The ethnic thing should not be the main issue

Stabroek News
August 21, 2001

Dear Editor,

I refer to the letter by Deo Hardat captioned "The issue is one of ethnic insecurity (l8.8.200l). It is exactly those lines of demarcation that I avoid. I am on the side of truth. Violence I have already condemned. Ignorance I have already condemned. And I have only attacked one person's viewpoint of the Indian and Black thing directly, Ravi Dev.

First of all my letter was heavily edited by the editors of Stabroek News. If it was not dissected by those scholars, maybe it would have been seen in a different context. My point is do not divide up Guyana along racial lines. If you should raise your head from the local, you would understand that it's not a Black and Indian thing; it's all about power.

I fully endorse the development of a person along any cultural lines they choose, be it Hindu, Jew or Christian, Bahai or Muslim. That is not the issue. The issue is when that person now comes to perform his duty as a citizen of Guyana. It must be along the lines of what is best for Guyana, for all of Guyana. The individual right of pursuit of freedom and wisdom, but not to the exclusion of any.

Now with respect to that power; it should not be gained with respect to Black or Indian but along the lines of the development of the infrastructure. Who is best suited? There are many other more pressing issues of the day than simply trying to exorcise the ghost of Forbes Burnham. Those who are stuck in the past are ill equipped to deal with the challenges of the here and now.

I simply used India and Pakistan as an illustration to show Ravi Dev and his band of merrymen that hate and anger is not a black and Indian thing, but the offspring of ignorance.

I believe our current President should be given our support and an opportunity to govern and be judged according to his record, but I do not believe statements like "when an Indian thinks of Cuffy, the thought provoked is that of PNC troops massing to beat up Indians" are productive. First of all Ravi Dev does not speak for all Indians. Second, my question to him was what thought is provoked when he hears the name Gandhi? He would know that hate and anger themselves are the things to be dispensed with, not a specific race. It's not a racial thing, really!

Ignorance is colour blind, and it's a highly contagious virus.

Yours faithfully,
Gavin Francisco