Ms Gibson’s premise is false, there is no evidence of research

Stabroek News

October 20, 2003

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Dear Editor,

I would like to reply to Mr Williams’ letter captioned “The debate on the ethnic situation is lopsided” (16-10-2003), which deals with the Keane Gibson book. He referred to the prejudices of the Indo- and Afro Guyanese people in their everyday living and how they treat each other in their daily life.

I myself would not try to throw fuel on the fire but Mr Williams should know that an academic like Dr. Gibson should know better than to write such a distorted and untrue story of Indo-Guyanese in such a charged atmosphere as Guyana. He attacks Mr. Kissoon but I think that Mr. Kissoon has every right to speak out against such a debased report. There is no evidence that anyone is out to destroy Dr Gibson. Mr. Kissoon is simply asking Dr. Gibson to produce the evidence of what she has written. So far she has not.

If Mr. Williams thinks that Gibson’s racist diatribe is true, he should bring out the research evidence. Secondly, he refers to the attitude of Indians and Africans in Guyana’s society. Having been born in Guyana, I have experienced many embarrassing incidents in my dealings with Afro-Guyanese but that doesn’t mean that I hate them. Most of my best friends are Afro-Guyanese and we experience insults from across the board but Mr Williams should know that it was the colonial power whom the Africans admired so much, who divided the races in order to remain in power and they had passed down the stereotyped Indian whom Dr Gibson has inculcated into her belief system and used it as a racist tool.

I have experienced many hostile reactions between the Indian and African in growing up in Guyana but all of these occurred in the flare- up of tempers and petty quarrels and they always ended up amicably. Each curse and rant at the other and sometimes fist-fights erupt but these are nothing but `flash in the pan’ incidents. There was nothing like the long drawn out hatred now being fuelled by people like Dr. Gibson who is being pushed by a political agenda.

Come Mr. Williams, no one is out to destroy a proud black woman but she should respect the society she evolved from and back up her report with historical and cultural evidence. Her 72 page book is an unbridled accusation with no authenticity. Any author would have to pen a 200 to 300 page book to write adequately on such a vast subject, and really make a cultural point and this involves a vast amount of research. Her premise is entirely false and dangerous in a society such as Guyana’s.

Yours faithfully,

Juven Bachan