Aug 01, 2021 Editorial
Kaieteur News – Emancipation is here, but is it? It should mean not only freedom from physical restraint, but also psychological ones. Guyanese have been free from the yoke for over a half century now, yet they race in haste to get away from this place with so many riches. Though a people have been set free from the enslavement of the human body and mind, those most bestial of crimes that can be committed by man against man, there are those tribal and communal and national slaveries that not just remain deeply ingrained here, but in the totality of the crippling shackling that they instil actually flourishes.
We don’t have to go far into the past, only a mere year ago, to the 19 months before that is focused upon and there is the picture and proof of the slaveries that exist in full flow here. Then, there is leadership slavery, which takes two forms. The first is where parts of a population are committed and helplessly tied to political leaders, on the one hand; and, on the other, of the leaders, who prey upon the fears and vulnerabilities of those same willing segments of a largely unthinking population to dance to their driving whips, to submit to their chains. Those would be the chains that racial and political leaders wrap around the minds of trapped Guyanese, so that they can no longer think straight for themselves and, not satisfied with that inhuman cruelty, leaders then proceed to apply chains in a vice-like grip around the necks of weakened Guyanese, so that they can’t breathe.
This is the kind of emancipation that the overwhelming percentage of Guyanese live with, even welcome. They prefer the oppressions of the masters in their ‘big houses’ which they have made for themselves, off the sweat and backs of toiling Guyanese, always mostly falling short citizens. But in addition to the racial and leadership slaveries that have an irreversible stranglehold on this nation, and with all of their associated social, environmental, and financial ills, there is still another slavery with which the peoples of this country must now contend. It is a new one, which they have failed to grasp, because of the unemancipated state in which they languish, and which make them into objects of utter contempt, ripe for absolute exploitation. That of which we speak is oil slavery.
One massive oil discovery after another has provoked the worst states of mind conceivable in us: who should and should not get the nation’s oil bounties? Who has already tried to rob, or is now planning to rob, of this incredible oil patrimony? And who must be prevented, at all costs and by any means, from getting to the upper level and, hence, the upper hand in the Guyana’s crab-like oil barrel? Alongside the fresh slavery of oil and it’s still unimaginable riches, there follows in lockstep, those raw and rank enslaving racial prejudices that keep us circling each other fearfully and suspiciously, and reaching to do one of two things. That is, grab by the throat and tear out windpipe; or stab in the back, by entertaining the most deep-seated and widespread uncertainties about motives, agendas, and where developments could lead.
So, there was an Abolition Act in Great Britain in 1833 (Earl Grey), an Emancipation Proclamation in America in 1863 (Abraham Lincoln), and the equivalent of emancipation from colonial servitude from the mother country in Guyana in 1966 (Harold Wilson). We should have been better and freer in the years since, but we have not been. Now new enslavers are here, and all because of the newer slavery of oil, and its countless oppressions.
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