Guyana’s Tragedy: Race is the tool, Oppression the result

[5 mins read]

There is no doubt that we have produced many brilliant politicians. The problem is that they have misused their intelligence. The following is an adaptation of a speech delivered decades ago by a politician who used his intelligence to serve (in so far as I am aware).

After decades of hurt and suffering too many of us have still not had enough of this foolishness of race. Allocating blame one way or another will serve no productive purpose. More than one political party has been responsible for the crisis of race relations which continues to plague this country. Our leadership has continued to fail us on that score. History shows us that external intervention was important in bringing races against each other in the 50s and particularly in the 60s. We must also acknowledge that this pitting of one race against another has served our political parties well. Race has been a key factor in gaining votes since the 60s. But I am concerned with the present. Ordinary Afro-Guyanese and Indo-Guyanese have been misled about the myth of race repeatedly. And though we could not afford it today, race has yet again been our undoing.

Do these words sound familiar? They are an adaptation of a street speech delivered by the late Dr Walter Rodney more than 30 years ago. Not much has changed. It’s almost as if Guyana is stuck in a time loop and doomed to repeat history. Does it have anything to do with race that families can barely put food on the table because of a pandemic? Does it have anything to do with race that businesses are closed and many jobless? Does it have anything to do with race that the weaknesses within the Constitution and electoral laws continue to be exploited by politicians? Does it have anything to do with race that young people cannot access government scholarships without the appropriate connection to the party in power? The more things change, the more they stay the same.

This story about race is not in the interest of the common Afro-Guyanese or Indo-Guyanese. It is meant to divide the People. Those who are attempting to manipulate the current electoral process are not the ones who will suffer when all is settled. If the upcoming ruling of the Caribbean Court of Justice does indeed bring an end to the 2020 elections, the politicians will not be the losers or suffers in all of this. The losers will be those who participated in the sharing and receiving of blows. Because when all is said and done, the politicians will share the spoils, settle into their fancy positions and collect their salaries and allowances funded by your taxes, your sweat and blood. This is what the racial discrimination does, feed power to the wealthy at the expense of the ordinary man.

Will this race hate keep your children safe and alive? Will this race hate ensure that food is on your table after the elections is settled? Will this race hate keep you safe from the pandemic and ensure that the public health system can provide the best care possible? Will this race hate fix the weaknesses in the Constitution and electoral laws? What will it do for you? You see, it will not end with just racial discrimination. You know this story very well. It starts with one thing and then leads to another thing that is worse for every man, woman and child. This was and still is a system of class oppression that disguises itself under a racial cover. There is the class of fat pigeons who handle the sharing of the corn and then there are the half-starved yard fowls waiting for them to shit so they can eat. Those who have and continue to manipulate the electoral system are doing it for the corn, not for you and your children.

I am sure that by now many of you know that it doesn’t matter if you are a member of one party or the other today. It does not guarantee your safety or security and will not protect you from the injustices of tomorrow. The political machinery is only concerned with its own interests and will move against anyone regardless of the colour of their skin. It will move even against its own. Because when a bad thing is allowed to grow, it grows out of control and it will eat up even those who created it. Today, the right of the matter happens to coincide with the interests of one party, but that does not mean tomorrow they will not take advantage of the same systemic weaknesses which have been used against them. Every politician with half a brain knows this. Someday, I hope that more of us will understand this too.


❤ Sara



This article contains the personal views of the author and is in no way connected with any institution or group with which she may be affiliated.


A note from the Author:

Given the custom by party loyalists to misrepresent and misuse any type of political commentary to support their own positions, I feel that it is necessary to borrow the following from Thomas Paine (an English-born American political activist, philosopher, political theorist, and revolutionary) with whose work I became acquainted as a student of History at the University of Guyana:

Who the Author of this Production is, is wholly unnecessary to the Public, as the Object for Attention is the Doctrine itself, not the Woman. Yet it may not be unnecessary to say, That she is unconnected with any Party, and under no sort of Influence public or private, but the influence of reason and principle.

Craig Village, East Bank Demerara, June 27, 2020

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