Dec 08, 2011 Letters
Guyanese are caught in an inescapable interconnectedness by virtue of birth and/or the land we mutually occupy.
Therefore, whatever affects one, affects all.
Many held great expectations that November 28th would have seen the dawn of a new era, having lived with a government that flagrantly violated the laws, trampled their rights, was openly abusive and plundered the nation’s resources; and they sought to bring an end to this depravity through the ballot.
That to date some have not accepted the results in light of their quest for authentication of the Statements of Poll to ensure the results are a true representation of the will of the people, is not a matter to be treated with contempt or disregard.
In so far that the desire for better governance and satisfaction with the integrity of the election process have seen public demonstrations, deploring these demonstrations and failing to express concerns for the conditions that created the need for same is in fact seeking to address the situation on a superficial level and failing to come to grips with the cause behind such action.
To say to others they must accept the result because you have accepted same is to deny them their right to information and dissent. To those displeased with the group for exercising their right to freedom of assembly, consistent with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which not only secures this right but also includes freedom of speech and electoral rights, I emphasise that it is unfortunate that such displeasure is not directed to the status quo, who have left the aggrieved with no alternative.
It is unfortunate, too, that a non-violent campaign for justice is not lauded but rather sinister motive injected to cast it in a light for precipitating violence, rather than demand protection be given to the aggrieved/ violated in the exercise of their fundamental rights and insist that those who rob them of these rights or use their just cause to rob or attack others be held accountable and dealt with in accordance with the law.
Trying to secure ‘order’ or ‘normalcy’ in the absence of justice is best articulated by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as a preference for “negative peace which is the absence of tension [as against] a positive peace which is the presence of justice.”
There can be no denying the fact that inequities, injustices and mismanagement engulf the society and where they exist they pose a threat to all, even those who think they are insulated.
The ugly record is widely known and not only revealed in court hearings, media reports, man in the street, the struggles of workers, Auditor General and International Reports, pervasive lawlessness, phantom squads, high unemployment, domestic and child abuse, racial discrimination, attacks on independent media, pervasive poverty, victimized communities, the questionable new rich, to name some.
Citizens are aware that a government elected by the people has broken its contract to respect, serve and protect the people. From previous experiences the people have been the victims of broken contracts, hopes shattered, and cajoled to accept their condition as ‘democracy.’
It is being ignored that human nature has a limit to how far they will be tested, denied or violated. That such human depravity has given rise to a mutuality of direct action to right these wrongs through non-violence is laudable.
Some wonder “Why demonstrate? Shouldn’t you go to parliament and push your agenda with the combined opposition single-seat majority?” And indeed, judging from the uttering of the group, they desire this, but in order to ensure it, their non-violent action creates awareness and necessary unease where a society that has ignored their concerns over the years is once again forced to confront them. For their actions bring to the fore the issues that can no longer be ignored.
And yet in spite of this, others will say the sworn in president said cast aside our partisan cloaks and put on national garb, and he will use his office to work steadfastly towards the goal of making Guyana a better place for all “with peace and unity” as his guiding theme. But persons recall that he was the leader of the party for 14 years, admitted the party’s policies guide the government’s action and campaigned on a promise to continue the policies of his predecessor.
Some also recall the 1992 promise of “no recrimination, no discrimination” only to see this contract with the people broken within one month. The records give credence/ legitimate fear the status quo will be maintained.
Rights and the rule of law are the cornerstone of democracy. The right of the business sector to earn a living needs to be guaranteed by asking those responsible to serve and protect to deliver on their mandate in making sure that those bent on breaking the law are held accountable. Similarly, too, the aggrieved are exercising their right and it must be equally guaranteed, and any bent on breaking the law to deny them their just pursuit must be turned over to law enforcement. In keeping with universal principle, the rights of one individual run parallel to the rights of another, and neither must give up theirs in order for the other to enjoy his.
There is something uplifting about non-violent action. The fact that this method is again employed today, and with a large youth presence, is testimony that all is not well and people are taking a stand for what’s rightly theirs. Denying it will further confirm democracy is a farce in our society. Persons have waited too long to ensure their constitutional and inalienable rights are respected – too long to equally enjoy the fruits of this nation as citizens of this nation. The painful truth is freedom is never willingly given by the oppressor it must be demanded by the oppressed.
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