Why is it so many people have given up on social cohesion?

Dear Editor,

A few days ago, while visiting Montreal and while sitting at the food court in the mall, I saw something strange happen. I saw a black man greet a caucasian man with a hug. They embraced like they were brothers. I watched them as they spoke, the black man looking his friend in the eyes. It was a look of endearment. I immediately thought about Guyana and asked why can’t we have a special moment like this in Guyana. Did goats bite us?

Although they were different races, I saw the affection they had for each other, and I wanted it so badly for my people. I want to have that same affection for my Guyanese brothers and sisters who are different from me. And the experience reminded me of a time when I was invited to the home of an Indian family who I didn’t know at all; the hospitality the wife showed me I will never forget.

Editor, starting this Christmas, I want us to be able to look beyond race, hate and love one another. If a black and caucasian Canadian can do it, I believe Guyanese can do it too because our history is not much different from theirs. If the Canadians can overcome their differences so can we. Although these men look different on the outside, they spoke the same language. The colour of the skin was less important than the language that united them. To hear them communicate in French and to watch them affectionately embrace was moving and beautiful. I envy them because I can’t speak French, and I want to have that experience in Guyana.

But I can speak ‘Guyanese.’ Why can’t I have those same loving feelings for my fellow citizens since we speak the same language? Why is it in Guyana that a person’s race triumphs over language? Why is it after five decades we’re still so divided? Why is it that so many people still believe that social cohesion is not possible? Why is it that so many people have given up on social cohesion?

Anything is possible. With God nothing is impossible. I believe if we can clean up Georgetown, stop corruption, reduce crime, reduce flooding, have a new government after twenty-three years, we can have social cohesion.

Editor, you may say that I’m dreamer, but I hope I’m not the only one. But as long as my heart is beating, my heart will still dream.

Yours faithfully,

Anthony Pantlitz

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