What is the difference between these eras?
As I was reading an old Kaieteur News, I was struck on seeing this front page headline: “Protestors burn Jagdeo’s effigy out side Parliament… Parliament tenants locked within” – May 9, 2008. To the immediate right of this headline, protestors held a hoisted effigy of Mr. Jagdeo.
According to the coverage, the masses had taken to the streets, to protest several issues, the main one being the extremely high food prices. Therefore food will be my central topic.
In the early 1980’s, flour—a local staple—was banned yet no one protested. Rice-flour, an absurd unpalatable substitute, had to be used.
What is in your child’s lunch kit? (KN Editorial, Friday September, 26, 2008)
This would have been a pertinent question or a concerned challenge when flour was banned. Apart from flour, other food items were banned – onion, garlic, split peas, etc.
However, rope and malathion were not banned. The older masses should know what I mean. Yet no one protested. Some bakers got flour by fair or foul means and as bread was on sale it was seized. Yet no one protested. The coverage continued. Demonstrators banged empty pots to indicate that there was no food but no empty pots were banged to indicate that some foods were banned or were unavailable in the early 1980’s. Probably this was indicated by growls in empty stomachs who had protested?
Citizens, especially the young and old grassroots, had to form long lines, popularly known as Guylines, early in the mornings, in order to get scarce foods and other commodities. Consumers had to jostle to be served first, and as the morning sun became a blazing inferno as the hours passed, the aged retreated to their homes. Yet no one had protested.
During the protest on May 9, 2008, there was a placard which read “death by high cost of living”. But I had never seen any placard which had read death by banning of flour and of other food items. Yet no one had protested. I’m not saying that the masses were wrong to have protested on May 9, 2008.
I close with this simple question: What is the difference between the era when flour and other food stuff were banned and now, which possibly facilitated the protest on May 9, 2008?