It was Shakespeare who put the following words into the mouth of Macbeth: “Life’s but a walking shadow… that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more.”
I didn’t take the title of this column from Shakespeare. It is a line from the existentialist theme song of a great, fantastic existentialist movie, “Last Tango in Paris.” Both the theme song and Shakespeare’s quote best describe the role of power in present day Guyana
By the time you read this column, President Ramotar would have named his Cabinet. And the Ramotar Government of Guyana would have replaced the Government of Bharrat Jagdeo. Gone will be Jagdeo and presumably sooner or later those who loved to wield power. Of course there may be new power-drunken displays. We don’t know. It is too early yet.
But what we know is that some ego-trippers will not be around in the near future. Those who take brutality and bestiality to higher levels when exercising power are too foolish to believe that their omnipotence is not mundane and terrestrial, but divine and permanent.
It is much too early to predict the untergang (German word meaning downfall and a word that I love to use, a word taken from the name of a movie on the last days of Hitler) of many of those in the Jagdeo regime that misused and abused power.
My mind goes back to the look on the face of an innocent citizen named Maniram (one name only). I will never forget that look. I will never forget many things in the abuse of power. Maniram knew nothing about politics. Mark Benschop and I simply stopped him on the road and rented his truck to transport two dozen school children from Patentia to Georgetown to protest the police killing of their school colleague.
After they arrested him and placed three charges on him, he was dazed when the police told him that the truck cannot leave. I thought he would have fainted when we could not get an explanation as to why after bail was posted his Canter truck was confiscated by the police.
Maniram pleaded that his vehicle was the only source of employment. The expression on the face of his wife and daughter told the story of naked power. But everything has an end. As the theme song for “Last Tango in Paris” instructs us, we are nothing but shadow and mist.
I know the Minister who instructed the police to deny Maniram. One day he will go and he will become shadow and mist. He doesn’t think so but we are all shadows who strut and fret our hour on stage and then we are gone.
The story of unbridled power under Mr. Jagdeo has left an emotion in us that calls for justice. The obvious question is what is going through the mind of Mr. Jagdeo and his untouchables. And there were plenty of untouchables. They include those bold enough to assault a GECOM official in a polling station on November 28 last.
Those on the list include the conspirators who threw a miasmic, stink substance on me last year May. On that list are those who marched into a UG Council meeting and humiliated the institution’s Vice Chancellor and Chancellor demanding the instantaneous dismissal of this lecturer and others in the middle of the University’s semester. These little gods have run rampant over this country.
Their subjects were the population of Guyana. And their blank cheque came from a man who called me a man-kisser and a book thief then turned around and sued me for libel for referring to him as an ideological racist. But that was not the end of the display of incredible arrogance. He labeled my lawyer, Mr. Nigel Hughes a racist. Simply put, he was telling this nation, “I will sue any citizen that calls me a racist and I am protected by the Constitution if I in turn name you as a racist.”
There isn’t a reader familiar with my columns over the past twelve years when the Leviathan (or in the words of Khemraj Ramjattan, the Sultan) dominated Guyana who would think that I would analyse the nature of the use of power under Bharrat Jagdeo after November 28. Fate has been kind to me. The results of the November 28 general elections have created space for me.
The people I know, some of whom are good friends, are in the majority in Parliament. I will ask them to investigate the little gods who think that power is permanent. These little gods must know that in the end, they were just shadow and mist.
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