Ian Mc Donald sees the world through the eyes of the West
Stabroek News
October 12, 2001

Dear Editor,

I agree with Tom Dalgety (SN, October 8) that Ian McDonald is part of our language problem, not for last Sunday's poem though, but in a more general way. A poem is an experience that moves the reader or listener no matter its time or place.

However, many of McDonald's Sunday articles include clips from Western books and papers and Guyanese cannot recognise themselves and their disrupted lives in these articles. The world of our former (white) colonisers and our world are two halves that do not make a whole but McDonald seems to be trying to re-colonise us with a weekly diet of British and American poets. Occasionally, he throws in something on Walcott and I suspect this is only because Walcott straddles the divide between European neo-classical learning and the groping, stumbling world of the West Indies.

Mr McDonald is essentially a white man who sees the world through the eyes of the imperialistic West. He denounces terror without acknowledging the root causes as if the terror fell suddenly from the clear blue skies one bright morning. To add insult to injury, he then patronises us with his idealistic ideas of "species consciousness."

What on earth is the meaning of "Lendlease USA" to the crippled and benighted people of Afghanistan"? Please explain. I saw American generosity on the television screen this week - an American soldier dumping ground grain into a shallow bowl held by a starving child. Half of the meagre ration fell to the ground. I know it's war, it's not a picnic or a birthday party, but no one should be surprised if a few years from now we meet a few more bin Ladens and more ex-soldiers like Timothy McVeigh. McVeigh became so disillusioned with American duplicity, with the savagery and callousness of the American military that he was driven to murder more than a hundred Americans in one go when he returned home. Bush and his blood-thirsty war-hawks are creating genuine psychological problems for the human race with their eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth, big-stick policies. It is the Americans who lust for blood and have co-opted some sycophantic supporters.

If McDonald really is in tune with the grievances of man, he would not be able to ignore the plight of the Palestinians. They have been displaced for 80 years and are now refugees in their own homeland living on next to nothing. I cannot quarrel with bin Laden's logic: "When Palestinians can feel safe in their own homeland, then Americans can feel safe in theirs".

Yours faithfully,

Miguel Thompson