Tribute to Walter
Guyana Chronicle
March 25, 2002

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Had he been alive, renowned Guyanese historian and political activist, Dr. Walter Rodney, would have been 60 years old this month. Although his illustrious works and charismatic life were cut short by hired assassins, I hold precious memories of his frequent roadside speaking engagements in Linden and always will remember him as both a strong advocate and a promising agent of change. That is why I wish to take this opportunity to celebrate his Birth anniversary, instead of his death anniversary, with this poem:

Consciousness and Change Clad in street clothes and sporting a beard, You dared to tread where others once feared.

Like David, the boy, against Goliath, the giant, You felt you could bring down Kabaka, the tyrant.

Consciousness, you said, we must have it, As the first step out of our miry pit.

And although, to some, it sounded strange, Consciousness still remains a prelude to change.

As you turned our roads into your stage, From which you preached your awakening message; You prodded our hearts to understand, That real power is in the masses' hand.

By using that power as a mighty force, Things can be changed before they get worse.

That was all you asked us to comprehend, As coming from the heart of a caring friend.

As your message grew stronger and louder, From our road corners to the edges of our border, The crowds grew larger and became wiser, Causing the Kabaka to shake and shiver.

Called he his wise men, and counsellors, too, And asked them what he now must do?

"Murder!" they wrote. "He has to go!"
And that was how you became a national hero.

The night you died, My poor heart cried.

Cause it was you who opened my eyes, To see Kanaka's wickedness and lies.

Nevertheless, since you've been gone, To somewhere beyond, Me and my brethren made our resolution,

To continue fighting our own revolution.

We lost a fighter; our nation gained a martyr, Because you died believing what you lived for.

But out of death, multitudes have come alive, By continuing to find ways to survive political jive.

Surviving is pressure, but struggle brings ease, For we do not want to always live on our knees.

So everyday we take our struggles to the street, To help each other keep fighting on our feet.

You're gone, my friend, my brother, Born of a different father and mother.

But consciousness and change always will be, The message in our struggle to be a free society.
Emile Mervin,
Brooklyn, New York