Black people must fight with history not myths

Stabroek News

November 7, 2003

Related Links: Letters on 'Cycle of Racial Oppression in Guyana' death
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Dear Editor,

The letter of Eusi Kwayana pointing Freddie (Kissoon) in the direction of being more sensitive when he writes on culture and religion and the subsequent apology by Freddie show the measure of these two great Guyanese. This is vintage WPA political culture. How unfortunate for the future of Guyana that this party is in decline. But fortunate for us, we still have two outstanding thinkers left in Freddie and Bro. Kwayana.

I have not read Kean Gibsonís book, (Freddie calls it a booklet). I have seen the four part series of Freddieís critique on the net and Davidís (Hinds) reaction to the book too. I have deep respect for the political integrity of these two young Guyanese, and the political culture that comes out of that integrity. And it is clear to me that both find Gibsonís book troubling. Freddie is extremely harsh on it, contemptuously disdainful of its content. I found it typical of Freddie when he said after reading it he threw it up into a tree in the national park. David on the other hand, takes a more moderate position, testimony of course to the contrasting personalities of these two former WPA stalwarts - Freddie, the fiery Don Quixote from Wortmanville, David the cultural and political rejuvenator of Buxton.

I suspect I will get into trouble if I condemn Dr. Gibsonís book as Afro-centric extremism without reading it. I am bound to be crucified by the other half of the political divide in Guyana. I will reserve my judgment until I have read it though it is proving difficult to locate copies of the book. But this I would say; in the US, we have our fair share of Afro-centric analysis that does not advance the cause of Black people in both the US and the Caribbean. My last encounter with this kind of stuff was at Howard University when a group of Afro-American students led by two professors argued that Jesus Christ was a Blackman who was crucified, more, because of his colour rather than for what he preached. The emotions that went into the argument were hard to believe. I simply asked what that has to do with the condition of Black people in the US only to be told that Blacks must recapture the heroes that Zionism stole from them. That was the end of my presence at the meeting.

Since as a youth in Guyana at the University, I have had problems with Afro-centric studies though as a science student I was less capable of arguing against it as people like Freddie Kissoon and others on campus. Afro-centric extremism cannot serve the cause of Black people. I see it as aping its Euro-centric counterpart. Black people must fight with history not with historical myths. This is the valuable legacy Bro. Kwayana has left with every Black Guyanese that he has come into contact with. I support Freddie a hundred percent when he said that if Dr. Gibsonís book is racist, Bro. Kwayana will interpret it as such. I havenít read the book which I confessed to above, but I am strongly inclined to believe that it is not a work of art that can contribute to a political solution in Guyana Finally, Ravi Devís boldness in saying that if it werenít for Indians Guyana would have remained a mangrove is dangerous Indo-centric racism. But thank God that in Guyana, African people have a David Hinds and Indians have a Freddie who do not represent the apartheid racism that resides in their respective communities. Guyana may soon perish if the third force takes too long to come out of its womb.

Yours faithfully,

Ndiola Omotola