The belligerence is not over and done with

Cassandra's Candid Corner
Stabroek News
March 28, 1999

Stabroek News of March 5 carried an editorial about dangerous myth making and how our society is susceptible to arguments that have no basis, but which can be incendiary and arouse emotions.

Well this is nothing new in Guyana. Way back in my revolutionary youth, I remember our leaders exhorting us starry-eyed, pliable and therefore mouldable juveniles how to operate a "dirty-tricks" department. I remember a slander concocted against an upstanding member of our society using his wife as his locus minoris resistenciae. I used the word "concocted" deliberately, because there was not an iota of truth in the rumour which was wilfully manufactured and peddled as the Gospel. The opposition was not backward either. They too manufactured and spread a rumour again using a wife as the foil to embarrass and undermine a premier's image in this macho society.

Many examples of invented falsehoods are pointed towards hapless and defenceless individuals. Other more machiavellian rumours with wicked intent produce repercussions which damage society as a whole. On February 16, 1962, a most perfidious rumour began in the morning of that fateful day that a child, caught up in a police action, had actually died. That incensed the protestors into a further frenzy. By the afternoon, a significant portion of Georgetown's business sector was in flames or ashes. Similarly, the sequel to the fabricated rumour that Dr Jagan was preaching Apan Jaat to his followers resulted in a reaction which brought about the solidification of a cleavage that is with us to this day.

Because of these experiences, I do not believe that the utterances I hear today are accidental or flippant or merely "simplistic and erroneous messages" (SN's editorial) coming from idiotic people. No, I am convinced that the current fabricated slanders and the manufactured rumours, like in the days of old, are done by design so as to create chaos. For me that is as clear as crystal. So, if instability is the objective and both sides are upping the ante, are those responsible therefor not involved in treasonable acts? The Laws of Guyana Chapter 8:01, Title 20, paragraph 314 states with great clarity that any person who forms an intention to levy war (within Guyana) or to put any force or constraint upon or intimidate or overawe the National Assembly... shall be guilty of felony and liable to imprisonment for life.

Well, over the last few months we have all heard inflammatory statements and counter statements (from supposedly responsible people from all sides of the political spectrum) which go perilously close to, if not overstep, that border of what constitutes a treasonable act within the definition of the law. So, if those addicted to power and who are not bashful in producing national mayhem continue to spew vitriol which is inimical to the interest of peace and which can only fuel the smouldering fires of discontent, should these people not be warned?

Don't let a temporary period of quietude lull you into thinking that the belligerence is over and done with. One does not have to be Cassandra, the predictor, to know that things can get worse if hatemongering continues. Any stern action is likely to beget a more forceful reaction in producing further erratic, uncontrollable, barbaric action. It is therefore imperative that the current combatants be removed and replaced.

One question that then arises is: with whom do we replace the lunatics? Well, I know who not to choose. The sane SN of 5.3.99 had a letter from one "Quasheba" advocating that new blood must lead. Well, one thing is for sure. That transfusion must not come from the ranks of the traditional monolithic political entities. The hate, the memories, the grudges, the enmity, the malice, the loathing are too strongly rooted, too mutual. The old guard has already passed on the tainted blood to the young warriors of their respective groups. The contamination is total. Wanted: erudite, experienced, hate-unburdened, modern managers to sit as the new helmspersons.

The other question, of course, is who effects the change. Well, dear readers, I will allow you to mull over that particular problem. One solution, I am told, can come from "we, the people". I am advised that this latter amorphous, diffuse, leaderless, mass of humankind could institute the change away from thuggery, societal dismemberment and national hara-kiri. Unfortunately, I do not quite understand the concept of, and therefore have no confidence in, this ... this thing called the "people". After all, look how these creatures of illogic voted.