Lead, Follow or Get the hell out-of-the-way!

After a two-hour history class, I sat next to a pile of garbage and watched people dash about in the rain. It struck me then that the University of Guyana looks way better in the sunshine. When it rains, there’s no sunshine and pretty blue sky to distract you from the piles of filth hidden all around and it’s then that you see just how many leaks there are in our buildings.

As I watched dozens of students try to hurry without slipping in the wet, I found myself wishing that some of them actually would fall on their faces. You’ll understand this particular desire as we go along. Earlier this semester, a handful of students, lecturers and administrative staff marched in the rain and hot sun in an effort to bring about change.

Out of several thousand students, only about a hundred of us decided to walk the walk. I was sorely disappointed in my peers. I could not believe that they were so unwilling to stand up and speak for their rights, I could not believe that they were willing to sit by and watch our university be violated without ever once attempting to fight.

However, what bothered me more than this lack of response was the fact that some students believed that the right thing to do was to sit down and do nothing. During my talks at one particular faculty, I was diplomatically told to “shove” my fight for change. Here is a paraphrase of what the student basically said to me:

In any other part of the world a university education (especially for my area of study) would be far more expensive. I’d say that we have too damn much and you people don’t realise just how blessed you are. So we have a few little problems but show me a place which doesn’t have any. The bottom line is that we should quit creating trouble and accept the little that we do have.

I listened to that person, I nodded, I presented my side of the argument and I smiled. But what I really wanted to ask them was whether we should sit around and continue to be robbed of our rights, if we were suppose to lay down, spread our ass cheeks and allow ourselves to be violated in a most horrible manner, or if we were to remain silent and wait until we no longer could fight for a better tomorrow.

Students, lecturers and all other occupants of the University of Guyana do not deserve to see excrement when they attempt to flush their urine, they do not deserve to sit in a main lecture theatre which leaks, or to sit in a classroom which is unbearably hot and cramped in many instances. We do not deserve a half-cooked academic programme because we allegedly cannot afford better, we do not deserve to have political interference create glitches in our university’s advancement.

We can afford better and we do deserve better. Anyone who believes otherwise should make use of the on campus shrink. They need to pull back the blinds and plunge into the real world, to see reality.

I did learn one important lesson from the lack of response from my peers though. In this path of life that we walk there are three main options. We can choose to lead, follow or to get the hell out-of-the-way. I’ve chosen to follow the causes worth following, to lead in the instances where I can and for all the other people who can’t seem to process reality to them I say, get the hell out-of-the-way!

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