Dear Editor,

I took a look at a BBC online article titled, ‘Kaepernick: from one man to movement’ and realized why that, despite the negatives, Americans can be and should be admired.  It is where some are willing to sacrifice all by taking a stand and laying things on the line for something other than themselves.

In December 1955, a tired woman refuses to move from her seat on a bus.  In Mississippi, in the summer of 1964, the activities of three young men, two of whom were from the Northeast, led to a fateful encounter and their grisly deaths.  In 2016, Colin Kaepernick sat down first, and then knelt before the sacred national anthem; his kneeling encompassed the vulnerability and helplessness of the oppressed, and surrendered in a silent prayer, a reverberating call for attention, for fairness, and for human dignity.  It is why Americans go to war, sometimes wrongly; those going willingly believe; they believe in an indefinable ideal that is less about them, and more about mission and serving a certain way of life and all the associated tenets.

It is why Parks, Evans, the Mississippi trio, and now Kaepernick step forward (or refuse to bow) in the face of searing hostility; they go to the front; but go they do.  Sometimes they get so far ahead and so early that there is not much of a groundswell of cogency, of crystallization, and of cohesion.  They pay harsh bitter prices.  But still they venture forward, sometimes timidly, but always with a dogged determination.  They do not set out to be heroic, just merely to be human through cries of the heart, and the tears of the soul.  It is to be human in vision and expectation; human existence and dignity.

Editor, contrast that to yesterday and today’s Guyana, and there are these distinguishing voids that identify and separate.  Unfortunately, it is every day Guyana now and perennially so.

Guyana is now more about me; all about me.  It is about money, too, right up there at the top of the heaving and the wrestling.  It is where powerful egos overpower hesitant minds (minds that still function with some breadth of vision and retain some vestige of the altruistic); self-serving calculators and conspirators creep relentlessly forward to imprison reason, the greater good, and the bigger picture.  It is also about adamantly refusing to emerge from a shuttered and guttered existence.  Many things come to mind; a few should help to look inward and reel from what is discovered.

Parking meters come to mind, so does VAT on private education.  It is about money, and the reflexive resistance (not from the poor) reaches the heavens.  No way, not this, not me; I believe that even if parking meters were to be made free, they would be found unacceptable.  My own positions on both issues are already publicized: one is desperately needed; the other should be subject to needs assessments and waivers, as appropriate.  On the other hand, citizens, using specious and regrettable bases, propagate the elimination of both, so that their interests (and theirs only) can be catered to and served, and to hell with standards, fairness, civility, and a burdened cringing populace.

I term this the gentrification of objection and the attraction of chic revolution.  Sometimes, it takes other less visible, more subtle forms.  A government, for the first time, takes a firm resolute stand against two national scourges and the spasms retard the economic and social environments.  That hard unflinching stand against the destructive drug business (mother of so many other businesses) and the complementary corrupting local money laundering empires has provoked even self-described legitimate sectors to recoil; they have some recognizable devout citizens in the mix, too.  Together they articulate, carefully to be sure, that the government has gone too far, too fast, and too furiously.  Such is the clarity and self-condemnation of those engaged in the protection of shady interests through the perpetuation of what is criminally wrong, and has devastated this poor faltering society at all levels.

Remember: this is about me and mine; and about the all-powerful god money.  These are the same folks who quarrel about street people and crime; situations to which they have contributed directly or indirectly.  Against all that is reasonable and pointed, they pretend ignorance as to the source of these very public byproducts of what has harmed this place.  Thus they clamour for the free passage, of old, the rush of bad money, and the crush of worse business.

In these instances in this society, traction is concentrated in and gained by solo operators, criminal cabals, and crooked circles; therein are franchises and joint ventures of domestic economics that seek the old dubious prosperity, and to keep it in the family, including the political ones.  Move against those embedded interests and there is a stirring outcry.  TD Jakes could learn something from these lamenting ones.

It was outcry that graced Crum-Ewing’s mother at the inception; that feeble self-serving traction quickly faded to the movement and whispers of a paltry few here.  There is no money there, and there is not many photo ops in the offing.  Then again, it is too hot; people are too busy; and there is too much to protect, which ranges from visibility to continuity to possibility.  Do not jeopardize the present or any potential for profit.

Rosa knew there would be hell to pay; Medgar heard the angels calling; and Colin moved to give back, millions be damned.  It was let the chips fall where they may in each and every instance.  Something good will come out of this; if only the inner satisfaction of having stood up for something, something of value; something bigger than the self.

In Guyana, there was time when there were people like these; no more.  The posture and standard is: don’t go first; wait and see how things play out; and, by all means, ensure that nothing falls or sticks on the secret self; the real one.  Look closely behind all the talk: ethnic loyalties destroy commonsense; blind cult worship overwhelms logic or reason; and political allegiance suffocates initiative and wisdom.  Cumulatively, these three individual and social diseases provoke the worst impulses, and upend any probability of even embarking toward the next level; or anywhere for that matter.

Yours faithfully,

GHK Lall

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