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Grenade, press freedom, crime and politics

Eye on the Issues by GHK Lall

That live grenade endangering the lives of people at Kaieteur News prompts these two questions: Can democracy, the 21st century, and Guyanese politics and standards coexist?  Coexist constructively and peaceably and progress to a firm lasting footing?

It was a live grenade with the potential for mayhem and unthinkable maiming.  If it had exploded and struck, then what follows? It was a live grenade that did not inflict any physical damage, so what is next planned?  What is the thinking: to silence?  Or is to run out of town?  That is a lot of people to send packing.  What is the crime: a pencil and a press?

Whatever was the intention, and whoever is behind the attack, it is clear that decayed, snake infested bridges to a gory past are still firmly in place, and sometimes hold to ransom.  The nation is reminded that mentalities and methods remain inextricably immersed in the primordial bog of the shortest, surest distance between means and ends, and a willingness to go to any lengths to get desired results.  It is the manner of megalomaniacs obsessed with unfettered power, and unwilling to go another way.

It is a bog, part political, part criminal, that unleashes the absolute worst in too many, this readiness to descend and partner with the fraternity of criminality.  Amidst this stark context, there is this unbelieving chatter-bland and baleful-about democracy.  It must be the democracy of detonation, the democracy of danger, the democracy of destruction.  That old Guyanese saying is applicable:  “when daagcustumfuhsuk egg, then he duz….”  Yes, there are the murky and sinister intentions embodying great peril in that clasped arcing handful of carnage, and the gloved hands behind it.  This is the core of the matter.

The times have changed; but some are unchanging and still languish in the lost past; the darkness of noonday with all of its characteristic recklessness.  This is what fuels the explosive passions of those deterred and stymied (if not exposed and naked).  In contrast, the superseding era of this new century has its visions focused on embracing arm’s length, face-to-face presence and painstaking dialogue to cultivate consensus and cooperation and concern for citizens’ rights.  Citizens’ rights are irretrievably linked to that extension of good governance: the Fourth Estate.  It has its place, a prideful one; no matter how rambunctious or controversial.  This is what keeps things honest and men on the hard straight and narrow.

This is why I say it is a meaningless platitude in this society to wax loudly about “agreeing to disagree” and then leave such an unmistakably potent calling card, an invitation to a requiem.  The godfather sent a horse head left in a bed; some equivalent malevolent force left hard heavy metal.  Clearly, the self-discipline to do otherwise, to contemplate another route is missing.

Who and why will come to light with persuasive power, regardless of the result of investigations.  After all, this is the rumor capital of the world; there will be some truth surfacing in due time, no matter how miniscule, how unofficial.  To the publisher and people of Kaieteur News (and neighbors, too) I say do not be swayed by the threatened darkness and violence.  There will be adversarial retreat; the challenge is to be vigilant and to gather more of the incriminating to greet any return by the perverse forces arrayed against, and unready to move forward.

Whoever the source, whatever the motive, let there be no mistake in this day and hour, this is an assault and insult on all Guyanese.  The tools are there; and so, too, are the mindsets and the collaborating hands.  All of this must be met (if not confronted) with an immovable, irrepressible spirit in turn.

The language and force field of Kaieteur News must be: We will not be cowed.  We will not change course.  We cannot be moved.  We will continue to stand and fight.  We will stay the course.  The “we” extends to envelop the rest of us.