Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Response to Killing at Lusignan in Guyana 1 26 08

Context: Guyana woke up on Saturday 26th January to the horror of the news of 11 of its citizens killed by an armed gang of marauders in Lusignan. It resembled a similar attack on another village, Agricola, in March 2006, in which 8 persons of a different ethnicity died. Sadly, no period of national mourning was declared at that time.

Twenty-four hours later, a predictably inadequate, and certainly premature, scenario of speculation began to play itself out. One newspaper (recklessly?) drew a parallel between this latest incident and the adjoining and troubled village of Buxton, eloquently illustrating that village’s “character” in the shape of a grenade with its pin invitingly pointed to the reader. There was no thought that 99% of that village is similarly traumatized by criminal gang (and police/military) activity. There was no proof offered of culpability. But as an invitation to racial connotation, the point was made. What price subtlety and investigative journalism?

Similarly, predictable calls in the letters section of that newspaper for the government’s petition to the USA for the “release” of Shaheed “Roger” Khan seem to forget that hundreds were killed during Khan’s self-styled (and state-accommodated?) campaign of vigilante adventure.
Former Minister Ronald Gajraj, also implicated thereby, was also shouted for. Now, no one ever sees these bandits, none are ever captured alive, police patrols are always distant, and little progress is made in investigations. Have Gajraj's and Khan's "Phantom (Death) Squads" been reactivated? Is this a terrible hoax being played out on Guyana and Guyanese, as evil men play out a parody consistent with the obvious and deliberate destruction of local parliamentary democracy (see “Needs Assessment of the Guyana national Assembly”; http://www.parliament.gov.gy/sirdaviesreport.pdf ) and its equally damning sequel (“Addendum to the Needs Assessment … ”; http://www.sdnp.org.gy/parliament/sirdavies_addendum.pdf ).
Robert H. Knight reminds us that societal chaos ushers in tyrants who promise to restore order by any means.

And everyone now seems to forget previous appeals to the government to limit its indiscriminate distribution of gun licences to its supporters (see “30,012 gun licences Guyana Review June 1999”). Has the amount doubled by now? The Ethnic Relations Commission has in the past consistently refused to address the ethnicity of persons to whom the licences have been distributed. The administration (see “The President’s wild statement about guns is irresponsible” at http://www.stabroeknews.com/index.pl/article_archive?id=56501920; and also “Killing the Guyana Review, and a story about 30,012 weapons” at http://www.caribbeannetnews.com/news-251--7-7--.html) has been studiously silent on the issue. Haven’t we learnt anything from Rwanda? Is this what “The Foreign Exchange of Hate” warned us about? Who wins in these situations?
And now … an appeal to reason, to justice, to forgiveness, to a new start, to a withdrawal of the weapons.

Dear Editor,

Enough is enough! This nonsense must stop!

I condemn the murder of 11 citizens of Guyana in Lusignan yesterday Saturday 26th January 2008, and call upon the Guyana Police Force to spare no effort or resource to bring the perpetrators of this crime to justice.

Fuelled by sin in our nation, homicidal demons of murder, violence and racism stalk our land … and now they must be stopped, by every spiritual and physical resource the nation can bring to bear.

In addition to racism, our national enemies are murder and violence, not each other. We must condemn and denounce every instance of their manifestation. We must all fight against murder and violence and racism, together, as one people.

In March 2006, a similar tragedy was foisted upon the community of Agricola, and eight people were left dead.

In the agony of this latest of many senseless tragedies, speculation runs rife, and emotions run hot, and many citizens will be tempted to forget the many proud moments of our nation’s past, and the present and future opportunities of unity in diversity embodied in our national motto: “One People, One Nation, One Destiny!

But we must not forget! We must be mature! We must be calm, even as we grieve for our fallen countrymen!

Like thieves in the night, these killers and their principals have disappeared to their lairs of iniquity, their dens of evil. However, God’s Word tells us what this evil is, and what this evil does … in Psalm 57:20-21:

But the wicked are like the troubled sea; for it cannot rest, and its waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.

We must all confront the wicked, and overcome and replace evil’s restlessness with God’s peace … not peace at any price … not appeasement … but peace with honour and justice per Stott.

Too many … hundreds of every race and creed … have died in Guyana in the past decade for us to not now consider truly unified efforts at achieving this Godly peace. After Stott, Christians should and must stress the need to look beyond the defeat and surrender of the national enemy … to its repentance and rehabilitation. The punishment of evil is an essential part of God’s moral government of the world, but retributive and reformative justice go hand in hand. Even then, the highest and noblest of all attitudes to evil is to seek to overcome it with good.

Now, since righteousness exalts a nation, and despite the death and distrust in our historical past, forgiveness is the place where we begin this noble national experiment. Withdrawing the thousands of weapons recklessly distributed marks its ending.

We of sounder minds at this hour of national grief must forgive each other for our past sins against each other and against God, and unite to rid Guyana of the triple evils of murder, violence and racism.

Christians should/must now offer their support and presence to the authorities in their visit to every village on the East Coast, and in Guyana generally, to spread this message.

Evil will only succeed when good men do nothing!

Yours faithfully
Roger Williams
27th January 2008

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