My very educated and learned friend Zamal usually shares some great, well-constructed pieces with me. I am glad that I have such a friend who also sees the deeper side of things and thinks out of the box.
First I would like to express sincere thanks to the print media houses, Stabroek News, Kaieteur News, Guyana Times and the Guyana Chronicle for affording us the opportunity to share our views and thoughts on contemporary issues. The publishers have forsaken many millions of dollars in revenue annually by way of advertisements to give us sometimes two pages daily of newsprint for letters. Words are inadequate to express our gratitude.
James Baldwin said, “I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain”.
We believe that we must stand against oppression, seek justice and be tolerant. When we study history marked by prejudice, lies and hate, we see destruction and pain of unimaginable proportions. As it turns out we do live in these times. We are living and experiencing a fraught moment in which it is impossible to stay neutral. In twenty years, the young children of today will want to know, where we stood? What did we do to combat hate? How did we seek justice? Were we tolerant of others?
Examples of hate and intolerance are numerous. Just look around our world. The past hundred years have been catastrophic. Conflicts and devastation unmatched, suffering unspeakable, hate and intolerance in overdrive and sadly our leaders, our politicians propelling it.
I have experienced and witnessed intolerance in Guyana with my neighbour, in the streets of Georgetown, in the Mosque, in the Church and Temple, the Parliament of Guyana and various public places.
Once I had a meeting with the mother of a poor child I was sponsoring to attend a private secondary school. During the meeting, she took offence at what I said and became very furious, abusive and disrespectful. My blood reached my brain so fast, my heart said, “abort the sponsorship” immediately; but a voice rose deep inside of me and whispered, “You are not doing this sponsorship for her, you are doing it for God Almighty”.
Today, that child is a model student, she completed her BSc and is pursuing her MBA. I did not allow anger, hate and intolerance to get the better of me. This to my mind is how the men and women in authority should approach issues of individual and national interest. Such forms of hate, anger and intolerance that we see in society today will take root in our schools and ultimately will be transferred to the next generation. This is so frightening, good people must take a stand now. The politics of the world must attract a positive change in attitudes. The world is broken and we desperately need to get along, work with and respect one another. The era of fighting and intolerance should be over for the rivers of bloodshed are overflowing.
As we embark on the New Year, we simply cannot continue down the path of intolerance; we should not cling to our hates and old prejudiced practices. Let’s struggle to conquer our divides. Presidents and governments will come and go. But, the long process that truly changes our lives is still there and it is not always the thing that people are expecting or discussing. Let us all try to leave a legacy that future generations can emulate.