Anyone that monitors world affairs will tell you that there is a crescendo of hate against non-white people in countries where the population is
predominantly of the Caucasian race. In the 21st century, the crudities and cruelties of racism are more pronounced than before.
In the midst of this raging anthropological sadism, a Guyanese of all people wrote a disturbing and condescending analysis of foreigners coming to take away Guyanese wealth. What shocked me was the style and shape of the language (see my column, Tuesday, April 9, 2019, “Is Lincoln Lewis the Black version of White fascism?”) of Lincoln, a friend of mine and important to note, a trade unionist. I was appalled at the semantics, because they were straight out of the songbook of the deadly white racist leaders that have taken over in so many important countries.
Here are Lewis’s words; “We are a small nation in population size and the only English-speaking country in South America. Unplanned immigration brings with it consequences such as stress on the education and health services, housing overrun, the creation of slums, and our resources exploited by others willing to undersell their labour. We also face a crisis of submerging our culture further. This threat comes from others who do not speak our language and share a common culture… we also face a crisis of submerging our culture… we are facing a pending catastrophe which we must seek to avoid at all cost.”
The TUC general-secretary went on to say that these foreigners are coming at a time when “we are on the cusp of economic greatness.” Lewis’s outburst should be analysed in terms of philosophy not politics in Guyana. Humans are flawed creatures that rely on jingoism, patriotism and nationalism, to preserve what they think is their superiority over other types of humans. You would never believe those words would come from a prominent public figure in one of the poorest countries in the world. But that is not the shocking part. Here are the terrible dimensions to Lewis’s xenophobia.
First, the last person to speak those words should be a Guyanese. If you use the logics of Lewis, Guyanese have gone abroad in hundreds of thousands and have taken the economic greatness of other nations. Using Lewis’s logics, these countries should stop Guyanese from coming to their lands.
Here is the evidence of Guyanese usurping the space of the citizens of other countries.
The World Bank published that 82 percent of the holders of tertiary education in Guyana permanently migrate. Do they take jobs from Canadians and Americans?
In every major sector in Guyana (business, politics, the professionals), the top layers have their families abroad. You just select the names of a prominent business family or the name of a top professional in any area – law, accountancy, engineering, medicine, academia, science – the family lives abroad and the children are citizens of the countries they reside in.
Do Guyanese know that Mr. Lewis’s wife who likes to write and criticise me, has been living in the US for decades now?
The second dimension relates to migration figures. About 5,000 families leave these shores every year. Are they going to take the economic greatness of their adopted lands? Lewis’s argument that Guyana is small and poor is untenable. Only 14 percent of the land mass of Canada is habitable (Google it) and they have 37 million souls to look after. Why is Canada letting Guyanese go and take Canada’s economic greatness?
Guyanese are pouring into the US. Large numbers have not returned after obtaining visitors’ visas. The US has a large population with 327 million citizens to look after. Why are Guyanese going to take the economic greatness of the US?
The third dimension is the total silence that has greeted Lewis’s xenophobic exclamations shows you what an ungrateful, inhuman people Guyanese are.
Once Lewis echoed those unphilosophical sentiments, there should have been countless Guyanese denouncing him, because countless Guyanese are enjoying the economic greatness of other nations. Little Antigua, Barbados, Trinidad, Cayenne, Suriname, are hosts to huge numbers of legal and illegal Guyanese.
The human condition is a miserable one. But civilization has survived because humans have rejected Hobbesian life and have endeavoured to love and help others not of their same culture. Martin Heidegger, the profound, existentialist German thinker wrote that our journey is essentially a time bound one, in which we can discover our being and use that being to discover the meaning of our essential purposes.
Out of our discovery of the meaning of being, we discover others. Sartre says there is no god; we are our own god and we must act as God. In other words, help others.
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