Those armed with keyboards are more numerous and dangerous than those armed with guns

Dear Editor,

This country is becoming an increasingly dangerous place.  There are lots of unhinged and unaccounted for folks out there who are more dangerous than people armed with guns.  As many as those that are here, they are outnumbered by those who are armed with keyboards, and hence immeasurably more dangerous than the gun crowd.

There they are: they range from the insecure to the imaginative to the sometimes impressive.  It is a motley band of brothers with a few sisters parachuting through the typewriter and typist ceilings.

There is one crafty citizen who is a namedropper without peer.  There is just one problem: the people whose names are dropped would only condescend to shower that fawning friend with droppings of a particular kind, such is the level of their scorn.  In fact, more than a few have shared that they cross to the other side of the street to avoid any close encounter.  They are concerned about being misquoted, or used as a source for much embellishment.  In Guyanese vernacular: ‘dah maan can prapah mek up ah storey.’  Sounds like fiction to me; or to be more pointed –a serial falsifier.  Like I said earlier, a keyboard can rain automatic fire, especially if at the core impulses are vicious and insidious.

Not too far away in this muddied local pond of scribbling piranhas, there is another who is all about ideology, cult personalities, old history, and new creativity.  This keyboard artist can transform Josef Stalin into Joseph of Arimathea, if he so wished.  On the domestic front, he has done just that with Stalinist figures that killed the demographics of this society, including those represented by loyalists long since fleeing.  Incidentally, I read that Janet Jagan is being dusted off and washed in the glow of a shiny oil slick.  It is eerie to behold this convenient revisionist sparkle that converts her into the now resurrected Empress of Energy.  There was a time when she was among those accursed and damned for protesting (feebly) against that now forgotten episode involving advertising dollars.  For the political amnesiacs in the midst, particularly the callow party ideologues, I suggest a free consultation with Stabroek News to clear the cobwebs.

These are the same keystroke cops who wax about the transcendence of Marx and the rest of the same pitiful crew that sponged on capitalist benevolence (and luxuries) while misleading the peasants with their utopias.  The local apparatchiks are so dogmatic that for every honest word, there are dozen deliberate typos intended to deceive an uncaring and dismissive populace.  It helps to load up on isms and psychobabble to offer a veneer of wisdom.  Admittedly, it is a porous and dappled one.  Thus, the clatter heard is not of machinegun fire, but of a typewriter fusillade backed by angry men, young and old, looking for their turn at the wheel of political fortune.  Theirs is not a nuanced narrative, only a rehash of old tired myths.

Then there are those peculiar creatures, contributing writers all.  They like the government but hate what it stands for on the issues of the day.  These might be self-appointed analysts, self-congratulating commentators, or narcissistic journeymen (and women).  They are nice people, except that their core motivations lack good sense, the pragmatic, or anything resembling objectivity.  I call them stray bullets, which make them even more hazardous to health.  I remember a time when those who now beat the drums of doom were conspicuously tongue-tied and suffered from writer’s cramp while the powder trade overran every legitimate institution in this society.  To listen to them, the tyranny of narcotics is now superseded by the tyranny of taxes and Anti-money laundering enforcement.

As if this is not enough, there is this new surging curiosity of scribes who do not support any political party, and have never voted.  I thought I was only freak around these parts.  If there are indeed so many non-voters around, then a recount is due.  Further, peril aside, when I am in the hunt for low comedy or the apocryphal there are always opposition propagandists on hand to do the honours.  They are ready to storm the barricades and trample upon every truth in sight.  These guys are so good they should be nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature (or fabrication).

All in all, many an essayist has attacked the keyboard in the belief that glorious symphonies are launched. Come to think of it, they are right on that score: it is a funeral march celebrating the massacre of thought; a requiem (mass) compliments of Mozart for what once masqueraded as intelligence; and last Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus that drowns out honest reasoned discourse.

Clearly Guyana does not pine for an NRA (National Rifle Association) equivalent; it has the infinitely more destructive NKVD (National Keyboard Validators Division).  The latter abbreviation should remind of the dirty tricks that were piled upon a shackled public elsewhere.  It is the same here.  That sound heard is not of music; it is the recoil of little buttons with letters of the alphabet on them; they just be fragmentary grenades on the launch pad ready to explode.

Yours faithfully,

GHK Lall

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