Kaieteur News – A friend sent me a column in the New York Times (NYT) of May 12, captioned, “Fatigue Is a Luxury You Can’t Afford” by Charles M. Blow. Here is a quote from that commentary which I find relevant to my life as a columnist within the context of how I saw the rigging of the March 2020 election in Guyana. Here is what Mr. Charles Blow wrote, “As columnists, we often test the boundaries. We want to write in provocative ways that inspire readers to think and discuss. But we don’t want to descend into hyperbole or, worse yet, hysteria. As many of our critics are quick to remind us, we often slide right into that abyss. Sometimes they are right. There is no real science or formal methodology to this form of commentary. We write it not only as we see it, but also as we feel it, and our feelings fluctuate. The danger, of course, is the Chicken Little problem:
If you inflate everything into a sky-is-falling panic, what does one write when the sky really does begin to fall? What credibility does one have left among the watchful when the country truly nears the possibility of a political apocalypse? Well, I’m not sure how to answer that. It seems to me that the possibility of destruction came in waves during the Trump administration, with more near misses than the heart could handle.
We are human beings; our panic can’t be permanent. Our minds and bodies simply aren’t meant to sustain it. But here we are again facing another very real threat to our democracy, and it would be a shame if we were so weary of Donald Trump and his supporters’ attacks on the pillars of this country that we dismissed warnings about what it all means, as with all others that preceded it.”
On reading that columnist, if you care about democracy, you had to see the vivid relevance to Guyana in relation to the March disaster. In my exchange with Alfred Bhulai of Transparency Institute Guyana Inc. (TIGI) and the Electoral Reform Group (ERG), on the silence of his two outfits in what went on in March (please see my column of Wednesday, June 2, 2021, “The Electoral Reform Group is a devious organism”), I tried to explain that there had to be ulterior motives for his two organisations and the Guyana Human Rights organisation remaining silent.
Reading the NYT columnist puts one in a position to better judge what went on between March and July last year. I like the following sentence from Mr. Blow, “What credibility does one have left among the watchful when the country truly nears the possibility of a political apocalypse? It seems to me that the possibility of destruction came in waves during the Trump administration.”
We were near the apocalypse between March and July. This is a perspective I believe Mr. Bhulai subscribes to. It would be quite obvious to him that given his age (meaning he saw what rigged elections did to Guyana under President Burnham), he must have seen written large all over Guyana, that once rigged election had succeeded this country would not have survived.
I still reflect, the way Mr. Blow does in his NYT piece, on how so many of us could have remained unconcerned, unmoved about what occurred March – July, 2020. Mr. Blow stated that the possibility of destruction came in waves under Donald Trump. It was the identical process in Guyana.
In 1968, national election was fraudulent. The crooked process repeated itself in 1973. A referendum in 1978 to change the constitution, the brainchild of Prime Minister Forbes Burnham, was massively tampered with which was not a true reflection on how the electorate voted. Rigged elections took place in 1980 and 1985. In 1992, there were violent attempts to stop the first free and fair poll since 1968. The PNC rejected the 1997 and 2001 national elections and created mayhem. In between these disasters, Guyana endured the evil of the Buxton Troubles.
These were waves of destruction. From 2006 when the Buxton mayhem ended, Guyana experienced unprecedented moments of social and psychological stability. There were authoritarian excesses. There were opposition anger but society was normal and people were optimistic.
The wave that destroyed democracy returned in March. When you examine the March 2020 catastrophe within the context of the persistent waves from 1968 to 2006, then there has to be a dangerous and twisted mind that can see Guyana on the brink of collapse between March and July and cynically remain silent. To think that there are civil society groups like that makes you sick.
(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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