There should be no tit for tat

Dear Editor,

The night before last Guyana crossed yet another dangerous line. A mere 48 hours after a former head of government and state publicly suggested to his successor that governance in Guyana should include “kicking some asses,” an activist known for his anti-government protest was shot dead while walking the streets of Diamond urging his fellow citizens to come out and vote in the upcoming elections. The barefaced murder of Courtney Crum-Ewing must now alert us that Guyana has become a semi-fascist state where protest by ordinary citizens is punishable by summary execution. This is not the first killing in recent times of an ordinary citizen exercising his or her right to protest against the government; three years ago three protestors at Linden were shot dead by police while protesting against a proposed government electricity hike.

Other anti-government activists, notably Mark Benschop and columnist Freddie Kissoon have been physically attacked. This murder also has echoes of the assassination a decade ago of known anti-government activist, Ronald Waddell.

A few weeks ago, I had begun to warn that this upcoming election would bring out the worst in the PPP’s ethnic arsenal, but I was quickly dismissed as a pessimist who is too preoccupied with race. Political rhetoric matters. The atmosphere that was generated by the theatrics and rhetoric of PPP leaders at Babu John on Sunday could be interpreted by some as a licence to take action. The “kick some asses” statement and its subsequent endorsement by other PPP leaders, in our charged ethnic and political environment, is an expression of political pugilism that has the potential to lead to trouble.

As someone who has been speaking up about African Guyanese victimhood, I am compelled to appeal to African Guyanese, in this moment of murder, the murder of another Black brother, to remain focused.

Let the murder of one of our brothers strengthen our resolve to rid ourselves of this modern day tyranny. Let us not be drawn into any form of tit for tat. Let us instead use Courtney’s body as a guiding compass to the ballot boxes on May 11. That is what the brother died on the frontline urging us to do. Let us raise Black dignity to its highest peak and show the world that blood shedding in the quest for political power is not part of our word view. Let us show those who shed our blood that we are ahead of them; that we are militants for racial peace, justice, equality and sisterhood/brotherhood.

To our East Indian brethren, I appeal to you to reach for your nobleness and help rid Guyana of the scourge that has been heaped on us. Do not take responsibility for Crum-Ewing’s murder. Join us on May 11 to deliver our country from the depths.

Yours faithfully,
David Hinds

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