Mar 29, 2020 Editorial
The lines that link us together across 83,000 square miles, and the widely scattered Guyanese diaspora, are open, inclusive of paper, screen, wires, and that sometimes secret society of cyberspace called social media. They are not jammed just yet, but the traffic – some spirited and well-intentioned, some malicious and vicious – flows back and forth with passion and power.
In aggregate, this is the saga of Guyana, some would say our comic and tragic opera, that could bring to tears. It certainly has brought us to our knees.
Many Guyanese have stepped out from the shadows to claim that their facts and figures possess exclusive rights to truth and accuracy. Similarly, their competitors in this life and death struggle for the future of this country seize and arrogate onto themselves the same monopoly on truth. The road has been well-travelled back and forth, with deeper craters of rancour created. None is giving an inch, not coalition, not opposition, with both asserting that they have it right, be such about procedure or count or result.
The clashing is savaging and revealing, as it has been overpowering and diminishing. We are still in the same place. It could be argued a worse place, than when we embarked upon this so-called democratic process, this hard, tempestuous challenge, labeled Elections 2020. This most tempestuous test of our current times – indeed, of any time in our pre- and post- independence existence – can now be best described as well within the range of the cataclysmic. It is uninterruptedly degrading, severely dispiriting, most embarrassing. It is not for the faint of heart nor shrinking violets.
Yet we persist, and insist on persisting, to call out what has ill-served, failed most glaringly, most ignominiously, and leaves the great majority of our Guyanese brethren clueless and hopeless, despite all the claims and counterclaims about what is accurate. Though matters have percolated around the constitutional, legal, and numerical, they are of far more than that: they are about what is right and buttressed and justified by the materials at hand. They should be, since such is infallible and inarguable, and not prone to collapse before any clever Machiavellian assaults. But we, as Guyanese, cannot bring ourselves to get there, we don’t have it in us anymore to be honest and principled, even to be practical. And so an entire society limps along on one collapsing foot.
Amidst the thick overhang of confrontational circumstances that distress, we grope for a silver lining. We grasp for a few rays, any of those forlorn specks of light that could succeed in taking us body and soul, mentally and emotionally, sensibly and constructively, to another pathway.
We, at this publication, with societal existence foremost in mind, can only think of, and press for, a possibly higher and cleaner ground that just holds some probability, no matter how limited, that offers a way out of our terminal troubles.
If only for what is rational and wise, for some different kind of future, it has to be one which is less weighed down by the decades-long accumulation of the garbage that is now so undeniably characteristic of Guyana, and is Guyana in its essence.
Our leaders insist that they, and they alone, can take us forward; it is to more of what has failed. With leaders like these, what prospects? With believers and supporters such as these, what but victory by any means necessary? Ours is not an arithmetical or democratic issue, it is a matter of absolute control. It does not work, just can’t.
Look and listen: outside racial tornadoes batter all within earshot, a few – a handful only – voices have seeped into the mainstream of consciousness. Those voices. and the positions and visions they tender, struggle to gain the traction of just listening, of gathering a little understanding to move on, to conquer what waits together. But citizens have to conquer their own demons first, those same demons that buffet hourly, and wound repeatedly.
There are appeals, the strongest of convictions that identify our system, as it has existed, as self-defeating. It is poor for the greatest number in this ferocious, most fragile of societies. The sensible postures from a small band of conscientious citizens is that we have to work diligently together to carve out a different journey towards a different destiny. There is only rejecting, since there is no reasoning.
There is nothing profound about those public positions of the few patriots, who still inhabit this country. It is not profound, simply the highest and deepest commonsense. It is that together must be the reality. Half of a head and half of energies will get nowhere, other than further down. The national spectacle is also its national truth.
Truth, however, is not a sacred specie in this society, for even the local spiritual realm has been infected with the lethal falsehoods that sabotage the way ahead. When the supposedly godly and their places can exhibit subtly the reciprocal bigotries, then there is little left to be said as to the immense, near insurmountable plights of a land tearing itself apart.
There is no safe harbour, no sanctuary. It is clear that the great binding religious tenets about brotherhood, harmony, and fellowship have all shrunk from the altar of what is right. Truth and right are all too easily sacrificed in the worship of political gods followed blindly. The binding, guiding force of our pious, the old centre of sanity, is just not there, not nurtured.
It is why we at this newspaper welcome what we hear of stirrings that speak of a new model needed, a separate trail to be blazed, a possibly higher ground to be struggled for and reached. One of the great foundation cornerstones of democracy is the art of compromise. It is a powerfully denounced art in this country. It has to be discovered somehow, refined, and put to work. Wherever it leads cannot be worse than what and where we are today.
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