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I begin with this Summer Legend. The stranger approached the old man sitting on the banks of a mighty river and asked him, “ What happened to the great black civilization of Sumer? The old man pulled on his pipe and said awh my friend, they lost their history and so they died.”
August 1st marks another year since the end of the most brutal and cruel experience inflicted by one set of humans upon another set with a different skin colour and hair texture, denoting the end of colonial slavery in the British Empire.
The Descendants of those Manumitted Africans along with all Guyanese need to learn from the lessons of the past and act to ensure that earlier mistakes, cruelties and acquiescence are not repeated so that next year all of us would not merely observe this date but thanks to our combined efforts to be able to truly celebrate Emancipation.
We fully support the recent call by our Amerindian Brothers and Sisters for justice and equity. By the same token we seek their support and that of all fair minded Guyanese for reparation and the availability of African ancestral lands. These must be non-negotiable.
My message this year 2022 deals with profound issues.
First, that Afro-Guyanese, that is those with even a few drops of African blood must continue to love all our Brothers irrespective of their race, religious beliefs or political affiliation, knowing that in Guyana today there are very good and decent Amerindians, very good and decent Chinese, Portuguese, East Indians, fellow Africans but also persons of mixed parentage. All who are a credit to our society.
Afro Guyanese need to appreciate that they are faced with monumental difficulties.
Due to an age-old belief, noticeable in all our history, that somehow the place for black people is at the bottom rung of the ladder.
If this is not dealt with then we’ll see nothing wrong calling an ordinary Afro-Guyanese woman a black monkey and spat upon. Even after seeking legal means for justice she is denied this opportunity to be heard.
This demonstrates the existence of a belief among certain folks that the teachings by our erstwhile masters is still alive and well.
Remember Black stays back, Brown sticks around, If White, you’re alright.
Look around our Guyana and we are witnessing a replay of earlier history which is a ruling Quartet constituting an emerging oligarchy in control of our natural resources, the collection and distribution of the billions collected and supported by the cadre of men and women similar to the House-slaves who enjoy the comforts and perks provided by Massa and ignoring the plight of their kith and kin. Is history repeating itself?
So we go to a traditional African Village, Ithaca and behave like Santa Claus, ignoring that Ithaca would have been a thriving self sufficient community had the PPP government not rejected an earlier engineering study, which recommended because of soil conditions, less distance and a calmer river that the preferred location for the Berbice Bridge should be from Stanleytown on the East to Ithaca on the west. But this would have provided economic and other advantages for Ithaca and the contiguous areas in what are traditional Afro-Guyanese communities.
One can only assume that this feasible project which would have cost much less was rejected by the then Government because Ithaca is considered a community of Afro-Guyanese.
You go to certain villages and you share out fanfare and publicity, three pound hampers and share out ten pound hampers in other areas. Go to Black Bush Polder and witness the plight of that part known as Zambia.
Be wary of the Greeks bearing gifts. Three cheers for One Guyana.
Emancipation must persuade the Descendants of slaves, not to sell their birthright for a mess of pottage nor to be tricked into acquiescence.
This is not a time for polite words and language of deception. It is a time to think, a time for unity and a time to let those in charge know that we have no intention to be re-enslaved.
Whenever we have stood up to the machinations of might we are being accused of unnecessary agitation.
As a people we have always been made to feel ashamed of our leaders who seek justice and a fair share of the national cake. We only need to look around the world and note agitation in Suriname, agitation in Sri Lanka, and agitation in Great Britain.
When we agitate and protest wrongs done to us we are told that to protest is wrong forgetting that if the colonists of the great Unites States of America did not protest against the imposition of taxes by King George III, there would have been no great US today. Americans are proud to recall the Boston Tea Party.
The world would have not been as it is today, had it not been for people writing, proposing new thinking and protesting against wrongdoings.
The chemistry of our world shows that popular uprisings have led to improvements everywhere, England – 1642 – 1649; America – 1776; France 1789; Russia 1917; China 1911-1949; Iran 1978 – 1979; Afghanistan 1979-2001; the American Civil Rights Movement 1954-1968.
Agitation of protests are the rights of people everywhere when faced with discrimination, corruption and rising cost of living.
If we are to be true to our noble ancestors, we must with one voice identify and speak up against wrong doings.
Discussions with young and old must generate ancestral piety, a pride to be who you are, to develop a passion to improve ourselves in a swift changing world of technology and science and so accept the responsibility to bequeath to succeeding generations the country that is prosperous, respected internationally and truly liberated.