I APOLOGISE TO EUSI KWAYANA
October 17, 2003
I have a policy of not replying to my critics because it can be a never-ending process and after all, people have a right to make comments. But Eusi Kwayana is special - special in two senses - his pen is enormously influential, and secondly, I feel I would like to correct any misconception he may have of me based on the permanent respect I have for him.
There is one feature in the personality of Kwayana that essentially defines him (in my estimation) and that is, his enduring quality as a non-racist human rights ideologue. Even at the age of eighty, Kwayana's integrity doesn't bow to changing circumstances. I believe all the major players in Guyanese history who have reached advanced age have stumbled and have caused us, the younger generation, to lower our admiration of them and the list is indeed long, both Dr. and Mrs. Jagan, Martin Carter, Forbes Burnham, Brindley Benn, Clive Thomas, Rory Westmas, Miles Fitzpatrick, Bishop George, Ranji Chandisingh among others. But Kwayana's praxis remains firmly anchored in impeccable integrity. This doesn't mean that he is always right. I have had occasions in the past to disagree with him but I believe why he stands out in that list is because he has a large suspicion of power and has kept away from it.
I take his point when he said I was insulting to voodoo religion and culture when I referred to the theory and practice of the Buxtonian gunmen as voodoo theory. The term was used loosely and there is always the tendency of an academic writer to slip over into journalistic jargon when columnizing for a newspaper. I never meant to insult voodoo art forms. When my writing on the Buxtonian depravity is made into a conference paper, I will delete the word voodoo in it. I tender an apology to Kwayana and others who felt outraged.
However, having said that, I would like Brother Kwayana to know that I find all religions to contain philosophical flaws. Therefore, they are open to criticism. Voodoo religion is no exception. When I referred to the strategy of the Buxtonian killers as being based on voodoo theory, I was simply echoing the way I feel about religion, and was juxtaposing science and religion. It other words, voodoo political theory means an unscientific approach to theory. But I concede that I did single out voodoo because after all, I did not use another religious adjective.
I find no basis on the part of Brother Kwayana to compare my writings due to the mere mention of a word in my analysis with the work of Keane Gibson. Ms. Gibson has written seventy-two pages of race hate in which Hindu religion and East Indians in Guyana are painted in terms bordering on incitement to racial violence. Here is a book that in a very unpalatable way, turns events around and deny those very events ever existed. Even if you fault my use of the term "voodoo," my writing on Buxton was not an indictment of any race, cultural group religion, or community. I did not condemn the people of Buxton. And I did not discuss voodoo itself. I sense that in the last two paragraphs of his letter, Brother Kwayana is making a subtle comparison between Ms. Gibson and myself in that we both write and write fiercely and frankly and therefore we both should have our say. I hope I am imagining that a comparison was made because if it was then I resent it. I am a committed non-racist person and will never disgrace my family by asserting that within the culture of another race lies an unashamed ideology of extermination. I don't believe the culture of any race group in the world today has such an ideology. Ms. Gibson in her book uses the word "EXTERMINATION" more than four times and does so most shamelessly. I am genetically East Indian of Guyanese nationality but I have an unmitigated, unapologetic admiration and respect for the African -Guyanese and his/her contribution to the uniqueness of this Caribbean territory named Guyana. I believe I am a person of political integrity and the shape of my views has been in the main influenced by African-Guyanese of which Eusi Kwayana is one. I will never forgive myself if I ever use an anti-African term. That will never happen in my life. On the contrary, I ask Brother Kawyana to read Ms. Gibson 's book and he would not miss the ethnically directed venom that fills a significant amount of pages in that book. I have known Eusi Kwayana since my teenage days and I know that given who he is, Eusi Kwayana will never accept the general thrust of Kean Gibson's book. In closing, I will repeat what I think of Ms. Gibson' treatise - it belong to the thinking of an extremist, racist cabal which we often refer to in Guyana as the lunatic fringe