Latest update March 25th, 2023 12:52 AM
Mar 02, 2023 Features / Columnists, News, The GHK Lall Column
By GHK Lall
Kaieteur News – This year’s Mash celebrations had everything that appeals to Guyanese. There was loud music, freedom to revel uninhibitedly, flowing liquor and food, speeches, and the crowds. I took in the crowds. From a healthy distance, of course; I commend my fellow Guyanese for letting their hair down, and ecstatically enjoying what is their own: a day and hour of their own. Even the water gods were thwarted, with giving in to them, and retreating in the customary Guyanese fashion at the sight of clouds or, worse yet, actual rain. As tempting as the music and beverages are, I leave those untouched today, and focus on the crowds. This is what I observed, where I am transported.
The crowds came out in their numbers, which all the media pictures that were seen confirmed in technicolor, and the natural colours of the rainbow. Thousands, if not a goodly handful of tens of such, trumpet their own joy. What was once scorned and contemptuously dismissed as ‘dem peeple haliday’ has now taken on a different complexion. It is delightful to absorb this growth in Guyanese society, the sudden and spasmodic blending strains in the Guyanese character, the fusions of national pride and national joy. Some things are agonizingly slow, but they are sure. Then, there are those other things that my antennae insist that should have been, and which still could be. But only if…
For what presses against the consciousness, channels the deliberations flowing internally, is how much our political leaders and political groups hold in the palm of their hands, for the great, overwhelming majority of Guyanese. Assume a posture. Say a word. Embrace a manner. Insist on a way to be followed. Just in the event, I came across a shade on the hazy side, I brighten the lights: those are all that political leaders have to say or do in this society. There! It is as good as done, and there follows glittering cavalcades of the delirious, the rapturous, and the seriously joyous lifted up to the height of delights. The distance of raw, distant partisanship set in ancient granite vanishes. That was what we saw, had, experienced on Thursday, February 23 last, didn’t we? Anyone who says differently, saw something else, is on a planet where self-deniers and deceivers are the only denizens.
If this can be accomplished for Mashramani, a national holiday owned in wider swaths, and finally obeyed to a fuller measure, then other areas, other matters, other visions travel from the territory of fantasy to the realm of reality. I say this, persist with this, even if only to the fleeting touch of the fingertips. If there is ostensible oneness of celebration for Mashramani, then why not for the imperative of an impregnable future prosperity. At the individual level. Across any and every demographic segment. And with the kind of expansive and genuinely inclusive view that truly encircles the richness of what could be the all-ness of Guyana, in an impeccable oneness.
Our politicians can utter a phrase and a path is beaten by the widest cross section of Guyanese, to partake of Mash’s succulent fares. Now I will drop the hammer, I dare to tempt the gods: how about the same energy marshalled, the same numbers (if not more) rallied to point to that dastardly oil contract and denounce it for what it now has been revealed to be: nothing but a national abomination, a total revulsion, and the source of ongoing national humiliation. Ransom payments for Venezuelan protection and all, properly considered.
If our politicians can bring out the masses to dance in the streets, then I call on them to do the same and let them loose to dance and tramp and mash (in true Guyanese fashion) on that monstrosity that goes under the name of a contract. A contract that binds and blinds, a cunning and ruthless corporate creation that castrates our manhood, that violates our womanhood. Where are our political leaders now? What do they have to say about this? How inclined are they to use the muscular influence of their voice, their compelling pulling power?
It would be the vast power of the people unleashed, the will of the Guyanese people that just cannot be denied. Even if the ultimate court were to rule against, then to where? To Mr. Alistair Routledge, I am sorry, sir, if there is a speck of Patrick Henry soaring to the rafters. But there are some who know only one kind of liberty, that which reaches into places not thought of; of which many are afraid of speaking to openly. I am not. If this condemns to the dungeon of dangerousness, the response is as simple, as it is unflinching and unswerving: here I am.
I pause to close. Our political leaders say one word and Guyanese assemble in a different public mood. The contract goes to dust. They know it, Mr. Alistair Routledge knows it. I know.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and beliefs of this newspaper and its affiliates.)
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