We talk and write – to the death

Dear Editor,

SN’s editorial of August 12 ‘On a hiding to nowhere’ refers.

Indeed there is “a propensity for debating issues that face us ‘to the death.’” Yes, because Guyanese have fooled themselves into thinking that they are among the world’s greatest talkers and writers. It just might be that we are the greatest hot air artists anywhere, any time, especially on things Guyana. Why?

Because talking substitutes for action. Because writing relays and reiterates the saga of our interest, involvement, and commitment. But why?

Because talking and writing cover for a number of things, some obvious, some more nuanced. Talking and writing provide the safety of mental sword fencing, and the protective apparel of distance. We shudder and retreat from the real thing, including the gore and the pain. Also, it is because talking and writing have metamorphosed into the escapade of a national sport, the national sport.

Still from my perspective, there is more as to why we talk and write and dissect and analyze ‘to the death’ so to speak. It is because there is fear. While massive distrust abounds, fear is the key.

Citizens are fearful of a distinctly communistic government; they are fearful of the far-reaching state controlling apparatus; they are fearful of friends who sell out; and they are fearful of marching comrades who they suspect have done the same, or would do so, if the incentives appear. There is more.

Guyanese are fearful of an opposition that appears to be more business centric than people powered, and dollar oriented than politically dedicated. They are definitely fearful of a business class that is fat and prosperous, and which class has no complaints; it is a class that would sabotage core development, traction, and momentum. Read my words.

Our fear is palpable, subtle, concealed, but it is always there, no matter the ferocity of speech, or the quantum of writing. Some may be offended by fear, and prefer distrust. So be it. For I see fear, I hear it, and I can smell it. Now for the personal side of things.

Editor, there are many vocal organizations and individuals in this society with whom I will neither associate nor march. Their agenda and mine (personal versus patriotic) clash; their ideology (racist) is abhorrent; their practices are normal (corrupt), hence unacceptable. Many of the persons are professional, churchgoing, visible, and vociferous, but in now characteristic Guyanese fashion are known as two faced and forked tongued. I will not be caught dead in their company. Why? Because I, too, am fearful: fearful of betrayal, fearful of being sold out, fearful of the traitorous.

It is known that I have, in my time, contributed prolifically to the talking and writing. My production has dropped as my interest waxes and wanes. Nowadays when I write to share, a close look would reveal that behind the serious declarations, there is amusement.

In Guyana, fear has metamorphosed into an all-enveloping, self-imposed shackle that knots the gut into inaction, and gifts the soul to those who enfeeble. So we talk and write. To the death.


Yours faithfully,
GHK Lall

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