I have noted and have been struggling to comprehend recent writing of learned men published in our dalies analysing the period of the Burnham/PNC rule and the advent of the WPA/Walter Rodney contribution, alongside that of Cheddi Jagan/PPP.
But being just a simple person, a raindrop, I will not venture one bit on their turf, I’ll stick to the adage; large vessel may venture to the deep, small ones must remain close to the shore.
Yet in my effort to understand their writing, I figured that perhaps, just maybe these intellectuals are only attempting in a dispassionate and objective way to put that tumultuous period and the role/contribution of key players/political parties in true perspective, and I really hope on this score I’m correct, for I would hate to think that it is done with some baser intention. As stated above I cannot fathom what some of the intellectuals have written about Walter Rodney, but I sure do know and attest to what Joey Jagan wrote: “Rodney galvanized huge gatherings on streets, crowds with Indian and African Guyanese…”, Walter Rodney/WPA made an impression that try as one may it cannot be washed nor wished away, and that impression was brought to bear on all, that was what happened during that period.
However, two letters in the Kaieteur News, Thursday 21st January, 2010, were quite a mouthful! “The PPP was not a significant threat to the ruling PNC regime” by Seelochan Beharry and “Boodram is attempting to revise Guyanese history” by Anand Daljeet.
If these two letters cannot settle the score then I’m curious to know what more is there to add. These two gentlemen simply told the truth without any relish or decoration, a piece of repeating from Mr. Beharry is deserving, “To all Guyanese, Rodney was a special person that rarely comes along in one’s lifetime. We were indeed fortunate to have this great son of Guyana leading us with courage in the face of grave personal danger. He led by example, never asking anyone to do something that he personally would not do. He earned our respect and love whether we were from the slums of Albouystown, Tiger Bay, Sugar estates or academia….He made us believe in ourselves and let us know we have something to contribute towards the common good”.
The activism of Rodney moved all our people, moved both Burnham and Jagan, made them stopped, took a deep breath and pondered, as someone I know is fond of saying: “Burnham was going along his business uninterrupted until Walter arrived”. Such was the over powering influence and force of Walter Rodney dare anyone who now would try to deny him! I can still remember a cartoon in the New Nation showing Forbes Burnham holding Cheddi Jagan’s hands and leading him away from the WPA, while saying “they are the worst possible alternative”.
But while we grapple with trying to have our history correctly written, a past in which many were hurt, we ought not to remain living with the hurt/wrong constantly in front of us, for if we do then we will not be able to truly move on as one people; then we will be no different from those we still today blame for the hurt/wrongs of yesterday; then we will become our own enemy and also an enemy and humbug to following generations.
And I have to say that I wholeheartedly agree with Joey Jagan in saying that: “a statue should be built of Walter Rodney and placed in the most prominent place we can find in this country; he truly deserves such a tribute”. Mr. Beharry no doubt like so many of us will most certainly leap to endorse this position as he further states, and this time coming from deep down inside about Rodney and that of our elder brother Eusi Kwayana, “To many of us Dr. Rodney was our brightest star, our beam of hope and a courageous brother. As we applaud his efforts we loved him, his short life impacted on so many of us. We were made better by him, he lives within us. Our respected elder, Eusi Kwayana has been our moral compass and give us a sense of pride and dignity to accept ourselves and other; and to treat even our opponents with respect”.
The above is indeed somewhat emotional but true, and we who were deeply involved and around them can bear witness. And that is why those of us who see ourselves as champions/true believers of what Rodney stood for should avoid the temptation of, according to Joey Jagan, “apportioning blame and character assassination of past leaders who were only human, and like all human made mistakes, and move on to bring peace harmony and betterment to our nation” (SN January, 8th, 2010) even as we endeavour to tell the truth as Malcolm Harripaul did in a forthright manner – no spin required – on stating what actually took place (SN 11th January, 2010).
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