Guyanese at home and abroad keep clamouring for unity among the people, fully understanding only a unified people will take Guyana forward to a brighter future.
The first step to unity is to respect and tolerate one another’s differences, particularly race and political views, since this is a staple of daily politics in Guyana.
Based on Guyana’s political history since independence, bringing about unity by respect and tolerance will be a herculean task. Good on the people who try to reach outside their own group for peace, unity and friendship, they prove it can be done.
There are also haters in society who opposes tolerance, political leaders who survive by divisiveness find these people useful; it guarantees them a base support as is now clear in the USA and also in Guyana. I grew up listening to teachers, political and religious leaders and other influential people telling me not to like others from the other group, but meeting the good people from the other group through school, work, sports and my stint in national service, I realise they told me something wrong. When I ran into the haters, I realised they told me something justified.
However, the choice was mine to make whom I like and whom I did not as per own and experience, not because someone told me. With elections coming soon, the language of divisiveness will be pumped up to a frenzy, but people it is up to you to be respecting of the results, celebrate if your team wins and be gracious if your team loses, while still continuing to fight for your right to good governance regardless who wins. Guyanese should be proud that, with all the racial divisiveness, only a few people have died in the elections process, although nobody should have to die over elections. Kudos to the security forces who made sure post election violence did not get out of hand and the justice system to charge the woman who threw water on the PPP marchers, this is how stupid behaviour should be dealt with.
Guyanese it is up to you to strive for racial political respect and tolerance leading to unity since your leaders will not. Leaders cannot risk losing their base also, they’re afraid of history. Yitzhak Rabin of Israel and Gandhi was killed by one of their own because their policies was tolerant to the outsiders; Mandela lost his wife and political party because he declared after he won the elections, that white South Africans were also his countrymen while others wanted to run them out the country; Hoyte and Jagan reached outside the PNC and PPP to other Guyanese for unity, this gesture however did not change the way Guyanese vote.
So Guyanese, it is up to you to strive for unity through respect and tolerance, be encouraged that there is increasing unity among the diaspora in their respective countries abroad since they have woken up to the harsh reality that their brothers and sisters from Africa and Asia do not consider them fellow citizens and thus alienate them.
The UN now runs a reconciliation programme in the African countries that had civil wars and people from both sides are now coming together and making peace, India and Pakistan had a home and away cricket series and prior to the games the leaders of both countries upped the divisive rhetoric, put the military on standby and, five hundred thousand Indians went to Pakistan and one hundred thousand Pakistanis went to India for games and there was not one incident of violence. In fact, the crowd cheered good performance from players on both teams causing the leaders rethink their divisive strategies. Closer to home, I lived close to Zeeburg WCD, an Indian fishing village a few decades ago was off limits to strangers particularly black people, one of the recent editions of this newspaper showed a photograph with the winning Zeeburg cricket team having half the players being black. So Guyanese respect, tolerance and unity can only come from you, do not follow leaders who will preach divisiveness and do not attack your countrymen over elections, remember you the poor who usually lead the charge always end up with nothing. With the leaders selling or giving away everything in Guyana peace and unity through tolerance and respect is the only thing that can save Guyana’s soul.
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