There are a few patriotic Guyanese for whom national harmony is something worthwhile to work for, something to be achieved. Regrettably, there are many in our midst who pay lip service to that vision and ideal, or who could care less about such, other than going through the motions. The few patriots should continue to appeal to and seek to inspire many, the bigots and dividers should be distanced from and blanked out of existence.
In today’s Guyana, this is no more than wishful thinking. And as much as we fully support one agency’s efforts in this direction, “ERC pushes for national harmony during elections impasse, COVID-19” (KN May 16) we have to be honest with ourselves. Wise and realistic truths come rushing, and in total, they represent the social, racial, and environmental steeliness in this society and in the hearts of our fellow Guyanese. One such discerning saying is: water on a duck’s back. Another would be: certain to fall on rocky ground. And still another: hard heads, harder ears, the hardest of hearts.
Put differently, very few Guyanese have the time, the interest, the care, for national harmony at this time. As much as some try, they cannot conceal the impatience with and distaste for such a call, and at those who utter them, no matter how genuine or well-intentioned. At this time, no; at other times, there is the sweeping hypocrisy of: all of us are one. Pardon us for being skeptical: really! Since when? And by whose hands and with which hearts firmly affixed to such drive for the national unity of: all of us are one?
We really like this call for national harmony by the ERC, but we could have told it to save the thought, save the energy and focus on something with more of a chance to be given a hearing, to have the opportunity and hospitality that facilitates taking root, then possibly growing. Because national harmony has no chance at this time, certainly not in this most hateful and punishing of times.
The irony is that Guyana needs national harmony more than anything else at present as it confront selections and coronavirus, if only to empower it to rise above its divisive feebleness, its lost state. But try tabling anything relative to national harmony and there arises the high and very palpable risk of running into serious peril. Divided and consumed Guyanese in the huddled encampments of their broad segments would stone such messengers: not now, not to us. Speak to them since they are responsible. It is always the other man, the other group.
There is the insoluble and unmanageable problem, an intolerable one. Whatever the glosses put on outside of elections seasons, the behaviours now ingrained in both tribes in elections of 2020 have totally wiped out of existence any consideration or visions about national harmony. The naked animosities and raw prejudices of warring Guyanese are the elements that are no longer even skin deep, they are bare and brutal in the glare of the bigotries and hatreds that dominate discourse, populate our pathways, and deposit us amid the settled sediments of the deepest racial gutters.
We are hurting but we do not care. We are struggling yet we refuse to lift a single finger to salvage our pathetic selves. Truth be told, Guyanese like where they are in this disconnected and debilitating state that leaves us impotent and prostrate. An existential virus is very much present here, and we shrug with the indifference that flows from some alien wisdom, such is the utter insanity that soaks this land through and through. We could be dying and going down, and all we live for is to maintain fire in the eye against neighbour and stranger.
Calls for national harmony are dead on arrival, most likely long before: no listening, no welcoming, no embracing. We relish turning backs on political foes, now detested lifelong enemies. It is undeniably mutual, and why we say this: before raising hand to pinpoint any other, start out by redirecting that hand and pointing it at oneself.
National harmony has no meaning for Guyanese anymore. It is who we proudly are and where we are.
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