The evidence of ethnic polarisation is clear
Stabroek News
March 1, 2004

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Dear Editor,

I refer to the letter captioned "An empirical study is needed to ascertain the extent of ethnic polarization", (22.2.2004) by Rovin Stanley.

Mr. Stanley seeks to dispute my assertion of an ineluctable truth: Guyana's chief societal impediment is ethnic polarization, but his method of argument is indeed weird. Stanley claims that my position is flawed because "it is only supported by a few vain sects in our society." This is audacious nonsense. Because only a few in our society have had the perspicacity and the honesty to pierce that superficial veneer of obscurantism and were able to assert the reality of this phenomenon does not vitiate or detract in any way from the validity of the finding.

Stanley's call for an "empirical study" is sheer foolishness." After all that is documented on the excesses of ethnic conflict in Guyana, the PPP still has the immoral temerity to tell us that we need to "ascertain the extent of the conflict."

This is sufficient evidence to prove that the PPP is disconnected from the traumas of the mass of their supporters.

Why is it that after more than forty years of an ethnic conflict that has effected a complete demoralization of Indians in Guyana, the PPP is still uncertain about the extent of the conflict?

There is more than enough empirical evidence: evidence based on, concerned with, or verifiable by observation or experience rather than by theory to show that Guyana has an ethnic security dilemma that is a tangible reality. There is more than enough empirical evidence to show that this tangible reality is impossible to address without altering the mode of governance. The voting pattern at elections and the concomitant toxification of the Guyanese sociology during this period is enough empirical evidence to assert this.

Rovin Stanley attempts to obfuscate the ethnic violence of the 1960's. He writes "The consensus in Guyana is that these were politically motivated issues." Apparently Mr. Stanley does not know what is a consensus. The violence of this period was politically triggered not motivated. The PPP and PNC represented the two main ethnic groups and any clash between these two bodies would inevitably result in the clash of the two main ethnic groups.

Stanley writes that Balram Singh Rai was expelled from the PPP because of charges of racism. If Rai was a racist, why was he able to command the respect of people like Eusi Kwayana and Fenton Ramsahoye? Mr. Stanley should read historian Clem Seecharran's paper 'Balram Singh Rai's Anti Communism and Cultural Idealism.' Seecharran writes "Unlike Jagan, Rai repudiated Marxism's capacity to eradicate 'false consciousness', such as self definition on the basis of race. He also rejected its supposed superiority as an instrument of economic development."

This was enough to estrange Rai from Jagan's men of faith for whom Marxism according to Fenton Ramshoye "was like a religion" and as a result his doom from Jagan's party much in the same manner as Khemraj Ramjattan was inevitable.

I wish to say this to Mr. Stanley: ROAR and Amar Panday have never sought to fan any flame of racism in Guyana. ROAR is committed to a Guyana where the dignity of all of our peoples is upheld. We believe that as Booker T. Washington in his Up from Slavery had shown, the inherent capacity for goodness is universal but it is our position that this inherent capacity is invariably contained and manifested in the cultures of people. Hence we feel that the diversity of culture should be allowed to flourish.

We however reject that Marxist Leninist socialist approach of trying to fuse all into one jumbled confused working mass which is the kind of thinking that is behind Burnham's assimilationist vision of one people one nation one destiny.

This retrograde vision has been rejected in all civilized countries by "multiculturalism".

It is the PPP with their chronic denial and partisan interests who are responsible for fueling racism in Guyana because they have vacillated and prevaricated with our ethnic security dilemma instead of addressing the issue frontally and with honesty.

Yours faithfully,

Amar Panday