Jan 03, 2021 Letters
Permit a response to Vishnu Bisram’s letter, “Lewis errs, Freddie very anti-colonial” (KN 1st January 2021). This man’s insertion into the exchange not only exposes his inability to tackle the issues adumbrated in my letter, “Kissoon has earned his place as a key contributor to the recolonisation of Guyana” (KN 30th December 2020), but his penchant for exposing who he truly is, an agent provocateur. I stand by every statement in the instant letter, which he failed to rebut but used as an excuse to insert himself in furtherance of his typical wild assertions.
The Lincoln Lewis of the 1980s and 1990s is the same Lincoln Lewis in the 2000s. I remain true to the universally acceptable principles, which I hold sacred. For some, I was progressive when I fought for workers during the administrations of the PNC, but in taking identical positions on behalf of workers during the administrations of the PPP, I am no longer progressive but racist. When I stood up against the David Granger-Moses Nagamootoo government on issues such as GuySuCo and in areas where I disagreed with their policy positions, those who considered me racist during the PPP found me a good Black man or progressive.
I have an unchallenged record standing up for the working class across race, creed and geographic space. Nobody has to solicit me to speak on issues that adversely impact workers. What years of experience in the struggle has done for me is made me sharper and more intolerant with injustices. The struggles of my forebears and those who shoulders I stand on, and their achievements, which are enshrined in laws, universal declarations and international conventions, in the 21st century Guyana should not be a nation of pervasive racial, political and social injustice. Given my years of fighting to uphold and deepen the tenets for a just and fair society, I have earned my stripe to be intolerant, including with those who fought alongside me or supported me, but now find it convenient to be silent or excuse injustices either because they stand to gain personally or those in office look like them.
Frankly, I don’t care how the Bisrams of this world see me because I don’t represent them or facilitate their agenda. I am encouraged to hear that he does not admire me because were he to, I would typify what he represents, i.e., racial superiority and distortion of history. This is the same man who felt obliged to deny the contributions of U.S Vice-President elect Kamala Harris’ African (Black) lineage by pretending that she is who she is today in large part because of her mother, who is of East Indian (South Asian) ancestry. Harris was sired and nurtured by both parents, and her brains and value systems shaped by both, but Bisram has a problem identifying the Black side of her and sought to take it away. Refer to his letter, “It was Kamala Harris’ mother, not her father” (SN 27th August 2020).
This is a man who ignores the fact that whereas Harris may presently have an estranged relationship with her Black Jamaican father, she is part of him, and it is public knowledge that he played a pivotal role in her life. He seeks to downplay her blackness even as she entered the presidential race proclaiming same and ran for elected offices promoting that aspect of her heritage. Harris has never denied her mixed-race identity, though at times, she seems more inclined to play up her blackness and Jamaican roots.
This is Bisram, he who seeks to discuss issues on race and hate but doesn’t have the common decency to acknowledge glaring facts. He brings no integrity to conversations on race and racial justice. He masquerades as an academic to discuss these issues, hoping he can camouflage his promotion of racial disrespect and denying the contributions of non-Indians to the development of people and society. He doesn’t fool me.
I am a Black man. I make no apology for my blackness or speaking with pride to the contributions of my people to the development of this nation. Neither do I make any apology for speaking out in defence of my race when the group is under attack or their rights threatened by any in society, regardless of who the aggressor is. It is a similar stance, which I took when others sought to deprive the heirs of Cudjoe McPherson (my ancestor) to lands that they do not own and remain in the name of this great forebear. I make no apology standing strong on these principles. On these issues gender, race or power does not propel me but what is right and wrong. I aggressively defend my turf and rights as I similarly do for those who I represent.
Having made my position noticeably clear, Bisram is being called on to provide the evidence to his claim, “workers he spoke with say Lewis should take positions like that of his predecessor Joseph Pollydore and be supportive of what is right not what favours his race.” Let this academic, who is not unaware of the importance of providing evidence to buttress his claim, highlight for this nation one instance, where I as a trade unionist took a position against any worker in this society that transgresses his/her rights or violates the laws that protect those rights and freedoms. Let him provide the evidence. If he fails to (which he would), it reinforces the manner of man he is- a malicious agent provocateur.
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