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The question is, are we truly emancipated? While Emancipation Day is celebrated annually to commemorate the end of the Atlantic Slave Trade, emancipation is an ongoing process.
Emancipation involves the act or process of freeing individuals from control, oppression, or dependency. The term can be applied in various contexts, such as liberating a minor from parental control, freeing a country or population from political oppression, or abolishing slavery.
Gaining autonomy, securing legal rights, and attaining social and political independence are key aspects of emancipation.
From a Guyanese perspective, slavery was abolished in the 19th century. While the immediate association might be with freedom from physical chains, true emancipation extends beyond that. It encompasses the liberation of the mind, the ability to go wherever one pleases, and the freedom to engage in lawful activities. Emancipation is an evolving concept, and the celebration of Emancipation Day prompts reflection on the progress made and the ongoing journey towards complete liberation.
In Guyana, allegations of corruption abound, with the most recent reports highlighting alleged houselot scams at the Ministry of Housing, instances of policemen accepting bribes, and government employees engaging in corrupt practices while purportedly representing the interests of the people of Guyana. How do these allegations impact our moral fabric of freedom or emancipation?
Individuals should enjoy the fundamental liberties of living in a society where their very existence is not compromised. This includes the right to wake up and breathe fresh air, to engage in open and responsible dialogue without the fear of victimization. Contemplating the necessity of accepting injustices, scams, and debauchery under the pretext of “to play, you have to somewhat pay” raises a critical question: does this situation align with the essence of emancipation?
We should not find ourselves enslaved by a system that perpetuates the enrichment of the wealthy while deepening the impoverishment of the less fortunate. Adding insult to injury, the rich often amass greater wealth by exploiting the poor. Is it plausible that certain systems were intentionally crafted to maintain a modern-day form of slavery, particularly affecting minorities and the less fortunate?
Consider, for instance, individuals who are diligent, educated, and law-abiding citizens, yet in Guyana, their reality is one of perpetual struggle to make ends meet—a predicament familiar to many. It prompts the question: is this a result of oppression, or is it indicative of a prevailing mindset within society?
Let’s explore the concept of Guyanese public servants. The public service is predominantly composed of Afro-Guyanese individuals. Was this a result of deliberate choice or design? Could it be a reflection of the lingering effects of plantation life, where individuals had to conform to the rules and regulations akin to serving a “Master”? The psychological impact of such a historical context may manifest in the structured day-to-day activities, potentially contributing to a lack of creativity in certain areas.
One cannot confidently assert that individuals in Guyana are truly emancipated when confronted with the issues plaguing the masses. Challenges such as limitations on freedom of speech, victimization, racial inequality, information scarcity, bribery, a high cost of living, low wages, and the absence of a middle class collectively contribute to a substandard quality of life.
The late Bob Marley wisely advocated, “Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds.” To attain true emancipation, our people must engage in critical thinking. This process begins within one’s own mind—challenging oppression, resisting thoughtless obedience, fostering self-sufficiency, and daring to push boundaries. It involves actively seeking opportunities, knocking on windows and doors, claiming a seat at the table, and partaking in the abundance of life. Remember, you are worthy, you are free—emancipated. Act like it.