They tell the sad, savaging story of Guyana once again. There are those pictures and faces of anger, those victims and exhibits of the deep political polarization that went to sharp extremes late last week.
Those pictures and faces and stories cannot be argued with nor minimized, nor can they be pretended to not exist as if nothing of the sort had happened. Because they did happen and it was bad, it is unacceptable, and the far implications should not be papered over or rushed past in feeble attempts to brush away what we are faced with, and that which has taken a stranglehold on our consciousness and our sense of right and wrong.
Children on the way to another day of youthful innocence, of that time of life when the carefree should prevail and usually do. The escapades and disputes are usually over schoolyard friendships ebbing and flowing quixotically, of homework avoided and not delivered again, and of hormones raging and trouble with managing to bring under control. It is the way it should be on the way to and from school.
But by now, we know of the bricks and missiles and whatever else that got out of hand and in the path of those schoolchildren. In a lightning streak, they went from travelling companions and citizens to fearful targets and injured victims. This is the story, the wash and part of the long dark underbelly of our venomous and vicious politics, the vehemence of protests taken too far, too many bricks hurled in too much anger.
It is the story of a young man now a lifeless silhouette on a slab of something in a mortuary. The emerging and contradictory narratives will sort themselves out in some partisan fashion, but this fact is unassailable: that dead young man is not going home, to listen to and absorb the developments on the day of denouncement that dealt him death.
The dirges of loss and mourning will rise from family and community, as he is laid to rest as the latest martyr, regardless of the source of that sure-to-come creation, the incontestable truth is that he is no more. He is the first fatal casualty of this latest war for control, for ascendancy, and for supremacy. It has only just begun, according to any sober and sensible measure. What other prices are in store to be paid by this nation, a nation that lives on its knees and elbows, and allowing itself the space for only the cloudiest of limited visions?
It is a depressing time for a sergeant, corporal, and other members of the Guyana Police Force. Whether in the hospital nursing the pains and traumas of wounds, or in the barracks recounting what rained upon them, those ranks who were in the melees did obtain a closeup that no camera, no coverage, could capture of the raw wrath and the paralyzing perils that suddenly became an inseparable part of police presence and practice late last week. We travel a bad road, one that would only deteriorate, if the greatest of restraints are not employed.
There were the bricks, chops, and gunfire, then the reported sexual menaces and sporadic terrorizing, which cumulatively form the alphabet soup of politics and protest in Guyana, as well as the piercings that accompany both. This cannot be what we want, nor what we are about, no matter the justification for the assemblies and dangerous energies marshaled and unleashed.
For if that is the road that we decide upon and insist upon traversing, then that journey has no return, other than that of one littered with the wreckages of soul and soil that will grace the errors of our ways, our calculations and choices, our coming confrontations and cataclysms.
Last week, from protestors to places to police to passersby provided a stark picture, a miniature of what could be in store if we are not capable of the necessary restraints and discipline. For if it is chaos that is committed to, then that it will be. The forces are arrayed on social media, the not-so-veiled battle cries grow more strident. Think Guyana! Step back Guyana! Start over Guyana! Be wise, be patient, be constructive.
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