Oct 19, 2021 Editorial
Kaieteur News – General Colin Powell is gone at 84. He is felled not by battles waged by man against man, but scythed down by a foe even more insidious, a power invisible and elusive and still so destructively potent. It takes a lot, something like this stealth operator called coronavirus, to lay low and usher the likes of a Colin Powell to his last muster and parade review.
Colin Powell of Jamaica was close enough to be considered one of our own. His successes are our successes, and they are of a man, who rose against the odds, and despite the handicaps of his colour, the barriers of his time, the steeliness of human adversaries. Colin Powell, as one from a minority group, made us all proud, and that is regardless of our ethnicity. When he rose, he carried us with him, on his broad shoulders, this wild man from the islands (in the initial regard of his father-in-law to be). He was that good, that strong, that determined, be it in marriage, in the army, in life itself.
Colin ‘Gen Maximum Force’ Powell scaled heights not too long ago out of the reach of people like him, and us. Whether in the ranks of the United States Army, the fields of valour, or at the top of the command structure. And this man from the hardscrabble Harlem, by way of heritage Jamaica (not Queens, but the West Indies), who may have made it to the White House, if ever he had made that his last campaign. Time and again, and in just about every endeavour, General Powell left an illustrious record that will gleam ever more brightly in his passing. Although he never threw his hat in the ring for that last push to the White House, he was what the Romans of old would have called primus inter pares. Indeed, he was an eagle, first among equals.
Battlefield bullets and bombs could not kill him, but the unerring laser speck of an airborne viral missile took him out for this final count. There are lessons for us Guyanese, fellow travellers on this pale from identification with and brotherhood of this storied region. His career, his striving, his ascendancy, the glowing record of his life itself, all speak for him, and need no helping hand from anyone.
What a role model! A man who was never content to be second best, to be less than the maximum of his potential. There is much learning for us Guyanese from the trail he blazed in America and beyond; this was a man to be respected. When our fellow citizens and leaders in this country contemplate the rich endowments heaped upon this land, we should think of General Colin Powell, who did not permit anyone to patronise him, to paternalise him, to condescend to him to his face. As we deal with our newfound oil wealth, let us remember the life lessons of Colin Powell that he passed down to us. They are there for the taking, and if we decide that they are not worth our while, then it is our loss, which we will regret at some time. We must know what we want, who we are, what we represent, and let no man, no power, put us down for those, or stand in our way. And because of his unquestioned integrity, he always stood head and shoulders above his time and peers. There is a priceless lesson from that, too, and especially for our leaders right here, so shaky in the departments of integrity and what is honourable.
He was not the kind of man to settle for that, his stomach and heart were not made that way. When backbone was in high demand, but scarce, there was Colin Powell. He stood up to the arrayed powers in the rabid Vulcan cabal, and got scorched for his troubles. It took a global viral power to knock him down for the count. Guyanese have another lesson waiting there for us: understand the reach of this conquering virus. Colin Powell was a man for many seasons, and in this the season of his passing and rest, may he rest easy and sweetly.
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