Listen to the children
February 9, 2001
GROWN-UP Guyana should be listening to the voices of its children in this Republic anniversary Mashramani season of celebrating, and more importantly, in this elections season.
Their messages are loud and clear in the competitions taking place for schools in the run-up to the bigger Mashramani programmes later in the month.
They are linking hands and voices and singing songs and reciting poems about love and unity, peace and togetherness.
These are things they know about because as kids they do not yet see others in terms of colour or creed and other such differences.
Those are differences they are taught by adults and as President Bharrat Jagdeo recently observed, the message of real racial unity has to be started at home and in the schools where children have to be taught to see each other as human beings and not as people of different colour or creed.
If adults behave in a certain way, they tend to pass their actions and feelings on to their children and if they continue to label others according to race, the little ones will grow up thinking this is natural.
We salute those who have schooled the performers at these events for children in driving home the national messages of peace and togetherness, love and unity.
Political parties contesting the scheduled March 19 elections should have been attending these competitions to hear the appeals from the children as they dance and sing and recite their poetry.
We have been trying through reports and photos to help transmit their messages to a wider audience because it is important that the grown-ups know what kind of world their little ones truly want to grow up in.
The popular youth group, Rights of the Child (ROC) has been making similar appeals.
They last month held a city march and rally to promote their goal of making Guyana a race-free zone.
And they have been promoting a seven-step programme towards their goal, urging political parties to keep the elections campaign clean and free from appeals to race.
The political leaders should be listening to these voices and urging the members and supporters of their parties to pay heed too.
It is a good coincidence that the traditional festive season of Mashramani is under way as the electoral campaign is picking up momentum.
The sincere voices of the children in their songs and poems for Mashramani may just be heard above the din ringing from the political camps as they gear for polling day.
It would be a real pity if their efforts are wasted when the children get all dressed up, go to such lengths and take so much joy in delivering their Mashramani messages.
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