Kaieteur News – “Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn and cauldron bubble.” Those were some of the words of the witches in Macbeth as they prepared their fiery brew for Macbeth to satisfy his lust for power. Macbeth’s witches have had a long life in Guyana.
They met as a group in October 1992 and decided that Macbeth must stay in power. They continued to mix their brew way into the 21st century, cooking their soup for four years in Buxton (actually real soup was cooked in Georgetown and sent up to the gunmen in Buxton), the dynamics of power intoxication were dissolved, only to appear once again in West Berbice in September, 2020
Volda Lawrence confronted Macbeth’s witches last week and has murdered them in self-defence. The question is: could the women return? The women are not of this world and are unlikely to stay dead given their supernatural being. But the witches could only have survived once Macbeth was around lusting for power.
Macbeth lost the fight for power on July 31, 2020 on High Street, Kingston, at the Court of Appeal but he survived to fight another day, until Volda went up to Region Five and confronted the witches who were keeping Macbeth alive. No one in this country knows if Volda has in fact killed off the witches and no one knows if Macbeth has actually died.
Let’s trace the witches’ cooking, beginning in October 1992. After Jimmy Carter’s quick count showed the PPP had won the 1992 election, the women lit their pot. It did not help Macbeth. The year 1997 saw the witches in action again. The brew did not put Macbeth in power. The women stirred their pot again in 2001. This time they moved from Georgetown to Buxton.
The pot boiled and boiled and boiled for four years – 2002-2005 in Buxton but Macbeth did not get his throne. In March 2020, Macbeth summoned the witches with one last fiery exhortation – the brew has been a failure since 1992, another recipe has to work. The world left the witches and their hero behind. But that was not the last of the unholy alliance between supernatural invocation and power intoxication. Macbeth and the witches were at it again in West Berbice in September 2020. Volda went up there and the witches ran away. Volda was not content to let them hibernate. She met them head on last week.
Last week’s speech, on the 64th anniversary of the PNC, by Volda contained these words: “I wish to affirm today that it is clear that political confrontation would lead us nowhere.” Volda was referring to the work of the witches which in Guyanese parlance is known as “mo fyaah/slo fyaah.”
Has Volda brought down the curtain on mo fyaah/slo fyaah? Changing dynamics would suggest so. Here are some of those dynamics at play. The year 1997 was 23 years ago. It was in that year, reeling from the loss of power in the 1992 election, the PNC birthed mo fyaah/slo fyaah. It claimed the 1997 election was not free and fair.
Substantial numbers of youths who are 23 years of age do not know about mo fyaah/slo fyaah. There is no symbol from that era in the PNC’s biology today that can galvanise them to yearn for mo fyaah/slo fyaah. Secondly, 23 years ago, Guyana didn’t have social media.
The youths of today use social media to see live action on the roadways. They don’t see the need to be part of the action when they could lie in their beds and see the protests. Social media has drastically cut down the number of people who would have been on the streets 23 years ago.
Thirdly, from 1997, PNC supporters only knew one government – the PPP. Opposition leaders thus manipulated the minds of their supporters urging them to stop the PPP from having “forever power.” But the equation changed profoundly after 2015. The PNC acquired state power. The PNC has to use other slogans because “forever power” has lost its sting.
Fourthly, the PNC leaders can no longer pack Georgetown or elsewhere with hundreds of agitators. African Guyanese know that they were lied to about the 2020 March election. The Cotton Tree riots last year was different because two youths were killed. The PNC led street protest against the COVID-19 vaccine, the Teachers’ Union’s protest and strike, and the “shut down Georgetown” march were all ignominious failures. There was no outpouring of anger after the leaders of those agitations were arrested. Volda Lawrence is no genius but she is also no fool. She knows that the era of mo fyaah/sloi fyaah is dead and gone.
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