September 11, February 23 Frankly Speaking...
By A.A Fenty
Stabroek News
September 20, 2002

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By juxtaposing those two dates I mean no exaggeration in terms of the comparison of their profound negative connotations. (In any case, ordinarily, February 23, to most right-thinking patriotic Guyanese, should be a date to remind and inspire us with regard to our Republican independence - one legacy of a glorious, if aborted attempt at freedom of body and mind since 1763.)

Alas, both dates in February and September, to my mind, now conjure up profoundly negative landmarks in the case of Guyana and the World, respectively.

Take September 11, 2001: the most devastating external terrorist attacks in the USA which killed citizens of many nations, have forever changed American lifestyles, attitudes and certain realities. No need to re-enumerate them here as the lasting universal impact on world political, hemispheric, economic, even religious relationships should be well-known, appreciated and felt by now.

America was made to sneeze in September of 2001 and the pains, headache and wounds of that draught have resulted in the entire world catching the cold of economic recessions and strained international relations.

As I’ve just mentioned, I don’t think it is necessary for little me to recount or list the numerous consequences of the terrorist attacks - decline in American-related aviation industry, international tourism, cut-backs of all sorts, immigration policy charges, debates about security vis-à-vis liberty. No. I’ll just mention, merely mention, what to me is George Bush’s rest-of-term passionate conviction - that the cold war has now been supplanted by a more insidious terrorist war against America primarily. And he seems dedicated to prosecuting that new war pro-actively against real and perceived enemies. Those competent to do so, I’m sure, will assess the consequences of that engagement.

For now, however, I turn to our February 23.

Forgetting the noble and historical legacy of February 23, I state frankly that: It is my view that a war was declared on the law-abiding Guyanese nation, beginning with that engineered jailbreak on Republic Day 2002. “Engineered?” (Some time later that can be discussed but just reflect on the political and media support; the intimations of what ‘Blackie the Bandit’ knew - all extended by those who thought they stood to gain from politically-inspired banditry and criminality.)

Walk with me through these review paragraphs of my own account of the consequences of February 23.

To me, these are but a few of the (intended?) results of a well-orchestrated escape: (i) An instant steep rise in banditry of a murderous nature; (ii) The creation of an ‘enabling environment’ which spawns and inspires the criminal-minded to execute and escalate the criminal activity they always intended to; (iii) There was/is a ‘welcome’ element of social destabilization, beneficial to whoever would want to make the country ungovernable; (iv) The establishment of a coastal criminal network replete with public relations, communication, military, political, ‘intellectually-justifiable’ support and safe-heaven sites; (v) A growing sordid image of a risky crime-ridden Guyana comparable to a Jamaica or a Colombia! (vi) The compromising of weak people’s values in relation to right and wrong, the role of the police, and alleged “struggles for causes”; (vii) An alarming sense of domestic/personal fear and insecurity which triggers disorientation loss of confident in government and migration, among other negatives.

I feel that the above is merely indicative of what February 23, 2002 has meant and caused. Agree or disagree, but contemplate the implications for national economic development, forms of governance, calls for inclusion and getting at root causes and the status of race relations now and in the future. Yes, much more can be, and is being, written and spoken about our state of being. Poor Guyana. Poor us?

How cheap now life...

Related to all the above is this frightening thought reflected in this column about three Fridays ago: Human life has become cheap and expendable, as never before, in our dear land. Among, say, the 14 - 25’s a frightening phenomenon wherein the precious sanctity of life is unknown or diminished, “E buss E throat wid a blade,” would be said at the most gruesome murder scene. That deed is dismissed like the death of a mosquito. Television images of death; intrusions into hospital rooms and people’s bedrooms add to the numbing of the sensibilities of the gross, the brutish and the boors. Whither are we drifting so fast?

Do the righteous merely turn to their God and think on these things at funeral services? Mourn with me.

Let’s hope...

1) Western democracies with human rights to preserve - especially the murderers, ‘bandits’ and terrorists rights - have to manifest their rule-of-law practices even when known aggressors don’t have to.

Then those civilised, sophisticated, free publics are zealous over their own freedoms and rights. They seem not want any temporarily suspended - if even in the cause of a greater good.

Attorney General of the US said last weekend: “We’re not trading liberty for security - but securing liberty.”

2) Coming next week - if all things remain equal - “Shaka and Rose Hall” - the Flyer and the objectives.

(2b) I understand a certain tele-activist couldn’t help subtly gloating to reveal that the bandits charged were of Indian descent. Like when a few “Africans” are robbed. Ha! Doesn’t obliterate the fact that one group pre-dominates at certain types of crime still. Naturally, there are “reasons” for this fact.

3) Also next week, definitely: why Eusi doesn’t name who has sullied Buxton’s glorious legacy.

4) Any congratulations from opposition parties and media - even conditional - for the civic on securing the IMF relief for poverty reduction?

5) They’d better repair the 1763 square (in Georgetown) hurriedly and properly. Or else - you know what!

6) Caught for the first time - like “Columbus” - an interesting programme on Herbal Remedies on Channel 9 on Tuesday night.

7) The fellows by Elvin spoke of Keith in New York purchasing a ‘guana from a respected Pet Shop. The fellows in Brooklyn really wanted an old back-home ‘guana curry. But the little lizard purchased couldn’t do for ten men who got wind of the “wild meat mini-session.” So Keith returned to the Pet Shop for another, explaining to the concerned vet/owner that the first lizard had “died”.

The man seriously requested the dead animals’ remains for a post-mortem. Keith had to run til over to New Jersey for another “green fowl” to avoid trouble...

‘Til next week!