The Kaieteur News in its July 11, 2012 edition carried a news item with the photograph of Parvati Persaud-Edwards. It describes the dismissal of the lady from the Chronicle over an editorial she wrote. The editor, Rashid Osman, was suspended. The Chairman, Keith Burrows, apologised.
The commentary made two emphatic points. One is that African Guyanese youths are socialised into hating Indians that is why they have a habit of robbing them. Secondly, these youths have an anti-Indian psyche. I was part of a picket exercise in front of the Chronicle protesting the racist nonsense.
There were two Indians in the picket line – me and Gerhard Ramsaroop. The demonstrators moved to the Square of the Revolution where we burnt copies of the Chronicle. In the group were well-known Afro-Guyanese faces, the very personalities today that defend a racially charged outburst by Amanza Walton-Desir (AWD).
Gerhard has moved on after being badly mistreated by Khemraj Ramjattan. In a forthcoming column, I will do a forthright analysis of how Ramjattan guillotined every Indian in the AFC’s leadership that he saw as a challenge to him. The four are Gerhard, Imran Khan, Dr. Ramaya and Charrandass Persaud.
Of these four, Ramjattan lived in mortal fear of Gerhard. More of that later. Gerhard has migrated to Germany where his mom lives. Times like these, with the rising controversy over what AWD echoed, I wonder what Gerhard is saying. I don’t use social media, don’t use Whatsapp facilities, don’t have a Facebook page, so I have lost communication with Gerhard.
I have known Gerhard since he was a baby. I taught him at UG. I cannot see Gerhard giving succor to the words of AWD. What he would have thought about those who picketed with us against the Chronicle and have now become indecent, immoral and reprehensible with their embrace of AWD?
Would he feel the way I did in March 2020 and currently feel? Would he accept that Indians like us thought that we were fighting for multi-racial democracy and our African colleagues were potently multi-racial as us? My feeling is that Gerhard is gone forever. I don’t think he ever came back since he left and I don’t think he will ever live in Guyana again.
I don’t know if he reads the online Guyanese newspapers but I doubt he would offer a reaction to the way his former African Guyanese colleagues have descended into open, shameless tribalist politics. What would Gerhard say about someone like Eusi Kwayana?
The more the race card is played, the deeper runs the angst in some of us who thought that the people who schooled us in social activism and who helped to shape our democratic outlook and who we fought with in the trenches were genuinely multi-racial in essence and substance.
From time immemorial, there was the saying, “blessing in disguise.” Something comes up, you have your suspicion about it but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Not even for a fraction of a moment would I say I do not feel a sense of philosophical richness over the five-month election disaster.
I am in an advanced age and what that five-month period taught me, I deeply value that knowledge. Had there not been the election drama, I would never have stopped admiring certain iconic Guyanese who fashioned my thoughts long ago into accepting the oneness of the Guyanese people.
I would never have known two things. One is that race instincts drove their essential make-up. The other is that deep down they were narrow-minded, banal souls, driven by profound self-interest and devoid of the priceless values that make humans different from the jungle of animals.
I am glad, happy and grateful that the 2020 March election ran into a cul-de-sac from which it had to be extricated. I learnt about people whose true nature I would never have seen on my existence on earth.
When Afro-Guyanese began to violently attack Indians in September last year in Region Five after David Granger and Joseph Harmon spoke inciting words to them, I experienced another moment of revelation. There was silence from these icons whom I could not imagine would support and encourage race war.
Here now for the first time I will say a few words about the family of Walter Rodney that are of a disappointing nature. In those terrible moments in September when Indians were being attacked because an authoritarian party lost the general election, I thought the family would have issued words of enlightenment to the Guyanese people. But the family chose to remain silent. Those words like those of Volda Lawrence would have been precious and comforting.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.)
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