Bakr's article does not advance discussion on race and culture
Stabroek News
January 1, 2002

Dear Editor,

SN opened its Sunday pages to a lengthy article [ please note: link provided by LOSP web site ] by Mr Abu Bakr (December 23), a Guyanese who lives abroad, in France, so that he can forward the local discussion on race and culture. I immediately remembered SN's recent editorial 'Naipaul's truth' in which Naipaul received criticism for writing about our post colonial condition when he does not live here and hence, SN's conclusion, knows nothing about it.

Pardon me, SN, but is it one standard for the favoured and quite another for others? Mr Bakr's article simply goes over old ground and does not advance the discussion at all. But it is still interesting since it displays the opinion of a black Guyanese who sneers at other cultures as "folkloric" and talks of Indian culture as being about baubles and imagery and Pandits muttering incomprehensibly.

He also makes a plea for our understanding of the PNC dictatorship which he says did not practise "ordinary racism." So right. The victimization and terrorism were not ordinary.

Note that in Mr Bakr's contorted use of language the PNC dictatorship becomes the "afro Guyanese political leadership of the post independence period."

For Mr Bakr's education the racial crimes in Guyana are not "crimes of the past." Perhaps being in France he has not yet heard that up to six months ago Indians were being beaten up, robbed, even killed for their race.

Mr Bakr's facts and opinions are being offered to us as a forwarding of discussion. Discussion implies an exchange where people present legitimate, relevant comments with an open mind, not hand us their ignorance and prejudices to deal with.

Your faithfully,

Vishnu Lakeram