Ms. Gibson's book as a treacherous denial...
November 12, 2003
Permit me to kill three birds with one stone as they say in common Guyanese parlance. This will ease the effort of my having to pen three letters. I will like to devote a critical note on each of three statements made in the press recently.
First, the Stabroek editorial on Keane Gibson's book: It is a well-outlined, intellectual dismissal of both the main argument of and methodology used in the book. But there is a wide gap that ought to have been plugged by the editorial and there have been larger editorials than this one so space constraint was not an excuse. Stabroek missed the motive of Ms. Gibson for writing the book. Ms. Gibson is definitively saying that since 1992, when the PPP came to power, there was a planned regime of anti-African violence. When you read this exclamation there is no anxiety. The worrying moment comes when Gibson denies the other side of the coin, and that is that since 1997, there has been a systematic and relentless regime of anti-Indian violence. And this formation has led to the birth of two Indian rights groups, GIFT and GIHA. Both of these groups have a larger claim to proving anti-Indian violence than Ms. Gibson's record of the existence of anti-African violence.
Her denial of a planned violent anti-Indian platform is best exemplified when she says that ACDA is a body that seeks racial understanding but GIFT is ensconced in an ideology of racial domination. Here is a group that says our people are being killed and we need to speak out against it. Ms. Gibson's reaction to that feeling is to say you are lying; you want to dominate your opposing racial group. Well, aright. But what about the statistics? Who have been beaten, raped and murdered since 1997?
This is where Ms. Gibson can be likened to the king and his new clothes. The only difference is that whereas only a solitary little boy saw the king was naked, all Guyanese who live in Guyana have seen the nudity of Ms. Gibson's account.
To conclude, I think it is best to see Ms. Gibson's book as a treacherous denial of four and a half years of violence perpetrated against Indians. This doesn't mean that African people are not being killed. The recent mysterious deaths of a number of African Guyanese suggest that there are killers out there who murder people with impunity and the police force must start a high-powered intelligence unit to stem the tide. But whenever one talks about persons who kill and are free to do so, our minds go back to the Buxton madness, which was only stopped by the anger of the Americans. I wonder if Mr. Lesniak wasn't kidnapped if we still would not have had the invincible killers of Buxton. Now, it would be nice if Ms. Gibson could answer that question since she just did a booklet on racial violence in Guyana.
My second note relates to a letter by Vishnu Bisram in which he said that Guyana should strive to emulate Singapore and Malaysia. Mr. Bisram, himself, his letters in the print media and his endless polls would never have existed if Guyana, even under Forbes Burnham, were to emulate these two ossified, authoritarian systems that build up strong economies at the expense of every single dimension of human freedom. Mr. Bisram seems to have a fascination with authoritarian oligarchs. He extols the accomplishments of Singapore's Lee Kuan Yew and Malaysia Mahatir. Both of these men should be in front of the International Criminal Court of Justice for decades of human rights abuses in their own countries. Imagine the temerity of Mahatir to criticize Israel. Do you think Sharon could tamper with the Israeli judiciary and frame his opponent as a homosexual and have him jailed as Mahatir did to his rival, Anwar? Any Israeli Prime Minister who tries to interfere with the judiciary may find himself behind bars. It would be nice if Mr. Bisram could do a poll to see who the world admire as democratic leaders and this I can tell him, even without doing a survey of my own, Kuam Yew and Mahatir will run in a close to Hitler in the poll for the most disliked. Let Guyana remain poor and free but never become like the anti-free countries of Singapore and Malaysia. Final point Mr. Bisram - personally speaking, I prefer freedom to skyscrapers. How about you?
Thirdly, a student of mine told me Mr. Claude Chung wrote a letter to the press on world trade and mentioned the unmentionable. I haven't seen the passage my student referred me to but he told me that Mr. Chung wrote that the reason the developed countries help the third world is because they care. I have never seen any International Relations textbook that has even come close to saying that. Since Thucydides wrote the Peloponnesian War, no writer has argued that bigger countries give aid to poor countries out of selfless generosity. Well, I guess I have to tell my students about this one but how do I answer when they point me in the direction of the US fighting down three tiny islands in CARICOM for the mere seven percent of the European banana market that they possess? And, by the way, Mr. Chung - the US won.