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A condition which defies logic and prudence seems to be the curse of mankind from the dawn of civilisation, but hope of good sense among leaders everywhere is the one thing that can keep us going and hope that the recent Summit in Egypt and the Agreement could avoid this generation of leaders superintending the destruction of our planet.
As a youngster in early Primary School, my Mother, a stout pro- American told us about the horrors of the Pearl Harbour attack,
This week, December 7th marks another anniversary of that error by Imperial Japanese command.
Reference to the anniversary of the Japanese attack on the huge American military installation at Pearl Harbor in 1941 should allow all our political leaders to use their intellect or in some cases, what is left of it and then interpret human history to recognize that seeking a peaceful path would bring them glory and goodness for Guyana.
Our leaders must know that oft times, it is better to be very humble even with power in their hands to avoid silly steps of stupidity.
Unfortunately, arrogance and being power-drunk has brought death, damnation, disease and damage to the very people leaders claim to care for.
The attack on Pearl Harbour on the 7th December, 1941 in a sense helped shape the world we live in today. For better or for worse is of course a matter of opinion and conjecture.
The anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, which on receiving the news, President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared it a day of infamy and forced the United States of America to enter the second World War. (1939 – 1945), after shying away from active involvement is what many American citizens regarded as being none of their business.
Just as the United States had emerged from the Great Depression, on the morning of December 7, a Japanese squadron of three hundred and fifty-two (352) aircrafts swooped down on Pearl Harbor where the American sailors and military personnel were preparing for breakfast.
The Japanese in a two -hour blitz using 360 war planes destroyed five (5) Battleships, fourteen (14) smaller ships, two hundred (200) American aircrafts, killed two thousand (2,000) Seamen, and four hundred (400) other people and wounded thirteen hundred (1300) at Pearl Harbor.
So severe was this assault that one of the large battleships, the Arizona never surfaced and the bodies of a hundred odd Seamen on board could not, as they say, be retrieved with dignity and have been recorded buried at sea.
Fortunately, three large aircraft carriers, the Enterprise, the Lexicon and the Saratoga were out on routine maneuvers and were therefore spared.
This horrific attack on the pride of US Maritime Command compelled the USA to enter World War II on the side of the Allies led by Great Britain.
They say out of evil cometh good for who knows without Russian and American backing, we may have been a German colony. The value of these incidents in history should be useful lessons for leaders everywhere to benefit from.
Lesson 1 – Why did the Japanese Imperial Command, as records we have seen suggest that the mass of destruction completely destroyed American naval and military power and therefore forced them into submission underestimating the resilience and courage of the people of America.
Lesson 2 – For all of us in Guyana, at the turn of the 20th century the Japanese assumed that their naval power gave them control of the Pacific. So when President Theodore Rooseveldt assembled what is known as the Great White Fleet comprising 14 Battleships, all painted in white, they sailed around the world and what was said to be the Goodwill visits to the Pacific, the Atlantic and the Caribbean Seas. One of those vessels visited Trinidad.
The reality however was the United States had now demonstrated to the World, they were now a sea power and could therefore now dominate land, air and sea. This Goodwill voyage which lasted nearly two years alarmed Japan and therefore caused a rationality, a serious defect among leaders.
Lesson 3 – Sometimes we pay a heavy price for our missteps of stupidity and within four years, President Harry S. Truman ordered the bombing of two Japanese cities, Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945.The first time nuclear weapons were used on human beings.
When the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima on the 6th of August, as the Pilot circled to gain altitude, the Co-Pilot looked through the window and on seeing the mass of grey smoke covering the entire city, he turned to the Pilot and said “My God, what have we done?”
Lesson 4 – All of us without exception must put pressure on whichever political party we support to tell them that to avoid being damned, to allow us to be primary beneficiaries of the Creator’s kindness to us, we must sit and talk so we can tell our erstwhile masters that we need a bigger share of the cake and that this can be achieved painlessly if we cooperate for Guyana.
As we recall the mistakes, the mis-judgements and massive destruction cause at Pearl Harbor 81 years ago, we must remember that we are among the few countries where we do not suffer from any of the major natural disasters, hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, monsoons, droughts and pestilence but instead we are blessed with an abundance of gold, diamonds, timber, marine resources, tourism potential and now oil and gas. With these God-given resources, if we sit down like rational human beings, set aside all personal differences, every family in Guyana should live in comfort and be happy.
Lesson 5:- To help make a reality of our dream, to be One People, One Nation with One Destiny, we must end this present bombardment of biased reporting and past and current events.
This will widen the gap that now exists. We must stop behaving and for some believing that we are Angels and spotless but the other folks are the devils and filthy.
On a visit some years ago to Japan, I was taken to a Museum showing the remains of the bombings of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. The Guide tearfully took us to the glass case, which showed remnants of salvaged clothing and lunch kits of children who perished and referred to US ambition to control everywhere and the real purpose of the Great White Fleet, but not a word about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour.
Young Guyanese must be told that from before Emancipation and after, we the six races of Guyana, were the victims of an ideology and that we should be ad idem, a wholesome one, a genuine one, an authentic one, to overcome this legacy.
For example, I noticed a BBC report on Saturday that a group in Barbados is demanding reparation from the Drax’s family and from the descendants of Queen Elizabeth I for the exploitation on the Plantations during and after slavery.
I hope the present Government will express support for this Initiative and publicly state their support, their efforts of the Reparation Committee in Guyana.
As we remember Pearl Harbour, remember the billions used including the marshall plan for Reparation and the damage done during these man-created wars over the past few generations.
Finally, our educational system must use events such as Pearl Harbor, Battle of Stalingrad, Maginot Lines in Guyana in the early 1960s as teaching tools so that we can produce a Cadre of young people, informed by the lessons of history and therefore stimulate our thinking and release the creative energies of our young people everywhere.