As time turns the pages, my dream to see tomorrow’s light will endure
There were two commentaries in this newspaper two weeks ago in relation to the attack on me in the early hours of August 16 after I left the vigil at the People’s Parliament on High Street and crossed over into Brickdam to go into my car. There is the view by Mr. Sultan Sattar (“A caution to Freddie Kissoon,” Aug 27) in which he wonders if I have a martyr’s complex or want to die like Walter Rodney.
Then there is my relative, Vishnu Kissoon (“I pray for Freddie Kissoon,” Aug 28) who says that in a conversation with me he interpreted my action to mean that I want to die as a martyr.
I want to boldly state to both of these gentlemen that I do not want to die in the course of my political activism because I want to be around when tomorrow’s light shines brightly on the future of the Guyanese people.
First, Mr. Sattar. He has advised me to stop fooling myself into thinking that I am not the most serious threat to the PPP Government and therefore they would not want to kill me. I thank Mr. Sattar for his concern and brotherly advice, but if one examines the depraved levels of power madness the past ten years under the PPP Government, a critic of the government simply cannot protect him/herself no matter how perfect the security measures are.
There is only so much precaution you can take. The brutal fact of life in Guyana is that power has in its employment deadly and dangerous people that can easily target you once you are involved in political activities. To keep them off, you virtually have to imprison yourself in your home, thus bringing your praxis to an end. I cannot do that. I am by nature a human rights activist. This is what makes my life worthwhile. This is the essential me. I would not remain a livable person if my activism comes to an end.
The honest thing is that you hope that no one hurts you, but you cannot look over your shoulders every moment of every day. I think this is what one of my aged relatives misunderstood when we spoke about my security. I honestly didn’t know his first name was Vishnu. I know him as Uncle Patrick from Bent Street, Wortmanville. Yes, I remember talking to Uncle Patrick, and I see his daughter now and then, and we talk.
Uncle Patrick did not understand what I meant when I said that “These people can kill you whenever they want to.” This is my honest opinion. It doesn’t mean that I will throw caution to the wind and go jogging on the seawall late into the evening.
I have witnessed the most horrible and frightening descent into narcotic politics from 2002 onwards in this country, where the State became a criminal venture (to borrow a term from Professor Clive Thomas). In this concatenation of insane power, narcotic politics have been used by State actors to attack their critics.
The number of persons who have died under questionable circumstances without even a modicum of police detective work is simply mind-boggling. And some prominent victims are on the list. The co-owner of the architectural/construction firm (Nabi and Sons) that designed the Caricom Secretary was killed on one of his work sites. A prominent banker was shot in his car on the seawall. The warden at one of the UG dormitories was burnt alive in his car on the seawall.
I can cite more than ten other such cases and there has been no arrest. There was this peculiar situation where a rich woman intended to leave a part of her fortune for her driver. There was an attempt on his life in a drive-by shooting. Surely, the police had something to go on. But it is now a cold case. Which Guyanese does not know about the Ronald Waddell murder?
This is what Guyana has become. My blunt understanding is that death can come to a human rights activist at anytime. I thank Uncle Patrick for his open letter and deep concern for my safety. I want to assure Uncle Patrick and Mr. Sattar that I am fully conscious of the hate and poison that characterize the use of power in Guyana.
I am fully conscious of how I am seen by those who have lost any reason or sanity. But in the end, Guyana has become a huge political cesspool, where law and justice are things of the past. In such a condition, as Hobbes puts it, the life of an outspoken activist can be short.
I honestly don’t want to be killed while fighting for my country. But I will not run. I will not hide. I will try to live to see my dream of a free, beautiful, racially-united Guyana come into existence.