Most people perhaps do not question the laws by which they live. There are laws of nature and also man-made laws. Laws are necessary for order and balance. There is an ancient African concept called Maat, which speaks to truth, justice, righteousness, harmony and reciprocity, which are all fundamental factors for maintaining balance in our societies.
Some of the norms we live by keep us imprisoned. In some instances, if we were to challenge the status quo, our life experiences would be more enriching. But what happens when the stability of the world we have created is threatened?
I recently watched a movie called “Bird Box,” which was released on Netflix over the holidays. Based on a 2014 novel of the same name, the film is described as a post-apocalyptic drama/thriller. The characters in “Bird Box” are quickly driven to suicide when they see an entity described as beautiful yet terrifying. What the entity is or what it looks like is left to the imagination of the viewers for it is never shown. At the start of the film, the destruction it engineers is swift. Cars crash and explode, men and women scream and run for their lives, and the gore creates a situation of hopelessness.
Yet in the midst of all the chaos, new life is birthed. There is a male child and a female child, who could be seen as representing the hope for the future, that even after mass destruction, the chance to start anew is still possible; and hope that there is no apocalypse that will completely annihilate all that is or was. Eventually the children, and their parent and guardian, played by Sandra Bullock, must face a number of challenges while blindfolded to avoid seeing the entity so that their lives could be saved in their journey to find a sanctuary.
Guyana is going through its own “Bird Box” experience. The chaos is not in the streets though the days of protests, tear gas, assassinations and fear were not so long ago; still tensions are in the air and the affairs of the land are out of balance. The racial tensions which remain the greatest threat to our stability are present. Politicians are fighting to remain in power and to regain power and the people are divided. Few have demonstrated that they are motivated by truth, justice, righteousness, harmony and reciprocity in our Guyanese story. While many Guyanese are wearing blindfolds, it will not lead to salvation or safety but certain destruction.
To survive we must face the factors that keep us divided as a people. We need to engage in dialogue about why we are still fighting amongst ourselves and pledging allegiance to political parties even when it is clear by their past and present that they do not have our best interests at heart. We, the people, need to be honest about why we are willing to pledge allegiance to political parties even though the some of the leaders have a sordid history. Politicians need to acknowledge their mistakes, humble themselves and face the people in their communities, not in a desperate plea to remain in power or gain power, but in a genuine effort move Guyana forward. I am repeating what has already been said time and time again, but we need to continue sounding our voices even if the message remains the same.
Many have referred to Charrandas Persaud as a “Judas” for what has been described as his betrayal of the government. However, in the case of Judas Iscariot in the biblical story, his role was necessary. Was he not the scapegoat? A part of the plot so that Jesus’s mission could be fulfilled? How can people be mad at Judas when he simply fulfilled his destiny and was also a sacrifice for the greater good? So, was the role of Charrandas Persaud necessary and will it ultimately result in the greater good? Surely it has aroused the spirit of humility in some of our politicians. Surely, many have realised that they are not indestructible. Surely, it has exposed the greed and selfish intentions in others. Who will be another sacrifice in the efforts to save this nation?
It is said that Guyanese mostly live in peace, love and unity except when elections approach or there is some significant occurrence involving the political parties. But much of what I have witnessed especially on social media over the last few days paints a different picture even though we would like to believe that the bigots and racists are a minority. The hatred I have seen expressed does not conveniently appear because of politics alone – even though as it has been written and said, some politicians encourage this because it helps in keeping the blindfolds on the people they can control. Many have been conditioned to hate in Guyana. Those doing the conditioning are not much better than the colonisers of old because they refuse to acknowledge that they are ignorant, contemptible and what they choose to engage in will never solve Guyana’s problems.
My major concern is for the young people of this nation and especially those who are influenced by the bigotry and racist natures of their elders. The voices that we have not heard and that have been muffled because they have not been given the opportunity to have any significant say in this country. Many young people feel isolated and no longer care about what happens with the politics in this country. But the truth is they are needed as we strive to create a better Guyana for all of us. It is not good enough to simply say that the young are the future, when they are constantly ignored and left out of decision making. To create balance, all voices need to be heard in this country. People of every ethnicity, every religion, age, class and gender need to be given opportunity to have their say.
I am tired of the constant uneasiness in this country. Foreigners threaten to further destabilise our country while many of us are more concerned with displaying our ignorance by insulting each other. Venezuela is waiting to oil their hands with our liquid gold, and it will not take much for a country of millions to destabilize one with a population of less than a million if we do not wake up and come together. We are at risk of creating our own Guyana apocalypse.
We cannot continue to blindfold ourselves, while ignoring the threats and hoping that by some miracle we will be saved and find happiness. What sanctuary will we have to run to if we destroy ourselves? The greatest threats are perhaps our fears, prejudices and ignorance. The balancing of the land is in truth, justice, righteousness, harmony and reciprocity. But when will we get there?