This week marked the death anniversary of Courtney Crum-wing. To be precise, it was on Thursday. I do not have membership in any political party. I do not belong to any political party so I could not have made a request to any of the three main political parties – PNC, AFC, WPA – to hold an anniversary event. I hold membership in one organization only, of which I am a founding member. It is named 1823 Coalition for Parade Ground.
This entity’s main existence revolves around the advocacy of the Parade Ground to be landscaped to hold a monument to honour the slaves who rebelled in that year. Many of them were hanged on Parade Ground. This group should have held a day of activities for Courtney. Is it too late? Can my group still do it? Can the PNC or the AFC or WPA do it? Can ACDA do it?
It should be done. It will need days of preparation so next week it can be held. I don’t have a design for the shape of the event but I would not be comforted with a symposium. That is too banal and we have seen too many such formats. The event lasts for two hours. Speaker after speaker delivers. Then there is a period for questioning. Haven’t we seen such a format too many times the past umpteen years?
Some suggestions I have include the selection of a high school and senior leaders of the PNC, AFC, WPA, ACDA, to address those students on the need to fight for democracy as an ongoing project in life; the holding of an outdoor concert where political poetry and political songs are rendered; a whole day vigil moving around the city, especially the Stabroek Market Square.
Whatever the format, there must be a day of activities on this the first year anniversary of the assassination of Courtney Crum-Ewing. I just felt numb inside when the news was broken to me that he was shot dead. But it is the image of his dead body that will haunt me for the rest of my life
He was lying dead on the road with his bullhorn right next to him. That was painful. That was hard to take; that was very hurting. His weapon was next to his lifeless body; the weapon of a loud speaker. The message was so graphic – tyrannical men fear the spoken and written word more than the sword. I do not think Courtney’s death would have penetrated my psyche so much if he was murdered through a conspiracy to run him off the road, or a lash to the body or attack by a gang.
There would have been the usual outpouring of rage but it is my deep belief that the murder in the circumstances of Courtney using his voice to send a message of consciousness to the people of his country is an unbearable image
To see that photograph of an activist shot dead on the street and knowing it could have been you because you faced so many instances of vicious attacks yourself, is something that will remain with you for the rest of your life. One can say that many of us were saved by the bell.
The people who conspired to assassinate Courtney lost power months after Courtney was gunned down. We were saved in the nick of time. I honestly cling to the opinion most inflexible that the PPP returned to power, many of us would have joined Courtney in the castle of death.
My mind goes towards Glenn Lall. I would contend most vehemently that if there wasn’t the kind of election results we got in May 2015; Glenn Lall would have been selected for physical elimination. Other names I figure that would have been on the list were those in the AFC who because of their appeal to East Indians would have enraged the tyrannical leaders who would have been re-elected. When one really looks at it, many of us were saved just in time
I shudder to contemplate the level of state violence that would have gripped this country if the PPP did not lose power. Think of how frightening it was in the period in which Courtney lost his life. This man had no long, sustained political praxis. He rose to national admiration for a month-long one-man picket against Anil Nandlall’s office at the Attorney-General’s Ministry.
Yet he was so viciously murdered. What would have become of the fiercest critics and activists? Rest in peace Courtney? I was ashamed to be Guyanese on the day they took your life away.
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