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If there is one positive trait of Africans that is deemed laudable, it is their resilience in the face of life’s many vicissitudes. Undoubtedly, the impact of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade on Africa is one of the evilest chapters in human history. Yet amidst such cruel and insensitive treatment, the survival and non-extinction of the African clan remain the greatest racial group successes of Guyana’s history.
Africans have experienced the most brutal forms of injustice and dehumanisation, yet they have braved those vicissitudes and valiantly exhibited unswerving resilience. Slavery has underlined and endorsed the view that the will to survive comprises the core of Africans’ DNA and many a slave master is forced to admit this, even if grudgingly.
Modern-day slavery has adopted a new modus operandi, economic and social deprivation. Yet Africans continue to demonstrate resilience to demeaning acts of racism and other vile treatment, underlining the stark fact that they have fought valiantly, and will continue to do so until the message is forcefully driven home to their oppressors.
Despite the many views to the contrary in Guyana, Africans are adamant that they have been deliberately ostracised from a democratic process that paves the way for a level playing field. Indeed, the evidence bluntly stares us in the face. Almost on a daily basis, our leaders are openly disrespected by a callous government that presides over the state and its apparatus.
The treatment meted out to African communities and their leaders is oppressive and designed to weaken and divide those communities. Africans are under immense pressure and unfortunately many have joined forces with their oppressors in a bid to soften the vile actions and repressive treatment. This is the stark reality even as the oppressors attempt to sell the line that those that ‘cross the line’ are pleased with the status quo rather than compelled to conform for the sake of survival.
Such responses may be misconstrued as compliance and affirmation when in reality they are simply employing coping mechanisms to counteract the vile realities. Though this is reasonable rationalization, collaborative Africans are deemed to be willing participants in the destruction of kith and kin and their ideals.
The persistent onslaught on Africanism and Africans in Guyana is terroristic and racist. It is driven by Indian supremacists, supported by an ethnocentric regime that has demonstrated grave intolerance for the values and ideals embraced by Africans.
In Guyana, Africans’ experience of racism must be analysed in the context of Indian privilege and the role it plays in perpetuating racial discrimination and xenophobia. Indian privilege is an unspoken social advantage where Indians are regarded as an elite group and granted special privileges and priorities at the expense of other racial groups and non-supporters of the ruling cabal. Indian privilege is normative and supported by unwritten policies, systems, and institutions. This anomaly has allowed Indians to gain significant social and economic advantages over other racial groups and undoubtedly, is the bases of the acrimonious relationship between Africans, Indians, and by extension, the two major political groups, the People’s National Congress (PNC) and the People’s Progressive Party (PPP).
As stated earlier, Africans are staunchly resilient and simply refuse to buckle under (economic) and other pressures. History is replete with strong Africans that have risen to the challenge when immense pressure is (unfairly) applied. Africans’ value system and resilience have been tested and withstood extremely troubling times. Superficially, they may be deemed weak, owing largely in part to a lack of positive and coordinated responses to the vile treatment of their detractors. The reality is that Africans have shown staunch resilience that left many of those aforementioned detractors befuddled.
The battle appears tough but really, the fight against racism and unfair Indian privilege entails greater agitation for equitable distribution of national patrimony, inclusionary democracy, and the devolution of power at the level of local government. Most specifically, Africans must have greater control over their community services and active involvement in local government affairs. Africans must continuously fight against all forms of humiliation, demonstrating self-respect and unadulterated pride in celebrating the present and past accomplishments of Africans in Guyana and around the world.
Most importantly, Africans must remain actively involved in projects that are economically viable thus strengthening their financial base. They must improvise a system that will realise exponential human development, growth, and prosperity in their communities. African leaders must demand the central government’s uncompromised support, and unity within their community as part of the developmental agenda. Every community must formulate a development plan that is in conformity with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and planning must be structured using ‘a bottom-up’ rather than a ‘top-down’ module.
Inevitably, fair and equitable distribution of the nation’s wealth will result in greater bonds and unity thus establishing a prosperous and impregnable community. In other words, Africans must formulate a strong support base that is difficult, nay impossible to infiltrate.
The stark reality is that Africans in Guyana must put aside their differences and unite to create an invincible force with a unified objective otherwise, as the proverbial saying goes, “Cat gon eat we dinner.”