Aug 01, 2022 Letters
At this hour of emancipation, I extend a greeting, a hand, to my Guyanese brothers and sisters whose people were enchained, and to all others, with a wish that our spirits will forever soar with all the unfettered elements, as well as the intricate essences, of freedom. Freedom to think. Freedom to stand for something. Freedom to be somebody. I think of symbols, and in this time of freedom in the air, I do something unusual by my standards -I mention names. I do so with the best intentions in mind, not a speck of rancor, only the greatest of piercing regrets, though.
We need men and women in this country to be symbols. Bright, beautiful symbols. And I narrow this down today to four men, four sturdy citizens, four luminous brothers who should be in my corner, if only to give me the comfort and pride that I am in good hands, that my confidence is well-placed. I first think of the Hon. Robeson Benn, MP and I say to my brother that there was a chance to stand as a symbol of strength, of passion, in fighting against what our foreign tormentors heap upon this land and its peoples. There was that opportunity, and all I could say is why did that have to be?
I look across at my brother, the Hon. Sanjeev Datadin, MP and a symbol of intellect and the defiance that graces such ought to have been on gleaming display. From much specialised learning, should have come the potency that to the Guyanese people this must not be. Not this exposure. Not this danger. But, alas, it was not to be. There is my younger fellow citizen and also dear younger brother, the Hon. Deodat Indar, MP, and when I expected a symbol of courage under fire, of the fire of youthful energy, there was that which folded tent and retreating before the assaults and advances that lay waste to a prodigal brother like me, and all the better, closer ones out there. If I sound deeply wounded, I am; for now I feel vulnerable, and without shield or sword. It didn’t have to be this way.
Last, there is my other elevated brother, the Hon. Vickram Bharrat, MP, and the anticipation was of a warrior gearing up to give all for Guyanese, born and unborn, and those gone without the emancipations that this wealth of natural resources would have, could have, brought for them. Perhaps. It is on their shoulders I lean forward and peer into this Guyana of today, and the from which I shrink. All four of these brothers ought to have been my champions, our champions, except that they stand across from me, against all of us.
In total, all four should have stood as symbols of coloured pride. Symbols of skill. Symbols of energy and faith. And symbols of defiance. Defiance against the dictates of leaders. Defiance against foreign partners, and those who first ravage us, and then leave us prone to the ravages that could come, just could come. I am sorry that the tongue of the orator, the wit of the eloquent, is not mine. But I will be defiant and filled with enough humble pride to say publicly that my four brothers let me down, let this country down in a dark hour of need. Strangely, I think of another honourable brother, born of this land, an MP also. His name was Charandass Persaud. Yes, I know that it is not a name that comes to my mind, breathes from my lips, or drips from my pen, but in irony of ironies, he did stand for something one December not too long ago.
For reasons noble, or odious, he did stand for something, which only he would know which is which. But he did stand for something, whatever that was, maybe still is. I close by pointing at myself, likely not the best of examples. I consider myself as American as Ambassador Sarah Ann Lynch, but I identify, as difficult as it sometimes can be, with what W.E.B. DuBois termed in the Souls of Black Folk, that “two-ness”, that “double-consciousness.” It is that Guyana is mine, and Guyanese are more my people, my family, and that is what has to be. How come, my brothers, that it couldn’t have been the same for all four of thee?
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