Thirty years ago, as a columnist replying to Harry Hergash, who ran away from his country almost fifty years ago, I would have done a Ryan Crawford on Hergash and give myself that infamous middle name, “effing.” Thirty years ago is a long time, one naturally mellows.
In replying to my rejection of $800G as prize money, Hergash uses my column to do some ego-tripping – telling us what he has done for UG since he left Guyana in the mid seventies. That is to be expected. People reply to commentators to get their five minutes of fame by extolling their non-achievements and fictional virtues. One does not and should not pay attention to such psychological frivolities.
What gets me angry with some folks in the diaspora is that they luxuriate in the economic feast of some of the world’s developed countries where they have taken citizenship and have the temerity to criticize those who love Guyana, stayed, endured and contributed while suffering.
Let’s quote Hergash; “It is noteworthy that the UG has produced two Presidents, a Prime Minister, and several Government Ministers, in addition to several UG lecturers/professors including Mr Kissoon, as well as legal and medical practitioners, all living in Guyana, yet they have been unable to do what ten lowly UG alumni and their spouses in Toronto have done.” This is abysmal ignorance and Hergash can get away with it because he knows in a dystopian society that Guyana has become no one will confront his nonsense.
Those persons he cynically referred to above keep UG alive because we live in our country and the totality of our production keeps Guyana and by extension UG alive. We pay taxes that go to sustaining UG. We send our children to UG. President Granger’s two daughters went to UG. President Ramotar’s three children went to UG. One of Moses Nagamootoo’s daughters went to UG. My daughter went to UG. That is just a part of our contribution to our country that we chose to live in.
Hergash has the temerity to tell us that he left Guyana in the mid seventies. If he does competent research he would know that Guyana had the most robust economy in the British West Indies in the mid-seventies therefore there was no reason to migrate. In the mid seventies, UG was on par with UWI and was attracting more internationally known professors than UWI. I know that because in the mid seventies at UG, I was taught by such people.
Let’s quote Hergash again; “We are…expatriates in a foreign land who have had to struggle in difficult circumstances for our livelihood. When we arrived in Canada during the mid to late 1970s, we were basically penniless.”
Why would someone leave Guyana in the mid seventies when foreign exchange earnings were the highest in the history of the country to be penniless in another country?
Here is more nonsense from Hergash; “Now Mr Kissoon, you have been a UG lecturer and a columnist for several years, living a good middle class life in Guyana” Anyone from another planet reading this idiocy would not know that the Guyana Hergash is referring to is my country that I have never left.
After the mid-seventies when Hergash ran, I pursued studies abroad and came back home with my wife. My home is my country, my country is my home. I have no other passport than a Guyanese one; so do my wife and daughter. My question to Hergash is simple – come back to your country and live a middle class life like me because after all it is home, the land that gave us birth and educated us.
Hergash asks me the following question, and I quote; “What financial contribution have you made to the UG where you studied for free and later pursued post graduate studies on scholarship in Canada? I went to UG when it was not free. In my last year, it was free and students had to do compulsory national service in lieu of fees. Mr. Hergash should be walking on the soil of his country and smell the fresh air.
To answer the question on my financial contribution to UG, let me say to Hergash and his colleagues in his organization, none of them in a million years could match what some of us have contributed to UG working there for over 25 years respectively.
The contributions and sacrifice, Hergash and his acolytes would and could never match. Finally, I was never in receipt of any state or private scholarship from Guyana. I got a scholarship from McMaster University and one from the University of Toronto.
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