Jul 25, 2021 Letters
It is savagely ironic that in today’s Guyana, there are imperious political leaders, who swagger arrogantly, yet who are so pathetically insecure that they are sharply ruffled by anything and anyone that stands against their corruptions, distortions. We had LFS Burnham; today, we have his political spawns, even better successors, in the uppermost reaches of the PPP government. Despite claims to complete confidence and what amounts to unchallenged control, PPP leaders provide powerful evidence of how shaky their confidence is, their psychological frailness, their unfounded paranoias. They work hard to overpower any whiff of disagreement, any found objectionable.
It was my special blessing to live earlier years in the era of Burnham; a time and season strong on despotism. A man part urbane Dr. Jekyll, and part fiendish Pol Pot; he made himself and society go to pot. They say like father, so are political sons, and that is who we have today, only more ominous and absolute in meanness of spirit. That, too, is my rare gift, to return here and spend my later years under the continuing intervals of those Burnham gave birth to, which is the first savage irony. It is the greatest of Guyanese ironies, that the man feared and reviled is reincarnated today in more feared and sinister shape in the current crop of PPP leaders. From beneath the shade of my vine and fig tree, I see the parallels of both a past master of darkness and the present leaders of Guyana’s Machiavellian caprices. I remember one American President, Thomas Jefferson, describing another, Andrew Jackson, as “a dangerous man” so uncontrolled that “he would choke with rage.” We have such leaders today, who are incomparably worse than Burnham.
Despite such leadership absolutisms, I marvel at the irony, that such insecurity resides in the heart of PPP leaders that any one insignificant citizen can cause upheavals in the breast; one media revelation, too. Such timidity fills them, that one letter, one column, one stance, one phrase could provoke sharp agitations and anxieties: what if it spreads? There is such fright controlling the unsteady uncrowned heads in Guyana’s democracy that not one honest objection from one patriotic or conscientious citizen can be tolerated, received thoughtfully. What have our political leaders done, especially in today’s government that they fear so much? What is planned that they rage at any shadow, any dissenting whisper? Where is reception for contrarian views? No matter how unpalatable, once lacking slanderous or malice, why do they dismiss such pistons in democracy’s engine? What monstrous villainy now settles supremely unchallenged here in Guyana? We live with such. I do, but on own terms.
Another savaging irony is that there were loud cries of ‘free and fair’ and now there is fear over any articulations of that same freeness, the responsible expressions of liberty inseparable from democracy. Indeed, the sacred obligation to do so, and without shrinking. Though those in power will have nothing of such, they must manage somehow with what comes. From that there can be neither retreating nor faltering. Let it be. Some cannot be Japanese stone monkeys; that has its own people.
It is still more savagely ironic that, with crime rampant, citizens considered a problem by PPP leaders, and traitorous (racially, politically) are compelled to look over their shoulder. It is not for regular rogues, but for the omnipotent political scoundrels who reign from government heights. Sir Thomas More had that fateful experience with his tyrant, Henry VIII; while Archbishop Becket met his in a cathedral of all places. Such poisons exemplify our leaders here, that they will brook no different evaluation, no contradicting conclusion. They should regroup and reengineer, since some citizens are unchanging. When leadership overreactions disclose oversensitive nerves, the thinking is: for what? Coming close to hidden, forbidden truths?
Editor, whatever the case may be, there remains those Guyanese who will persevere.
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