World Day for Cultural Diversity advert showed the lack of social cohesion

Dear Editor,

UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova stated: “The enemies of human rights always attack cultural diversity which symbolizes the freedom to be and to think, and which is unbearable to them. On this day, let us dare to respond to them collectively…”

The occasion was “World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development” which was celebrated last Saturday and was marked publicly with an advertisement in “Kaieteur News” which I expect was paid for with state funds by the Guyana Government.

Also featured were a quote from Mahatma Gandhi and an extract from the works of French ethnologist Claude Levi Strauss which stated that if we are to safeguard the vitality of our societies, we must “preserve at the very least the living memory of irreplaceable customs, practices and know-how that should not be allowed to disappear.”

Messages from the Minister of Social Cohesion Amna Ally and the Minister within the Ministry of Education Nicolette Henry were also featured in the advertisement that aimed to celebrate Guyana’s cultural diversity. Except that the only ethnic group that was given space for a message was ACDA.

The advertisement, therefore, actually shows the lack of social cohesion and/or the privilege afforded to one group over every other.

I hope that UNESCO notes the exclusion of over 60 percent of Guyana’s diverse ethnic population on a day that was specifically designed to celebrate all the various peoples and cultures of the world.

Yours faithfully,

Ryhaan Shah

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