Those who read Ravi Dev’s column on Sunday about the public intellectual would have been taken aback. It is quite unlike Dev to have gotten so personal, and with of all persons, Uncle Freddie.
Dev took many by surprise by the nature of his exchange of last Sunday. He did not need to get that personal and nasty because he is more than capable of holding his own in any political exchange against anyone…except of course the Peeper.
Perhaps, he went beyond the pale last Sunday because of the exasperation in dealing with a public intellectual that has become so dishonest.
Perhaps, he felt the need to show that he can dish it out just as Uncle Freddie can that led Dev to suggest some form of psychological counseling for Uncle Freddie.
Dev of course is not the only person concerned about Uncle Freddie. The professor is, with each passing day, losing credibility. To compound the problem, when he is cornered, he seeks refuge in misrepresentation and fiction.
Like Dev, I too have been concerned about the mental outlook of Uncle Freddie. He seems to have lost all balance in his columns.
Each day is the same old themes of on the one hand painting the Jagdeo administration as a dictatorship and on the next hand diminishing the contributions of the late founder of the PPP, Dr. Cheddi Jagan.
Those in Guyana who appreciated the tremendous courage of Uncle Freddie during the terrifying days of the Burnham and Hoyte dictatorships would not wish to rush to dismiss Uncle Freddie as having lost his marbles but would instead strongly support him in the deep hurts that he is now feeling towards the PPP, the pain of which is conditioning his writings.
He clearly feels betrayed by the PPP because they did not dump someone that he does not favour at the University of Guyana.
I cannot, however, understand how the bitterness over this appointment could so transform the views of someone who was the single, fearless individual that wrote and spoke out against the wrongs that took place under the PNC at a time when a great many people were silent.
No one expects Uncle Freddie to be silent in the face of the perversions that he sees in the present government, but why has he lost all focus in his analysis simply because the government appointed someone at the University of Guyana for whom he obviously has a tremendous dislike?
He, of all persons, ought to know that in life you do not win it all. But it seems as if his ego is too big and that it is either his way or no way at all. This is very sad indeed.
When I read his columns these days, I feel a great deal of sympathy for him. He keeps harping on the same things day after day. It as if he needs to convince himself about what he is writing.
It is as if he himself is not sure of what he is saying and therefore needs to vindicate himself. This is very sad for someone who has always been sure of himself and what he stood for.
Yesterday, he continued to prostitute himself. He is now contradicting some of his writings in the past. He is turning history and his own credibility upside down.
He condemns East Indians for voting for the PPP. Yet, when confronted with the ethnic security dilemmas faced by both of the major races in Guyana, he tries to defend his assault on East Indians by saying that African Guyanese did vote for PNC in 1992 but deep in their collective psyche, African Guyanese needed some breathing space from the PNC.
He forgot what he used to write in the past when he was a thorn in the side of Desmond Hoyte. Today he is saying that Hoyte engineered magnificent changes that made the country respect him.
Yet, until the day Hoyte died, Uncle Freddie was an unrepentant critic of Hoyte who is now a hero in his eyes simply because he needs to make the PPP look bad.
There are a great many bad things that are happening in Guyana. It is true also that mediocrity has pervaded government.
It is true that in the past one expected persons who had proven and tested political mettle and who were endowed with intellectual insights to be appointed ministers.
Today it would seem that all manner of persons can be considered as suitable for positions of high authority without regard to the charges that were levied against those persons or without regard to the experience of those persons.
It is true that there is widespread corruption in Guyana and there is poor governance. And no one can deny Uncle Freddie the right to condemn and expose these things.
But surely, he ought equally to have greater balance in his analysis and not force himself to be a self-appointed critic of the administration, turning history upside down, misrepresenting what persons say and making all manner of wild and unsubstantiated claims and allegations, all because he harbours bitterness towards the ruling party and government.
Any man who harbours bitterness will destroy himself. Uncle Freddie is matured enough to move on from his hurts because he, more than anyone else, knows that in life you do not win them all, but in the end if you are honest and sincere, history will vindicate you.
History will vindicate Uncle Freddie on many points, except those on which he is vindictive.
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