When I read about the convenient analysis of this New York Times contributor Clifford Krauss, I’m not going to refer to him as a journalist because independent journalists research before composing articles, I thought it is common for some writers to express their biases and imaginations and care nothing of it. The first thing that came to mind was how in the past some countries stopped taking in sections of our own Guyanese as refugees because those countries had discovered that they were lying, and how a Bajan who had befriended me while doing some designs at Tower Hotel in the 80’s confessed that the things he read about Guyana in newspapers back home caught him by surprise on arriving here, because he thought that we were starving. I had decided to ignore this letter until I read GHK Lall’s letter vindicating Krauss’s letter as ‘Obvious truths’ without considering that obvious truths can be at most times far away from the truth, and can conceal veiled agendas. Again locally, a delusional politician could not be patriotic and sensible enough not to look into Krauss’s semblance of truth and leave it alone. He had to extract some political morsel and make a TV contention of it. His presidency is recorded as the most bloodied and socially unseating in our modern history from 1838 to 2018, learn to ease and press should be his adopted philosophy.
Now to explore Lall’s ‘obvious truths’, this country became independent with its major highways to Rosignol and Linden which were red dirt roads.
Within two years of Independence they were state-of-the-art highways of the 60’s, executed by its local government. Guyana is fifty-two-years old, America became Independent in 1775 and had eighty five more years of free work through slavery from Afro Americans, then a hundred more years of segregation to put its preferred ethnic self in order, segregation that continued for another fifty years, endured two recessions. And should Lall read Jacob Riis’s book of New York in 1901 ‘How the other Half Lives’ he should understand that independent journalists make sensible comparisons, this was not the case with Mr. Krauss. Countries take time to grow. And generalisations go contrary to serving the purpose of balance, for example; can I say that the Germans are racist because of Hitler and the Holocaust? The answer is no, because I would have to erase the fact of Germans who saved Jewish lives including members of the SS, and I would have to say that ‘Hans Massaquoi’s Destined to Witness is pure fiction. Neither can I say that Euro-Americans are all racist without ignoring the fact that white Americans also suffered and died in defence of the civil rights movement and before that. Writing responsibly requires a broad platform through research and balance. Random or negative criticism is easy; true, we in Guyana are traumatised by the sub culture of runnings, forced to evolve by a changing tech world from a fossilized political and bureaucratic culture.
But what Krauss wrote about Guyana was also written of America by the high and mighty of Europe as the Anti-American degeneracy thesis captured it. Americans countered those ‘Obvious Truths’ and in the end proved them wrong. Three years ago my friend Freddie Kissoon wrote an article “I lived in the white man’s country. The non-white record is awful”. I missed the publication and it was emailed to me, I was too embarrassed then to respond to it, the non-white countries diminished, against the first fifty-one years of the white countries that Freddie exalted, which were even more dismal in comparison, yet he wrote it, and I have no rational analysis.
I have a friend who spent most of his adult life in London; he too would find somewhere to agree with Krauss, I conclude this to be an absolute intellectual, social, spiritual and cultural rejection of our history from 1834 to 1966 and onwards, a simplicity that has developed a self loathing based on a quick glance on obvious in-house shortcomings that do exist, if not, what then are the obvious truths of the latter?