– over ‘racist’ editorial
The Working People’s Alliance (WPA) has called for a boycott of the state-owned Guyana Chronicle over a recent editorial which alleged that African Guyanese youths were socialized by the opposition to be violent and racist towards Indian Guyanese.
The party condemned the suggestion of the editorial, saying that the highlighting of the fears of one group while indicting the other group is the worst form of racial incitement.
The editorial, titled “opposition rampages to sow disunity in the country” was published on July 2, last.
“There is no doubt that the Chronicle has forfeited all claims to impartiality and national standing. WPA, therefore, urges the general public to, at the very least, begin a boycott of the paper…Do not buy it,” the WPA urged in a statement.
The editorial claimed that young Black youths are “socialized” by the opposition to rob and murder Indian Guyanese. The editorial concluded that “hatred of Indians is ingrained in their psyche.”
The party said that such statements emanate from a racist mindset that has long characterized part of the national discourse on race relations in Guyana.
“The editorial represents both an assault on the dignity of African Guyanese and an insult to the intelligence of Indian Guyanese whose fears it purports to highlight. An editorial that sets out to speak against racial division has ended up doing more damage to the cause of racial unity than any in recent times,” the WPA stated.
The party said it has long acknowledged the fears of both major ethnic groups but said it has always warned against the identification of a guilty race.
“The identification of African Guyanese as the guilty race by the Chronicle, the newspaper of a government that is predominantly representative of Indian Guyanese, has serious consequences for national reconciliation and unity,” the party stated.
The WPA took note of the fact that the editorial utilizes the narrative of the “violent African” to condemn the ongoing protests by the predominantly African Guyanese community of Linden over the electricity hike arbitrarily imposed by the government.
“This is unjust to a community which is merely exercising its constitutional right to protest what it views as government over-reach,” the WPA stated.
The party said that it has over the years become concerned at the ease and frequency with which the Chronicle has allowed its pages to be used as a medium of racial insult, particularly against African Guyanese.
“Since the Chronicle is the official mouthpiece of the government and the defacto mouthpiece of the PPP/C and given the fact that after almost a week neither the governing party nor its government has distanced itself from it, WPA is forced to conclude that the editorial represents the views of the government and ruling party,” the party stated.
“WPA has no choice but to declare its total loss of confidence in the editor, editorial board and official management of the Guyana Chronicle. It is high time the use of the state media as instruments of political and racial abuse comes to an end,” it added.
The WPA has instructed its Parliamentarians to explore ways to have the matter raised in Parliament as one of urgent national concern and to urge the National Assembly to hold a hearing on the entire operations of the Chronicle and other state owned media.
The party has also called upon Indian Guyanese leaders and organizations to speak out on this matter, saying that to remain silent is to condone the public racial lynching of African Guyanese youth in particular.
The WPA also reiterated its call for a national conversation on race and racial reconciliation, which must include the Amerindian community, with the aim of civilizing our public discourse and facilitating an environment and culture of racial respect and a spirit of racial justice.
The WPA said it continues to believe that the realization of a National Government premised on racial and political jointness is an effective way to minimize racial fear and insecurity and usher in a spirit of national consensus.
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