Oct 20, 2020 Letters
We are a country of contrasts, and proudly so. For even when those contrasts do us great harm, some still unmeasured, we keep following the same self-destructive paths.
First, there were two women, American women, who both happened to be White. They came here, conquered here. Their legacies will resonate, for good or ill, in Guyana’s annals; they are the faces and histories of what happened; perhaps, what had to be. One was well received and then utterly despised. She is gone now, not much spoken of, but make no mistake, she lingers hauntingly in the byproducts of her determined efforts.
The second is around and highly thought of in Guyanese circles. She, too, is very well received for her contributions in our intimate affairs. Those tell us how we must be, what we must do, and where we must go. Her symphony of mystery and mastery, though it would draw to a close soon enough, is unfinished. As producer and performer, she has delivered what can only be labeled ‘Masterpiece Theater.’ In our country, men rushed to do the bidding of the one gone; in many instances, mostly unknown to them, they still do. As for the one present, that most powerful woman in Guyana, she too gets her way with what is about her charge, her mission. This is happening in a society with a male-dominated culture.
I think I have painted the required canvas now unveiled. The departed one was an avowed Marxist. The one in the midst is the epitome of what is all capitalist. I give to my fellow Guyanese, these two American women, for some two great American White women. I give Messrs. Janet Jagan and Sarah Ann Lynch.
To them, leaders and citizens bow; before them I shiver. I shiver in what one left us; I shiver with what the other brought here and leaves here, even long after she leaves for more productive pastures. I shiver before the implications of her works which will outlive me, maybe outlive even Guyana and its now tattered independence, its once fabled oil dreams. Our forefathers spoke of oil with hope and awe, while always looking ahead; we and our children (theirs, too), will speak of oil, while always looking back at what could have been. This is where I am today, and I do not see this changing materially, given the leaders we have for overseers. I wouldn’t trust them with a dead dog, which they might sell to butcheries for us to consume ignorantly, trustingly, even joyfully.
And where I am, also, in this country of stark contrasts, is the anticlimax of two other women, two Guyanese women, who happen to be Black. If sight and conclusion are off, please pardon. And I regret having to say this: they embody what is anticlimactic, given what came before. These two women are in the same arena. Where our leading men have prostrated themselves before the fair-haired foreign, the two women in the local house have been given the shortest thrift, through being held hostage to the abuses of embarrassments and humiliations heaped for many long years.
Our men run to worship at the altars of foreign women, while forsaking those who stand here, are of here, but do not count in the grand moments, manipulations, and mischiefs of leadership madmen. Our two Guyanese born and bred (so I believe) are not in a position to barter about office and who should lead, to offer intoxicating carrots of power, to make things happen along concealed lines and clandestine operations and objectives. No! these two women have to speak to truth, as beheld sightlessly but wisely by them. Theirs is not rewarded with trumpets. They are of what is right and just, must be. And though they have been, it is not enough. I offer that one about prophets and hometowns. I give my fellow Guyanese, these two women that are our own. I give Justices Roxanne George-Wiltshire and Yonette Cummings-Edwards.
Thus the contrasts of this country, making lesser people of us.
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