Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The marginalization of Persons of African Origin in Guyana

Context:
It is not now very popular to defend Blacks in Guyana! However, the advice of the Lausanne Covenant is clear …

Section 5. CHRISTIAN SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
"....We affirm that God is both the Creator and the Judge of all men. We therefore should share his concern for justice and reconciliation throughout human society and for the liberation of men and women from every kind of oppression. Because men and women are made in the image of God, every person, regardless of race, religion, colour, culture, class, sex or age, has an intrinsic dignity because of which he or she should be respected and served, not exploited. Here too we express penitence both for our neglect and for having sometimes regarded evangelism and social concern as mutually exclusive. Although reconciliation with other people is not reconciliation with God, nor is social action evangelism, nor is political liberation salvation, nevertheless we affirm that evangelism and socio-political involvement are both part of our Christian duty. For both are necessary expressions of our doctrines of God and man, our love for our neighbour and our obedience to Jesus Christ. The message of salvation implies also a message of judgment upon every form of alienation, oppression and discrimination, and we should not be afraid to denounce evil and injustice wherever they exist. When people receive Christ they are born again into his kingdom and must seek not only to exhibit but also to spread its righteousness in the midst of an unrighteous world. The salvation we claim should be transforming us in the totality of our personal and social responsibilities. Faith without works is dead...). (Acts 17:26,31; Gen. 18:25; Isa. 1:17; Psa. 45:7; Gen. 1:26,27; Jas. 3:9; Lev. 19:18; Luke 6:27,35; Jas. 2:14-26; Joh. 3:3,5; Matt. 5:20; 6:33; II Cor. 3:18; Jas. 2:20)...."

On February 12, 2008, Guyana’s controversial Inter Religious Organization (IRO) convened a meeting of the Christian, Muslim and Hindu religious leaders at Red House to discuss the killings at Lusignan. One Christian Pastor commented on the fact that it was easy to identify “Black” villages along the coastland, as distinct from “Indian” villages because of the poverty and degradation that typified the former.

While Lincoln Lewis has used the forceful language of “economic genocide” to characterize the phenomenon, perhaps the expeditious deletion from ALL of the local news of the story about a barrel of counterfeit money found the day before the Lusignan incident tells us more about this post-1992 anomaly than anything else …

However, a world-renown economist on February 11th 2004 summarized marginalization in Guyana’s current socio-political reality as follows:

“.... Guyana needs intervention at the macro/national, intermediate/meso and the micro/local levels, Thomas said. He listed, "the superficiality of national unity, the dynamics of racial arithmetic and insecurity and the unrelenting rise of both benign and militant extremism." Guyana's predicament, he said, was compounded by the depth, scale, complexity and sheer persistence of economic misery and the growth of the narco-economy. He added that the country's entrenched totalitarianism in a multiracial society combined with territorial threats and the criminalisation of the state all played their part. Thomas asserted that Guyana's political and social crisis could not be solved without the intervention of the international community in the broader sense of creating the foundation for some resolution. "Just as our development problems are so acute that we cannot solve them without the support of the regional and international community, similarly, our political crisis requires this type of intervention." Asked to expand on the term `structural deadlock' during the debate that followed his remarks, Thomas alluded to the government's initial objections to the symposium and their attempts to review presenters' papers prior to actual presentation....”(Source: Dr. Clive Thomas: "International Conference on Governance, Conflict Analysis and Conflict Resolution," Georgetown, Guyana February 2004)

This comment led to the following submission to the local press in 2005, at the height of a torrid spate of Hindu-Nationalist letters in the press, and again following the assassination of Ronald Waddell.

Roger Williams,
February, 2008

The marginalization of Persons of African Origin in Guyana:
(Race relations in the context of Hindu Nationalism)

Under our noses, a war of cultures is being fought in Guyana and Trinidad, and in the Caribbean generally. The hostilities are being executed under the camouflage of “democracy”, the weaponry is forged in the furnace of “heritage” and the ammunition is “race” and “culture” (http://www.proxsa.org/newsflash/appendixa.html). The criminalization of the state, the complicity of state-policy with drug-barons, and the use of an Ethnic Relations Commission to suppress academic investigation and freedom of expression complicate the issue in Guyana. There are implications for the rest of the Caribbean with the advent of CSME, and in the fact that India now sees Guyana as its “gateway to Latin America”. We are witnessing firsthand in Guyana the preparation of ground for an experiment in Hindutva (“The Foreign Exchange of Hate; IDRF and the American Funding of Hindutva"; http://www.proxsa.org/newsflash/index.html).

The callous brutality of the insurgency, and the stench of denial that accompanies this conflict is found everywhere in the evidence of the past 13 years of post-1992 Guyana. The combat will show itself to have been fuelled as much as by rabid Hindu Nationalism in the territories listed above (as a religion is hijacked by a cadre of theological and intellectual terrorists) as by the inevitable clash of opposing cultures. One lesson learnt is that denial and fascism are ideal covers under which racism is institutionalized and covertly applied. Another lesson, says Vishal Mangalwadi, is that Hinduism and Hindu Nationalism is incompatible with democracy. The one spells the death of the other.

It is dangerous to develop a “personal” theory of marginalization in 4,000 words, much less to show that a “cycle of racial oppression” informs the status quo, so a montage of efforts and references will have to suffice for this project. We will use Vishal Mangalwadi, Professor John Davies, Commonwealth Advisor Sir Michael Davies, U.N. Special Representative Doudou Diene, Professor Clive Thomas, Cheddi Jagan, Eusi Kwayana, and an iconoclastic review by Dr. Kean Gibson, in this regard.

Passing reference will be made to the ideology of racial segregation, national disunity, revenge and historiographical revisionism being currently being developed and articulated by Ravi Dev, Prem Misir, Evan Radhay Persaud, Ryaan Shah and Frederick Kissoon in Georgetown, and Elizabeth Sieusarran and Ramesh Gampat elsewhere. The reader is referred to the online articles “The Case for Scholarship in Kean Gibson’s Book” at http://landofsixpeoples.com/news402/ns4042114.htm, and “Dr. Sieusarran’s comments bear witness to the Hindu culture of contamination” at http://www.stabroeknews.com/index.pl/article?id=20882536.

Critics of the pre-1992 policies of the (predominantly Black) Peoples National Congress (PNC) political party have argued that PNC-policies in that era reflect “black racism” even though Africans prospered, and suffered, equally with Indians during the period.
The irony is that this trend of argument encourages Gibson’s efforts to evaluate the post-1992 rule of the (predominantly Indian) Peoples’ Progressive party (PPP) political party, under which she argues that attempts are being made to “pauperize Blacks”. Her iconoclastic rationalization of the evidence of 13 years of post-1992 PPP-rule argues that:

“.... But there is a fundamental difference between African racial oppression and that of Europeans and East Indians in Guyana. This study looks at the causes and justification for racism in Guyana and argues that the differences between the three types of racism lie in culture....” (Dr. Kean Gibson; “The Cycle Of Racial Oppression In Guyana”; University Press; 2002; Page 1)

Two recent reports address the matter with some certainty:

".... The story of Guyana is, to a deeply disturbing degree, the story of political exploitation of the race factor by every political figure from every point on the ideological spectrum. The ghetto mentality has replaced the initially progressive, unitary ideology of the Guyanese nation’s founding fathers, Cheddi Jagan and Forbes Burnham, as the ultimate instrument of power, and it is this departure and the political practices to which it has given rise that are at the origin of the vicious cycle of ethnic polarization....” [Doudou Diene, UN Special Representative on Race, in 2005 … regarding Guyana.]

This “ghetto mentality”, apparently, is currently manifest in the fact that the administration of the country seems not any longer carried on in the constitutional structures provided for same.
For example, Section 50 of the Constitution of Guyana lists Parliament ahead of the President as one of the supreme organs of the State. Sir Michael Davies’ commentary on Guyana’s Parliamentary Needs 2005 shows how this most important democratic instrument has been sidelined, manipulated and brutalized, the principles of parliamentary involvement and protocol being replaced by an alien culture. Sir Michael’s report is found at “Needs Assessment of the Guyana National Assembly”; http://www.parliament.gov.gy/sirdaviesreport.pdf) and its sequel (“Addendum to the Needs Assessment of the Guyana National Assembly”; http://www.sdnp.org.gy/parliament/sirdavies_addendum.pdf) , but this excerpt will suffice:

“... [19] Throughout this report I have identified areas where the separation of powers is not observed in respect of the National Assembly. Meetings of the Assembly are entirely at the whim of the Executive, control of the Order Paper is entirely in the hands of the Executive, the Assembly’s budget is too tightly controlled by the Executive, the staffing of the Assembly is not independent of the Executive and committee work is subject to frustration by the Executive…. [32] Maybe one reason why they do not table more questions is that the Order Paper containing questions and motions submitted to the Clerk and then to the Speaker and cleared by them as in conformity with the Standing Orders has to be sent to the Office of the President which can (and does) strike out questions and motions which the Office does not like. This is quite wrong and an abuse of the privileges of the Assembly. If Opposition Members cannot ask the questions they wish to ask, they will abandon parliamentary process in favour of other action, as they have done in recent years....” [Sir Michael Davies: Report of the Commonwealth Senior Parliamentary Staff Advisor to the Guyana National Assembly, 18 February 2005]

It appears that we have learnt nothing as a nation. In the two hundred or so odd illustrations that he provides in his report, Davies appears to struggle for an appropriate descriptive to categorize the chaos of overtly deliberate attempts at the destruction of the democratic process, and thereby the marginalization of an entire segment of the population.
Gibson has no such difficulty.
In her book “The Cycle of Racial Oppression in Guyana” Kean Gibson characterizes the structure of power and oppression that has replaced parliamentary/inclusionary/egalitarian democracy in post-1992 Guyana as being founded on “Hinduism … a culture that sanctifies racism”, in the process articulating a perspective that has not been confronted intellectually by any of her detractors, or by the Ethnic Relations Commission:

“.... Political studies in Guyana blame the current social and economic problems on the ethnic conflict between Africans and East Indians, but none have attempted to aggressively debate the racist principles operating in Guyana that are at the center of the problem and hence the source of the problem …. What is needed … is recognition that racism is itself a political system, a particular power structure of formal and informal rule, socioeconomic privilege, and norms for the differential distribution of material wealth and opportunities, benefits and burdens, rights and duties....” Kean Gibson, page 2 and 3, partly quoting Mills

“.... The defining of race as a political system means that it can be defined as a “Racial Contract” – a contract just between the people who count, the people who are really people. Although this study of racism in Guyana is not a standard political study of Guyana, it is a study of race in a political context – the context in which power is contested....” Kean Gibson, 2003, p.3

Some of the following observations inform her conclusions:

1. Corruption that is ruinous to the state, and the complete lack of prosecution of high-profile supporters of the government in drug-bust cases. See the US State Department Drug Report on Guyana for 2004. This report advocates that the corruption reaches the “highest levels of government”. Despite conclusive links with a known assassin that would never have come to light but for a fortunate leakage, a “Presidential Commission” finds that that there is “no evidence” of a Minister Ronald Gajraj’s involvement with killers during the 2003 “crime spree”. The Minister of Home Affairs defends his association with the assassin, claiming that he would “do it again if necessary”. He resigns under international pressure, but is promoted to a diplomatic position … in India, of course.
2. The use of an African-dominated police force, and a Phantom (Death) Squad, to periodically kill blacks in Guyana. See an introduction to the issue by Tacuma Ogunseye (“The killings have been for a number of reasons”; Stabroek News, Saturday, March 22nd, 2003, also attached). Submitters at the hearing suggested that the Guyana Police Force be mandated by the Ethnic Relations Commission with the task of giving a definitive count on the quantity and ethnicity of the dead since 1992. The Ethnic Relations Commission will not touch these issues.

3. The distribution of over 30,000 weapons to supporters of the PPP, and a refusal of the Ethnic Relations Commission to detail the ethnicity of that distribution. Gibson advocates that “with the belief that Africans are criminals” some 30,012 (THIRTY THOUSAND AND TWELVE) gun licences were issued to Indians and PPP supporters from 1992 to 1999 when the Firearm Act clearly advises restraint in that regard. This means that 1 in every 20 civilians now has a gun licence, and presumably a gun (See the Guyana Review; June 1999; pages 31-32). This has fuelled an enormous crime spree. The Ethnic Relations Commission will not touch this issue.

4. Claims by the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU Press Statement April 19th 2002): “The result is that the government has been firing Africans and East Indians they do not like and replacing them with people of their choice. These acts are in violation of the constitution. It seems the government is making a concerted effort to remodel the society by creating an African underclass in accordance with racial criteria.” The Ethnic Relations Commission will not touch this issue.

5. Calls by the Indo-Guyanese community to “equalize” the ethnic makeup of the armed forces and the public service, historically the occupations of choice of the African-Guyanese community, but no corresponding requirement to ensure parity in the employee ethnic-makeup of predominantly Indo-Guyanese businesses. The glaring disparity in the composition of these businesses is disguised racism, especially since there is a “Private Sector” representative on the ERC, but none for the Public Service. The Ethnic Relations Commission will not touch this issue.

6. The reader can read/refer to hundreds of other examples in Chapters 3 and 4 of Gibson’s book.

To the extent that Gibson’s detractors have focused on maligning her as a person, and not addressed the multiplicity of issues she gives as examples of the Hindu-nationalist agenda in Guyana, the dichotomy of positive (inevitably Black) and negative (inevitably Indian/Hindu) responses to her treatment tell their own story of the reality of racism that exists in Guyana. To the extent that the latter can be contested, they mirror “the pernicious philosophy of historical revisionism which now animates the promulgation of facts and circumstances relating to the reality of the East Indian presence upon this land mass” adverted to by CRB Edwards in 2002 (SN May 19, 2002: “Slavery and indentureship were not similar in nature”; www.landofsixpeoples.com/news02/gyltns205197.htm, keywords “neo ethno-supremacists”).

Gibson has not been unassisted in arriving at her conclusions. We have mentioned Trinidad’s Sieusarran already. The principal architects of the ideological framework that service the Hindu-nationalist version of race-hate and revenge in Guyana seem to be Ravi Dev, Prem Misir and Ryaan Shah.

“… By the end of indentureship the Indian had moved very far towards re-evaluating his caste system and incorporating all castes into a unitary system of "nation" or "jati" and allocating the outcaste position to the African. To mix and mingle with the African, much less "combine", was beyond the pale in this scheme....” (Ravi Dev, Guyanese parliamentarian, in his 1998 “Aetiology Of An Ethnic Riot”)

It gets worse. The black-dominant states of the Caribbean have traditionally welcomed their Indian counterparts, and their generally Judeo-Christian ethic has allowed space for reconciliation, absorption and intermarriage. However, Ryaan Shah equates various social institutions in Guyana as “mashing people down to blackness”, and an ever slavish Ethnic Relations Commission will not sanction her racist bile. Elizabeth Sieusarran in Trinidad wants the offspring of Black and Indian parents purged from the “pure” Indian race. Ramesh Gampat works, of all places, at the United Nations, yet has found the leverage and space to advocate the particular brand of malice, aforethought and racist garbage that informs the revisionism adverted to by CRB Edwards above, and the clash of cultures that we predict:

“.... With the spread of globalization and the erosion of the powers of the state, nationality and nationalism are giving way to ethnicity. Ethnic identification, in my view, will be the most powerful organizing and mobilizing principle in the history of mankind. It is, therefore, to our advantage to recognize its inevitability and capitalize on it….. In an increasingly hostile world, we Hindus can only grow stronger in unity. We must practice our culture unabashedly, without fear and without reservation....” (Dr. Ramesh Gampat in Hindu Jaagaranam: A magazine commemorating the visit of Pujya KS Sudarshanji, Chief of the RSS to the Caribbean Hindu Community in New York, July 28, 2001).

The above comment would be as dizzying in its disregard for distinguishing “Hindus” from “Indians” as it is in the obviousness of its racist vitriol, were it not for another Indian perspective on racism. According to Chetan Bhatt’s “Hindu Nationalism”, published by Berg, it should be noted that under Hindu nationalistic paradigms, what constitutes a Hindu oscillates between race and religion, and the concept is enshrined under the Indian constitution.
What, exactly, is this “culture” that must be practiced unabashedly? Vishal Mangalwadi illustrates the influence that that Hinduism has had on “motherland” India, and on the Diaspora:

“.... Hinduism fosters oppression because it is based on the notion that some people are inherently more worthy than other people. Officially (not religiously), Indians are categorized as follows:

1. Forward Castes --- Approx. 15%
* Brahmins (Priestly class; created from god's head)
* Kshatriyas (Ruling classes; created from god's arms)
* Vaishyas (Business classes; created from god's belly and thighs)
* Educationally and socially advanced Tribes and Shudras (e.g. Marathas & Jats; created from god's feet)
2. Backward Castes --- Approx. 52%
* Shudras (serving castes, peasants; created from God's feet)
3. Scheduled Castes --- Approx. 16%
* Outcastes, Dalits
4. Scheduled Tribes ---- Approx. 7%
5. Minorities (Some Scheduled Tribes are Christian and some
"Backward Castes" are Muslims.)
.…"
(Vishal Mangalwadi: “Why is Hinduism Collapsing”: http://www.vishalmangalwadi.com/articles/collapsing.htm; posted November 12, 2002.)

Evan Radhay Persaud of the Indian Arrival Committee in Guyana, when faced with the truth of this pathological and disease-ridden inclination to define all economic and social relations by caste, contradicts Dev, denies the existence of “Shudra” in the local experience, but confirms the existence of other caste-strata at point number 10 (section “e”) of the IAC-complaint. In this hot flush of bigoted denial, it does not occur to his racist mindset that 5,000 years of ideology cannot be altered at his whim and fancy:

“.... Below the four “varnas” of the Hindu caste system there is a fifth category of humans called “outcastes” which consists of “untouchables” followed by “unseeables” at the bottom of the ladder....”

African-Guyanese would get an instruction of what being at the “bottom of the ladder”, or an “unseeable”, or an “untouchable”, meant through Cheddi Jagan himself as he addressed an audience of East Indians in Toronto, Canada on October 30, 1996 (p. 40 of Gibson’s book):

“.... The PPP is not an Indian party. The British and Americans did not remove me from power and put Burnham in because of race. In fact, if they were using race, I should have been kept there and Burnham should have been kept out forever. Because as we know Black people are at the lowest scale of the social ladder....”

Between the Indian Constitution, the atrocious outburst by Cheddi Jagan, and the venomous denial and lying that informs the local attempt to deny caste and its implications, we should acknowledge in them the confirmation of Gibson’s premise relative to post-1992 racism in Guyana:

“.... Racism is defined as the belief in the domination of one social group, identified as a “race”, over another social group. It involves three basic components: (1) the belief that humankind consists of well-defined “races”; (2) the belief that some races are superior to others; and (3) the belief that the superior races should rule over the inferior and the attempt to put this into practice…. The harm occurs when a group not only believes in its own superiority, but that its superiority entitles it to rule and control. By racism is meant “the predication of decisions and policies on considerations of race for the purpose of subordinating a social group and maintaining control over that group”. Thus the problem of racism is not prejudice, but domination …. "

“.... What is needed … is a recognition that racism is itself a political system, a particular power structure of formal or informal rule, socioeconomic privilege, and norms for the differential distribution of material wealth and opportunities, benefits and burdens, rights and duties....” (Kean Gibson; “The Cycle of Racial Oppression in Guyana”; pgs. 2 & 3, quoting Hodge/Mills).

Gibson cites Kwayana as never having since 1962 any doubt about Jagan’s own outlook since that time … and this is amazing since none of her detractors have seriously contested her use of Kwayana’s undisputed testimony to build her case (Gibson p. 41):

“… the world hails this coward as an anti imperialist and a communist and the chief of “freedom fighters”. He cannot fight against his own slavery, cannot even carry out a revolution within himself....” (Sydney King/Eusi Kwayana, “Next Witness” Georgetown, Guyana: Labour Advocate, 1962; p.9)

Again, these were strong words, and it was suggested that the ERC call Kwayana as an expert witness to clarify what he means in that last sentence. Predictably, the ERC rejected this suggestion by a presenter.

What should also be clear is that this brand of nationalism in Hindu-dominant economic or social systems has little place in it for Blacks or other minorities. It is this dilemma that confronts CSME and an increased presence within the open arms of Caricom. An increased Indian presence within the Caribbean inevitably means imported Indian labour. Cultures will clash, and social eruptions will surely follow. Caribbean beware of attempts by India to construct is own vision of “Little India” in the Caribbean. Potential landing sites for the “occupation” are Guyana, Trinidad and St Lucia.

For example, read the review of V.T. Rajshekar’s book (DALIT: The Black Untouchables Of India):

“.... Originally published in India under the title Apartheid in India, V.T. Rajshekar's passionate work on the plight of the Indian Dalits was first introduced to North American readers through the publication of DALIT: The Black Untouchables of India in 1987. This book is the first to provide a Dalit view of the roots and continuing factors of the gross oppression of the world's largest minority (over 150 million people) through a 3,000 year history of conquest, slavery, apartheid and worse. Rajshekar offers a penetrating, often startling overview of the role of Brahminism and the Indian caste system in embedding the notion of "untouchability" in Hindu culture, tracing the origins of the caste system to an elaborate system of political control in the guise of religion, imposed by Aryan invaders from the north on a conquered aboriginal/Dravidian civilization of African descent. He exposes the almost unimaginable social indignities which continue to be imposed upon so-called untouchables to this very day, with the complicity of the political, criminal justice, media and education systems. Under Rajshekar's incisive critique, the much-vaunted image of Indian nonviolence shatters. Even India's world-celebrated apostle of pacifism emerges in less saintly guise; in seeking to ensure Hindu numerical domination in India's new political democracy, Mahatma Gandhi advocated assimilating those whom Hindu scriptures defined as outcastes (untouchables) into the lowest Hindu caste … Rajshekar further questions whether the Brahminist socio-political concepts so developed in turn influenced the formation of the modern Nazi doctrine of Aryan supremacy, placing the roots of Nazism deep in Indian history....”

Second, Professor John Davies has documented the experience of Hindu-nationalism in Fiji. To the extent that it bears a close resemblance to the situation in Guyana, the ERC has in lynching Kean Gibson’s book abandoned its mandate in ignoring submissions that mirror the Guyanese reality:

“.... Many Fijians have put to me the difficulties they have had when applying for employment in an Indian company or renting an apartment from an Indian landlord. To anyone residing in the metropolitan Western democracies where discrimination of this sort is outlawed and mechanisms and watchdogs are in place to root it out, the blatant, overt nature of the private discrimination visited upon Fijians in the areas of employment and housing is difficult to comprehend…. ” (Professor John Davies’ sysopsis of the Indian/Fijian experience is found summarized at http://maorinews.com/karere/fiji/davies.htm.)

As part of an effort to redefine the development of Guyana through recasting the “Indian presence”, and cast predictably in the role of “Indian As Victim” (remember Davies on Fiji above?) Gampat would, like Ravi Dev, provide in 2002 the validation for Gibson’s hypothesis on “not-Indian nothingness”. For Guyana, the noble hopes and dreams of a united people under the national motto of “One People, One Nation and One Destiny” becomes an episode in post-experience name-calling, courtesy of a racist, diseased outlook:

“....To crown it all, it was the official policy to create “one people” (which led to efforts to douglarize the population) and thus destruction of culture and identity....” [“Douglarization” is the derogatory term ascribed by rabid Hindu-nationalists to the offspring of blacks and Indians.](Source: Dr. Ramesh Gampat; Caribbean New Yorker, Friday, May 3, 2002; Indian Arrival Day – 164th Anniversary)

Believe it or not, this mass effort at deception and misinformation is happening under our noses at a “popular” Hindu website servicing the Caribbean. Elizabeth Sieusarran and Prem Misir are no strangers to the racist ethic defined in the Hindu-Nationalist theology by the term “douglarization” or miscegenation. The rationale could just have easily borrowed the concept from Hitler’s Mein Kampf, Chapter 11, but that will inform another analysis. The word miscegenation entered the language in the Southern USA around 1928. For a century, it was common for white southern advocates of the social status-quo to accuse advocates of the elimination of slavery, and later the advocates of civil rights for African Americans, of actually having the goal of miscegenation and the "destruction of the white race". After World War II, many white southerners accused the US civil rights movement of Martin Luther King of being a Communist plot funded by the U.S.S.R. in order to destroy the United States through miscegenation. It is astonishing that Hindu-Nationalists are using this argument to defend the “purity” of the Indo-population of Guyana in this day and time.
Coming soon to a Caribbean territory near you!

There is a more sinister interpretation of all this, since hundreds of persons of "non-Indian" ethnicity have been killed in post-1992 Guyana, and some fundamental questions need to be asked. But it is the galling denial, and the bald-faced attempt to hide the obvious, that most informs the callous nature of the racism. If Gibson’s treatment addressed the issue from the standpoint of “linguistic dehumanization”, then the following comments by a world-renown economist on February 11th 2004 summarizes Black marginalization in Guyana’s current socio-political reality:

“.... Guyana needs intervention at the macro/national, intermediate/meso and the micro/local levels, Thomas said. He listed, "the superficiality of national unity, the dynamics of racial arithmetic and insecurity and the unrelenting rise of both benign and militant extremism." Guyana's predicament, he said, was compounded by the depth, scale, complexity and sheer persistence of economic misery and the growth of the narco-economy. He added that the country's entrenched totalitarianism in a multiracial society combined with territorial threats and the criminalisation of the state all played their part. Thomas asserted that Guyana's political and social crisis could not be solved without the intervention of the international community in the broader sense of creating the foundation for some resolution. "Just as our development problems are so acute that we cannot solve them without the support of the regional and international community, similarly, our political crisis requires this type of intervention." Asked to expand on the term `structural deadlock' during the debate that followed his remarks, Thomas alluded to the government's initial objections to the symposium and their attempts to review presenters' papers prior to actual presentation....”(Source: Dr. Clive Thomas: "International Conference on Governance, Conflict Analysis and Conflict Resolution," Georgetown, Guyana February 2004)

Both Thomas and Gibson would conclude (page 73-4 of “The Cycle of Racial Oppression …) that “it is unprofitable to be Negro/Black in Guyana at this time because of the onslaught against them”.

The final word must belong to Clarence Ellis, Guyanese economist:

“.... Dr. Gibson says that GIFT (Guyana Indian Foundation Trust) has the 'double objective of looking after the interests of their own group and of ultimately destroying the Africans with whom they share the same space'. That is very strong stuff and possibly the passage to which East Indians take the most objection. But if they do, they should come out and say so and affirm that they are willing not only to share the same space with Black people but to do so on terms of equality. The surprising fact is that not a single East Indian leader or leadership group has come out and said that they are willing to share the same space with Black people on terms of equality....”

What is the answer to this rather disturbing state of affairs?

It is simple. We must forgive each other, and dismantle the structures that support racism, degeneration and marginalization.

No less is expected under egalitarian parliamentary democracy.

Roger Williams
Sept. 2005
RogerWilli@Yahoo.com

No comments:

Post a Comment