May 05, 2020 Editorial
After almost two centuries of sometimes subservient existing, the hope that springs in the breast of the watching and expecting faithful is that this could be the grand moment of true arriving. It is of anticipating an arrival like no other from before, a long-delayed, long-suppressed shot at taking democratically nodded place, among those who have been at the helm of this state called Guyana. Will it be? Can it legitimately be?
It has been the longest journey of uncounted steps, longer than the nautical miles of ocean that separated from the mists of ancestral communities. The travels of the Guyanese Indian from logie to the legislature look closer, but they have been purposely sabotaged before. Such is the thinking of the few grizzled veterans, who covered the interminable distances from the punishing fields of the estate to the more punishing region of the executive suite.
The reality is that on this Indian Arrival Day, there is absolute necessity of sharing spaces of power with brethren not from the arid Asian subcontinent, but from the killing slavery fields of Africa. They arrived here long before, with unmoving claims of priority endowment by the primogeniture of enslaving plantations. Their past is even more laced with the illustrious, the many histories of sacrifices compelled by shackles and whips, by the haemorrhaging of will and spirit that never fully surrendered or that was ever completely conquered.
These are the clashing, existential truths of arrival after arrival based on time, powered by memories of incomparable sacrifice, afflicted by more fears. Those are the fears from both sides that drive the pistons in the minds of torn and troubled Guyanese Indians and Africans, that make mandatory this sharing of space, this grasping for the levers that lead away from the past, from the chains that continue to cripple.
We look at our brothers, Indians first today, because it is their special day carved out of belated recognition of a tortured past, of the occasional understanding that has been the story of the rest of stories still untold. It has been from there to here, with the essences of the looming challenge best captured in two simple words. They are: to where? There are off to where alone, at the helm, and exclusively so.
There are no easy answers on this day of celebration of Indian Arrival, no ready resolutions at this time of poising before the threshold of so much. For, it is part and parcel of the savaging dichotomy of Guyana that any realized ecstasy of true Indian Arrival would signify the piercing agony of those in the house next door, the car in front, the desk behind. Those so despairing would be an almost equivalent number of African brethren, who are of the irreversible outlook that this process, this ideal, this reality called democracy renders them impotent, dependent, and virtually nonexistent.
Relative to the latter, this vision powers the fears, which now saturate and overpower the peoples of this society, and none more than the large Indo and Afro segments long associated with the few ups and the many descents of this nation. There are only the sharp despondencies that originate from our tight and tightening racial demographics that bring out the worst in both groups. Their low self-esteems and still lower confidence in the other have powered the terrible distrusts, the savaging thrusts that flow so smoothly, now so unthinkingly, in the reciprocal abuses that surface and are hurled.
Not unsurprisingly, on this Indian Arrival Day, the language and passions are inextricably intertwined in disputes and impasses over who is better suited to rule the roost, who has qualified by the weight of numbers still contested and, therefore, should emerge to lead the way forward alone. These arguments pollute any celebrations, the joys that should come from remembrance of sacrifices made and journeys completed are tarnished by a contest that sucks the life out of adversaries and all the rest standing by and watching over.
Even if victory is declared, its thrill is empty, its promise limited, its reality undermined. Some arrival this one is.
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