The Guyanese mind: The ubiquity of mediocrity
When a nation cannot rise above the prevailing ethos of mediocrity, it will fail to take its place in the modern scheme of things. When a society cannot judge between the simple wrongs and rights of its citizens, it will fail to produce productive minds.
When a country elevates the aridness of its inhabitants to levels of moral greatness, it will confuse fundamental values with ornamental banalities.
What is lost in such a phantasmagoria of nihilism is the meaning of history. Without history, there can be no civilized discourse. Learning then consists of fiction and fiction replaces culture. When a people forget its memory then civilization itself is lost.
I was stunned when I read the panegyrics extolling the virtues of Mr. Ralph Ramkarran in the swirling controversy between him and his party that he served over forty years. I thought of the apology he got from the PPP that Moses Nagamootoo didn’t receive. In fact, Nagamootoo was visited with ostracization. Ralph is being asked to come back.
Immediately the scholar senses there is analysis to be done. Why would a Stalinist party evict Moses Nagamootoo and retain Ralph Ramkarran when both offered their resignation? Should we replace academic analysis with Shakespearian references?
In the theater of the absurd, bodies are dropping all over Ralph pointing him to the original gate, begging him for re-entry into the kingdom. Serpents still frown upon Moses Nagamootoo as the lyrics of the Eagles’ great song, “Hotel California” drown out the plea of the AFC calling on Ralph to enter a new Elysium.
Enough of Shakespeare! Why the fuss about Ralph Ramkarran when cascading memories besmirch the historical fabric that Mr. Ramkarran once wore. Individual can confuse fact with fiction; a national cannot afford that kind of psychic masturbation. Its vulgarity is bound to destroy the integrity of the collective wisdom that once accrued from the struggles of the past. When memory becomes convenient, a nation loses its capacity for moral and spiritual redemption.
Mr. Ramkarran wrote one of the most innocent assessments of corruption in the 20-year old Government of the party that he has been with at the leadership level since the fruits of power was laid at the table of Freedom House since 1992.
The scholar acquainted with Mr. Ramkarran’s party use of power could be rude to him by suggesting that his corruption column was not even mild but poor and lacked scholarly integrity. It was a dissertation in which the intensity and ubiquity of corruption was virtually ignored.
A jejune look at corruption under the PPP Government by Mr. Ramkarran has transformed him into an overnight hero. But faded memory can be recollected like how remnants of a portrait can be pieced together and come to alive again.
I got a libel suit from the gentleman and thanks to my friendship with Khemraj Ramjattan it was dropped. Mr. Ramkarran wrote my apology for me without my editor (Nills Campbell) informing me. Mr. Ramkarran then asked Kaieteur News to pay $5 million compensation. I complained to Glenn Lall on his return to the country about what Campbell did. I will always remember the principled position, Mr. Lall took.
In my presence he said to Campbell; “Why didn’t you let Freddie write the apology and send it to Ramkarran for approval?” I will never forget those words. I was made to look like a fool in that apology and up to this day, I resent Campbell for what he did to me.
This was my introduction to Ralph Ramkarran. Anger pieced me when I got the libel papers because all I could see was irony. I was sued for an article that in fact was high in praise of Mr. Ramkarran. All the offending part asked was how Mr. Ramkarran could have participated in an evil meeting.
That was in 1999. Since then I never heard a single word of condemnation from Mr. Ramkarran on what the PPP Government was doing to the Guyanese people. Mr. Ramkarran did not come forth, only Nagamootoo, when President Jagdeo accused Ramjattan of taking information to the US Embassy.
In 2010, in a letter in the Stabroek News Mr. Ramkarran accused me of stealing books from libraries in different countries where I lived. I didn’t sue for libel. Of course I did steal books but not the amount that Mr. Ramkarran accused me of.