The social ills we face are interminable

Dear Editor,

I would rather prefer to stream a movie or read a stimulating book, and simply enjoy my downtime after a gruelling week in the classroom. But, despite my flagpole of residency, it is quite a challenge with all that is happening in my homeland. After all, it is still the place that I call home, regardless of the scathing and contemptuous remarks which I make out of frustration. I would dearly love to feign obliviousness to the social ills which exist daily; I try my utmost to bury my head in the sand, but to no avail. The negativities keep parading in my mind which evokes tremendous emotions.

But if one has any iota of care for his or her country of birth, it will be difficult not to join the global outpour of concern by Guyanese, both in the diaspora and at home. Ask any Guyanese in the diaspora and he or she will tell you that they read the news daily. And it affects you psychologically when you are constantly bombarded with news of murders, robberies, rape, road fatalities, misogyny and domestic abuse. Hence, it seems as though the social ills which we face daily are interminable and insurmountable.

A crime is committed and before we can fully comprehend what has happened, another will follow in quick succession, without any recovery time. Can you blame the exodus?  Having to deal with a weak economy is bad enough, let alone having to deal with constant robberies under arms. And, if experience has taught us anything, it is that any resistance could mean a tragic end. These guys are persistent, unrelenting and voracious.

I watched a tape from a gas station’s surveillance camera where the guy was probably fuelling his car, and out of nowhere appeared a couple of young looking  men who started to relieve the driver of his possessions,  and subsequently made good their escape with his  car. Who in their right mind would want to murder a defenceless septuagenarian couple? Which father would encourage his teenage son to be complicit in a murder?  Have we lost all humanity? Is this the new acceptable norm now? Since when did it become so unsafe for the kids to even walk the neighbourhoods without the fear of being raped and murdered?  And, with the manner in which we are progressing, we may reach the precipice if we have not already. How and when did we slip into this abyss?

I was reading a friend’s Facebook comment just a few days ago, where she thought that burglars were in her house, and her comment to herself was, “Oh well I have had a good run in this life.” At the age of thirty-three, what a piteous, but brutally honest comment. But this is the sad reality which we face daily. How can we honestly live and function under such stressful and traumatic conditions, where there are no guarantees about life any longer?

Last evening a friend of mine and consummate professional, who has returned to serve his native land, was sharing how traumatized he is of being in his own country. Since when did it become unsafe to perambulate and enjoy your own country without the fear of being attacked and robbed? We have lost all scruples and morals. How can a nation thrive in such hopelessness, fear, uncertainty and despair? What manner  of life are we living when we have to constantly glance over our shoulders for fear that a lurking predator might be waiting to pounce on us ?  It is heart wrenching and frustrating to be the subject of robbery for your own hard-earned possessions.  I am fully aware that our economy is weak, but those who commit those heinous crimes are just hell bent on wreaking havoc. They are not prepared to toil like many law-abiding citizens. Then on the obverse side of the coin you have an organization out of need to validate its existence, reprimanding officers for posting indecent pictures of one of the most notorious criminals ever.

But what is more appalling is that some members of the disciplined forces, the people who have to protect us, are fingered in these criminal activities. What message are we sending to our young kids who are watching? What kind of young generation are we raising and what example are we setting for them to follow? What we do not understand is that we are fomenting a chain reaction of negativity because if we cannot set proper examples for the young impressionable kids to follow, then do not expect them to do any better when they get older. As adults, we need to realize that we are modeling for our kids and what we do now, can come back to haunt us.

On the other hand, there is domestic abuse and misogyny, not to say that men are not the subjects of abuse as well. But, men need to realize that women are not their possessions despite the circumstances. I cannot fathom what will possess a man to hack a woman to death because of infidelity. I was able to see the pictures of the police officer who was hacked to death in Berbice by her partner; only imagine the rage and anger that consumed that man. It seems as though there is no regard and value for life any more in this land. It has certainly become lawless.

In addition, just this morning I was reading the Linden Mayor’s facebook post about a lady who alleged that her husband was acting in a tyrannical manner in the presence of their child, and had to flee the home because of his disposition. Where is the compassion? Where is the respect? Many will argue that education or the lack thereof is responsible for such violent and intimidating behaviour. But I beg to differ. I have seen uneducated men assume excellent leadership roles in the family and vice versa.

Ultimately, I have been living in another man’s country for the last six years, and I can safely say that it is the safest that I have ever felt. I can walk the streets at any ungodly hour of the night with my chain oscillating on my neck, and never have to worry about banditry. I live in a place where the people are courteous and are always to lend a helping hand. And I never have to worry about any feeling of paranoia. And unless it is a hurricane, I do not know what it to have a power outage. I live in a small studio apartment, but at least for now I do not feel like a prisoner in my own home with grills on every opening.

Thus, before the completion of our conversation yesterday, my friend said that, “Guyana will never get good in our lifetime.” Do you blame him?  Pessimistic, but I concur.

Yours faithfully,

Raul Khan

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