COMMENTARY By Dr. Dhanpaul Narine
The West Indian Magazine, July 27, 2019
Reprinted with permission of the author
Some may think that the idea is outrageous or even downright crazy. But we need to allay the fears of Guyanese, to ease the tension, and show that we can work, sing and pray together. We need a ‘One Guyana Peace Concert and a Day of Prayer’ and we need it before the elections. Both events should be non-political and aim to celebrate Guyana as a peaceful nation.
The daily vitriol on social media, from people that live thousands of miles away from Guyana, is bereft of peace or harmony. The online posts stir up hate and call on people to go to war. But Guyanese know better. They know that at the end of the day the races depend on each other for their survival. They know that we are interlocked by economics and history and we can’t do without each other. Elections bring out the worse in us but isn’t time that we put aside the hate and look at each other as Guyanese first?
Take a walk at the business places. You will see people buying and selling freely without regard to race or ethnicity. In fact, the races will tell you that without each other they can’t do business. Their livelihoods depend on one another. In Vergenoegen, where I was raised, many businesses were owned by Afro and Indo-Guyanese. We supported each other without the slightest regard to race.
When it came to cultural events we joined hands and celebrated. In fact, many Afro-Guyanese knew the rituals of the Hindu wedding ceremony better than Indians in the village. The people took pride in the achievements of the children and we looked out for each other. If only we can get back to the days of mutual cooperation and respect and treat each other as brothers and sisters rather than as enemies.
The politicians would like to see enmity between the races because they become relevant when the society is divided. A divided society preys on differences and hate. After years of dividing the nation, it is time to wake up and tell the politicians to put aside the hate. It is time to call out the politicians and urge them to act in the interests of the people. [Emphasis mine.] Continue reading