Political courage has largely been a missing ingredient from the Guyanese voter’s makeup since race politics was started by Burnham and the Jagans in the 1950s. Most are trapped in race, fear and apathy. However, we have had moments of political gallantry in Guyana where some voters have managed to break the shackles that enslaved them to race politics and to failed politics.
A substantial percentage of Africans monumentally did so for Walter Rodney’s WPA. That was the first sign of mass political courage for an ethnic group that held power since the ugliness of the 1950s. The year 2006 was the second incident of note. Although not exactly the same as the African experience in the late 1970s, 2006 was the first time in 20 years of elections that many Guyanese people refused to vote for race-based parties.
Thirty-one percent did not show up. The PPP and PNC have to be very afraid of what happened in 2006. It was the start of a trend. Courage sometimes takes time and I believe that 2006 was the beginning of a tsunami that will occur on November 28, 2011.
The 2011 threatens to be the culmination of a remarkable transformation of Indian-Guyanese political choice and a constellation of factors have lined up perfectly to create the perfect storm for a powerful Indian political awakening in Guyana.
While there is no Walter Rodney persona available and we know those only appear once in a generation, there are legendary political figures who resonate with Indians such as Moses Nagamootoo available for the first time to Indian voters in the opposition camp. The PPP’s chicanery, savagery and outlandish plunder and corruption have reached a breaking point in the hearts and minds of many Indians who have made peace with the idea of throwing them out.
Many Indians are contemplating the idea of a one term timeout for the PPP where the PPP is cast out of office for one term to effect the necessary reform to the party and to find new leadership before returning the PPP to power in 2016.
Jagdeo’s conduct or more appropriately misconduct has disgusted many Indians who support the PPP and they are ready to see him banished and that ridiculous pension he has given himself changed.
For the first time in Guyana’s history, Indians have a political alternative in the leaner and cleaner AFC that is dominated by Indians and by former PPP leaders. Indians have also realized that the PNC is one foot in the grave and the other in the coffin and that it cannot ever win an election again in a democratic Guyana. PPP fear-based campaigning does not impact this younger group of Indians who are tougher, stronger and don’t scare easily. I believe the moment for audacity is here for Indian-Guyanese. The time for courage is upon the Indian people. Just like they have battled PNC injustice, inequality and corruption, they are battling it all over again with this failed version of the PPP.
I know that many Indians who support the PPP are already waging a war in their hearts, minds and souls over whether they should stay or leave. I say they have to leave even if for five years to tame this Jagdeo-led beast before it tears us all to shreds. Many Africans had the same conversation with their souls at the height of the PNC dictatorship when the WPA arrived. Some decided that it cannot benefit a man to gain the world but lose his soul. We had an African awakening in the late 1970s and we are on the cusp of an Indian awakening on November 28, 2011. Indians, like Africans, come from a rich history of resistance to wrongdoing. Indian political determination will change Guyana in 2011 and give it karmic reincarnation. Something big is about to happen on November 28, 2011. Vote for it. Be a part of it.
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