We have come to the fork in the Road
At critical times in our lives we have each come to a fork in the road, when and where we have to make difficult choices of the two or three paths ahead. The choices ahead of us sometimes affect not only our own lives, but those of our families, friends, neighbours, communities and country.
This right to choose our own collective destiny was paid for by the efforts, sufferings and lives of many citizens – past and present, small and great, and known and unknown. It is therefore our responsibility to honour the sacrifices made by others by ensuring that we make our decisions based on what is best for all human beings called Guyanese.
Like other human beings elsewhere, we make choices, determined not only by our own self-interests, but also by our own biases, prejudices, fears (real, imagined or overblown), physical appearances, stereotypes and beliefs. But like others, often common sense, decency and our moral sense of right and wrong rise to the forefront and we take the high road in our decisions.
It is within our nobler instincts to despise the actions of those who inflict evil upon us, disrespect our honoured traditions, and practice indecencies. Our poverty and sufferings not only go unseen and unheard, but are exploited by our current rulers to promote their own wealth, power, perversions, abuses and violations of human rights.
In the old days, the managers of the sugar estates had the biggest houses and these were powerful symbols to remind us the downtrodden of our own place in life. It is not without significance that our current President, in imitation of the lords of the plantations of old, has likewise built a monster house. It is most contemptuous and insensitive of those in power to flaunt their acquired wealth and dictatorial powers while we live in poverty and despair.
We and/or forebears have struggled against injustices and grossly unfair practices then and we must do so again. We have to show our children and youths that we too can take a stand against oppression even from fellow Guyanese. In this peaceful (non-violent) way we can reject those who once contributed in our struggles against our oppressors, but have now become our oppressors.
What is most shocking and disturbing is the betrayal of workers by GAWU’s high officials who choose to obey the wishes of the President and reject the interests of our people. Not even a word of disagreement from GAWU and the stalwarts of the PPP, and their silence in the face of our continued exploitation is revolting. We are being used like beasts of burden to bring home the wealth only to be discarded when our services are over until the next trip. We have had enough of this disrespect and humiliation.
The situation is the same no matter what industry we are involved in.
We must have the courage to make the choice based on our moral conscience to get rid of our oppressors. It is hard, but it must be done. It is within us to rise to the occasion. Our people in the past have done so, they stood up against oppression. We yearn for a country of peace, a place where all humans are treated with respect and dignity – place that is truly home.
There is a spark of the goodness of Gandhi within each of us to stand up against the oppression and immoralities of our time and be counted as courageous and moral human beings. A drop in the ocean joined by other drops becomes a wave with a powerful sound and fury to remove obstacles in its way.
The world-respected philosopher Mahatma Gandhi said: “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Let us choose the path that brings self-respect, dignity and compassion to all human beings. We can show the world that we are a great people worthy of emulation.