An irrelevant view of a serious issue
The media has a significant role to play in shaping any society and particularly the conflict-torn and prejudicially polarised Guyanese society. This issue has emerged repeatedly in recent times, and the role of the media must not be underestimated. In this regard, the readership, publishers and writers must consider the impact every published piece will have on the society.
I therefore wish to thank the Editors of the Stabroek News and the Kaieteur News for allowing room in their newspaper of February 15, 2012 for the publication of my most recent letter, which I, as a Guyanese embroiled in the UG situation, felt was warranted.
That publication was responded to by another the following day in the Guyana Chronicle under the name Neil Adams. You should note that my letter was also sent to the Guyana Chronicle and another major newspaper in Guyana , but neither published it.
Since the publication of Mr Neil Adams’s letter, colleagues and friends have requested that I respond. I wish to do so now, but I will not address the substance or lack thereof in Mr Adams’s letter but rather a reflection on it in light of statements made in my introductory paragraph.
I wish to thank Mr Neil Adams for taking time to read my communication. I implore him to read it once again and examine his response to see if it indeed could be considered a response to my letter. What I have gathered from his letter is that it is obvious we depart on the issue of the value Professor Carrington brought to the University of Guyana , and that is perfectly acceptable.
Opposing views can lend themselves to rich intellectual debates, and when such discourse plays out in the public (as in the media) it informs the wider society and enriches the discourses in the multiple halls of debate (formal and informal) which are established in a society. It is for this reason that I am most disappointed with the choice of language arts employed by Mr. Adams to convey his perspective on the issue.
Having read several of Mr. Adams’s letters to the editor, I am convinced that his heart, if not his words, are in the right place. I smile even as I write, because it is Mr. Adams’s letter in defence of the academic value of publications in the media that comes to mind. I wonder whether, however, Mr. Adams is keen to follow his own advice.
In this regard, his argument held that academics can serve wider the society through publications in the media. It therefore escapes me why such an astute critical thinker, will otherwise allow himself to be elevated to the high office of public cuss out, at the expense of adding his skills of critical analysis to the edification of the public.
Your readers, Mr Editor, especially our children, must demand a higher order of civility in conduct, style and class from our intellectuals.
Arguments need not be won by those who argue the hardest and the most lawless. I am sure that the bitterness that is hardly camouflaged in Mr. Adams’s letter does not even escape him. If this is deliberate, then I shall pray for him. It is obvious from his letters that he is a more senior Guyanese than I, to whom I should be looking for role modelling.
I trust that this reaches him to the extent that our future discourses, and I am sure there will be future clashes of perspective, will be fruitful, educational and of benefit to our beloved country, Guyana.
I wish to invite Mr Adams to engage in a meaningful public discourse on the issues at the University. However, I am requesting him to construct arguments devoid of those elements that distract from, rather than add to, the discourse.
It would seem most fitting that we begin with the issue at hand – the contribution of Professor Carrington to the UG and whether the treatment he received from those in authority in reflective of the true nature of Guyanese.
I am sure you will bear witness, that it is necessary for anyone engaging in such a discourse to establish before the audience that they are indeed a valid contributor to the discourse and worthy of being heard. I have attempted to do so by fully identifying myself. It therefore behooves Mr Adams to do the same before he further engages on this issue in the public sphere.
C. R. Bernard
Department of Biology/Centre for the Study of Biological Diversity
University of Guyana