Sep 01, 2021 Editorial
Kaieteur News – There is something going on that doesn’t attract as much interest as its more honoured and glorified by bigger siblings. The breathless television coverage is not as free flowing and well visited, not as grandly received. Similarly, newspapers share the occasional reports, but they are noticeable for less space and prominence given, still less magnetic in the pull and power that are a compulsory part of the excited action. We speak of what is there, but matters not as much: athletes in fierce rivalries at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.
Whether they win, draw, or come up short, Paralympians are inspiring stories of individual struggle and rising above the hand that fate has dealt. They are of great heroic stories of trial and triumph in the fires of competition; the wonderful results of overachieving against the odds, when it just should not be.
It is sad, but true that these occasions are like planes passing at distant heights overnight. It is the lot of those left behind, except that competing Paralympians, as well as those who did not make the cut, refuse to be left behind. Their circumstances usually incur sympathy, but the last thing that these male and female fighters want is pity from anyone. They are simply not made that way, their inner fires will not be stilled, but burn still more brightly. There is almost arrogant disdain for the downside of life assigned to them by the luck of the draw.
It can be brutal, and there are lessons for us Guyanese, when we quarrel with our limitations, dismal leadership, dreary politics. Our road towards a national destiny, which should be straight and piled high with prosperity, is littered with the carnage of the crookedness of leaders and comrades. We write today, not of potential, but of the rich reality that should be Guyana’s, if only we would struggle hard, and fight ferociously for a better grasp on a place higher up on the ladder of progress and reward. Just like what Paralympians struggle tirelessly for, while managing what they must live with, but never lamenting about where life has left them.
Speak or listen to a Paralympian and, almost without fail, what others would damn as a curse, they embrace as a blessing to be lived with, while making the best of it. We here in Guyana have been given the best of it, yet we are the worse off for what we have got. It is because we lack the spunk to stand up and fight through the horrible challenges that are, sometimes, a part of life. We want others to do it for us, for the rewarding things to be given to us on a platter.
Look at us in this country, and our politics has paralyzed us, our divisions have damned us to a degrading existence. We have a world of treasure, yet our world is a dark one, because we like it so. In the Paralympics, an outstanding breed of men and women will not accept placidly the negatives of their birth, or later circumstances, which would weigh down others. Instead, they find ways to overcome. Such is the unconquerable spirit and will of Paralympians that the ravages of polio and poverty cannot keep them down. The crippling effects of car accidents and birth defects are not given space or chance to dominate them. They rise and shine before an awed world.
When we think of the exploits of Paralympians, we note how much they stand in contrast to, tower over, cowering Guyanese, who are content to deal in lazy guile, rather than the kind of character that our society needs us to manifest, not even when leaders kick us down, make a mockery of us, save for a favoured few. We, the clean-limbed and the bright-minded, are happy to let a few dozen dirty politicians make rings around us, and run us into the ground. We are not handicapped in any way, but carry ourselves, as if we are, when we bow to the dictates of thieving, deceiving leaders. Paralympians run the race of life proudly and powerfully, we Guyanese run away from the challenges of it, and of that we are proud.
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