I will fight against racial discrimination in my country
Emancipation Day 2011 was already passed when in the same month a startling confession was made in the High Court by one of the most powerful men who control State power in Guyana. The event was the libel trial where I was sued along with this newspaper by the then President Bharrat Jagdeo.
The anger of President Jagdeo stemmed from an academic paper I had read out at a scholarly conference in the National Library in which I argued that there was a manifest pattern of discrimination against African Guyanese. The research was featured in one of my columns and that article prompted Jagdeo’s court papers. That research paper will be part of my defence when the trial resumes in September. Titled, “Ideological Racism and Ethnic Power: Examining presidencies in Guyanese History,” this 80 page research describes and examines with a plethora of statistics how State power has been used against African Guyanese.
Let’s return to that hair-raising confession. Dr. Luncheon, the only witness to testify for Mr. Jagdeo (the other person was called to prove a request for malicious damage and not to testify for the plaintiff himself as Dr. Luncheon did). After pointing out to him that not one envoy in Guyana’s Foreign Service was African, my lawyer Mr. Nigel Hughes inquired of Luncheon if he, Luncheon believes this state of affairs was because there was no African Guyanese qualified to become an Ambassador.
Luncheon agreed that this was so. The next day, the media, the bloggers and the Guyanese population couldn’t resist talking about what Luncheon admitted. Then soon after came a national election and the speakers of the AFC and APNU constantly reminded the meetings and the rallies what Luncheon uttered. The Luncheon admission was made public in the third week in August. By that time, Emancipation Day had come and gone. It leaves you to wonder what Emancipation Day would have been like if Luncheon had said that obnoxious thing at the end of July, just days before the August 1st celebrations.
Today is Emancipation Day and no doubt it has been clouded by the raging, fiery controversy of the gunning down of three protestors and the wounding of twenty others in protest activity in Linden on July 18. Could this Emancipation Day be like any other? The answer is no. Those who should have been in the National Park early this morning would have visited the Square of the Revolution where the bodies of the three dead men will be on view. Then the procession moves to Linden. A substantial amount of people from Linden who go to the Park on this day, will be in their home town. And large numbers who should have been in Georgetown for the August 1st festivities will be heading for Linden, including this writer.
So since last year we have had the statistics on State bias against African Guyanese as brought out in the libel trial and now there is the Linden tragedy. The question is; will there be another tragedy around this time of the year in 2013. The superstitious mind would say yes because 13 is an unlucky number. But don’t matter how superstitious is your belief about fate lying outside of the reach of humans, we control much of our destiny.
Next year does not have to bring sadness and pessimism. We can inject our volition into the way fate works. This country has not worked because politics and ethnicity are too closely intertwined. Separating them may seem impossible to many. Maybe we don’t have to separate them. We just have to come to an arrangement where each ethnic community is allowed to be Guyanese and given the entitlement to the wealth their country has.
Guyana’s problem since the fifties is that an African-based party catered for Africans more than the other races when it was in power. When the Indian based party came to office, it practiced the same depravity. But I need to put on my scholarly hat at this point. I need to say that I lived under both PNC rule and PPP hegemony and my academic conclusions are that the current pro-Indian party is more steeped in its prejudices against Africans than the PNC against Indians when the PNC was in Government. I say this honestly and sincerely and from my heart.
But why do I have to inject my heart and mind into my scholarly work when the statistics are there. I believe my research in that paper, whose title is given above, proves this (my opinion of course). I fought for East Indian rights and now I am prepared to die in the fight against discrimination against African Guyanese.