soul, at what price?

There are so many things amiss, derailed and out of place, kind of crazy. I maintain poor folks would die should they live by the rules made for them. The system just ain’t right.

The abominable silence from important sections of society is not funny, but it does show up the hypocrisy of many, especially some in opposition to the government who are constantly blaring from the mountain top hurling condemnation when their deeds don’t conform to the things they say. Again, appearance is indeed deceiving.

The brother made mention of sexual allegations at the New Opportunity Corps. I heard a long way back of disturbing accounts of those in custody being molested and violated; of many attempts to escape. Thing is we have many institutions with impressive sounding appellations, but which don’t quite match up to their responsibility, and in the case of Guyana Police Force, we can forget the hype about having a new Police Commissioner; nothing about the police will change in a hurry – trust me.

I couldn’t more agree with Ruel Johnson who out of necessity quoted Walter Rodney to sum up in a rather frank and pointed manner: “Our ordinary, regular, people those whose children are in the greatest danger of being subject to state condoned or sponsored abuse, unlike the children of those in government, the opposition or upper crust-infested civil society have to start organizing their own liberation from this system and calling on those who purport to represent them to account. Otherwise, another 35 years are going to pass by, another generation and Rodney’s works are still going to be relevant in a sad and stagnant society” – so true.

Yours faithfully,

Frank Fyffe

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