I tell you, I really don’t know what to say. Racism will tear us apart if we don’t stop feeding it. It will eat us from the inside coming out because that’s the mode it has reverted to. Truth be told, we as a people are daily becoming more and more shrouded in deceit and hypocrisy. I see our national colours being used as a veil and a sham, this is why at the core they lack any real penetrating force and inspiration to blend and fuse us. The Pledge and National Anthem are no different, wonderfully crafted as they are, they suffer the same fate. They are parroted at national events as a matter of formality to give an impression – a false one at that – that all is well, but they are flat, dormant and not aiding us to unleash the varied and diverse potential we possess. I will repeat here that the only time we can truly say we have a coming together of our people in unison is at cricket. West Indies versus England/Australia, and even that is disguised. Individually we have done well, and acquired much ‒ materially that is ‒ but collectively as a people we have not. We seem to be all flesh, but devoid of spirit, which is precisely why our society is becoming so volatile, being consumed by a rising crime wave affecting each and every one of us. It is the spiritual emptiness within us that we have got to wake up to, the lack of concern for anyone beyond our parochial circle.
While we lack the ability to solve everyone’s problem, I still think that we are too uncaring and dismissive towards each other. When we stop being our brother’s keeper, we allow ourselves to become much more vulnerable whether we recognize it or not, because we are a part of the whole. A society in many ways is like a chain in which ironically the weakest link is the one its strength depends on. We witness people falling victim every day to the ugliness that’s happening and still we carry along as if it will burn itself out.
Editor, I have to say that in my opinion there is no one, and I mean no one, who has ever made a more genuine, forceful, meaningful, objective and passionate appeal for national unity across race as Walter Rodney did. As we know there were those who have pretended to do so; others have made superficial and lukewarm attempts, but at the end of the day they have all been self-serving and lacking in magnanimity. They never quite felt the pulse of the people, lifting and transporting them to a newer, higher and better dimension. And this is why I suspect their flame quickly went out, causing them to lose faith in themselves and the people, and return to their respective race camps. But not so was Rodney; indefatigable and unrelenting, to his dying day he kept the faith, simply because he knew and believed in what he was doing. He understood the force and power not just of a united people, but a united people of varied ethnic backgrounds; he knew the magnitude and magic of a ‘people’s power’ movement.
And I want to emphasize what most politicians don’t quite seem to get, that people don’t want to just hear what you are saying, they want to feel it. But then again you can’t make people feel what you yourself don’t believe. Thus the reason why national unity, rebranded as social cohesion hasn’t taken root, something which I suspect will remain so for a very long time.
Maybe, notwithstanding all that has been said above we are bound by our very ethnic, race and background make-up, and have fixed behavioural patterns which are involuntary – our nature. And if that be so, then we can’t fight fate. And maybe too that is why our politicians are not concentrating on any genuine racial unity, and why we don’t hear them preaching it. Indian and African leaders and top-functionaries more deal with the class factor, and are moreso over protective of each other. It’s a rejuvenated class thing, and they are succeeding well without having to indulge deeply in each other’s customs. These people have perfected the art of wearing a mask. It’s a pity the vast ethnic masses, the working class population can’t figure it out and do the same. I say that we all have to agree and sing along with that master calypsonian of ours, ‘Blazing Fire’: “Lord help my Guyana to love again, she has no unity…” These lyrics represent the living truth. I can’t help saying it: we have a wash of good songs by our local artists, some really profound and meaningful that our radio station should be playing often; the one mentioned above is certainly one of them.