We should highlight the peculiarly Guyanese things that are done
February 16, 2004
I refer to the letter captioned "We need to start seeing this land as our land".
This was one of the most heart-warming letters that I have read for a long time. I generally say that one of the main things that are wrong with Guyana is that there are too many Indians and Africans living here and not enough Guyanese. I am glad that someone agrees with me.
I would like to challenge you to start a column in which you highlight the peculiarly Guyanese things that are done. Let me give you a few examples:
* There is a musical band from Eccles that comprises both persons of African and Indian origin who have managed to perfectly blend the instruments into one harmonious sound.
* My little friend Tina is of Indian origin but she is the best ballroom dancer that I know. In addition she has managed to incorporate the hand movements from Indian dance into her Latin moves.
* There is a group of 4 young ladies of African Origin who do great dance that is Indian in origin but has a little extra African swing.
* Plans by one group to revive the singing of our national songs within schools. These songs speak of the beauty of this country.
* A great sari (and other styles) that combine African print and other Indian material.
These are just a few. Let us look for them and foster them and let everyone know about them. Did anyone know that "Amazing Grace" sounds real well when accompanied by a harmonium and that if you accompany Hindu prayers by a violin it sounds absolutely enchanting? And that if the audience knows what the prayer is about, regardless of race they will join in the chant? I found that out at the Sai Baba Center last Saturday.
The fact is that regardless of the way we came here - by walking over the Bering Straits, by force in slave ships, or by trickery with promises of wealth etc, we are here now and we cannot go back. Let us not waste this great opportunity to show the world that it is possible to create a "cook-up" of many peoples in one land all held together by the "milk" of love of this land. If we can do that then all the pain and suffering of all those who have gone before us would not have been in vain.
Already we have made a start. Whenever I read of intense religious conflict in other countries, I am so glad that at any official ceremony in Guyana I have to stand and listen to four prayers- Hindu, Christian, Muslim and Bahai. As we approach Mashramani let us who consider ourselves Guyanese (with no descriptors in front of the word) rededicate ourselves to work towards increasing the number of Guyanese who live in this country.
With this in mind I would like to throw out a challenge to Guyanese. Everyday we sit besides persons of other ethnic origins or other religious persuasions. We do this all day and at the end of the day we go home, but do we really get to know any of these persons? Is our ignorance about each other lessened by the hours we spend together? I do not think so, so here is what I would like us to do. I would like each of us to deliberately attempt to really know another person who is "different" from us. And I mean really get to know them to the point where we can call that person our sister or brother. Know-ledge dispels ignorance and can lead to respect and ultimately unity.
As I close may God bless Guyana. This I ask in the name of Lord Krishna, Jesus, Mohammad, Baha'u'llah and all of the Messengers who God has sent to direct our paths back to the divine.
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