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OPINION: The Terrence Campbell Affair – a case of continuing agonies

By GHK Lall

The abrupt resignation/withdrawal of businessman, Mr. Terrence Campbell, from the recently announced A New and United Guyana (ANUG) is indicative of much trauma, and the ongoing anguish in political, divided Guyana. I hear him. I understand his position. It is never easy or simple; it is simply one (the) integral aspect of the chronic uncertainties and dark, impenetrable thunderclouds that envelop Guyana.

A fresh group emerges; some will disagree as to its freshness or originality; but that is beside the point. And almost immediately there is this reverberating thud-jarring, dampening, thought-provoking-of internal rupture. Reports are too much partisanship. Right or wrong, accurate or exaggeration, it is the real Guyana. It is the searing, unforgettable, unforgiving sickness of Guyana that even the most careful, authentic, and big picture, long view national positions from the few reputable stir and invoke great consternation, greater suspicion, and still greater paralysis. Whether this is what happened within ANUG is neither my interest nor focus.

The broader thrust and thinking are that this is what yokes and cripples on a national scale; the weakening and diminishing that comes from nonstop hobbling of mind, movement, morale. The traction, the blood (soul) trust, the mutual respect and appreciation, so crucial to advancing from the racial and political abyss are simply not present in the strength and sinew so desperately needed. In this national context, a legalistic stance appears biased; a hard, personal call prejudiced; and a principled vision seems polluted with the old dirt, the old toxins, and the same old pain. Always.

This land weeps for the courageous who neither sees nor interprets nor concludes the color of the environmental bile and venom, or the individual and collective ooze of the gallbladder that splashes so effortless upon one and all, without exception. It is the stranglehold inflicted by the color of race, the color of our entrenched immovable (perhaps, irreversible) politics so believed, so embraced, so worshipped. This has trashed, siloed, and barricaded a whole nation. In this land, there are no such creatures as neutrals, or centrists, or progressives; none considered objective personages. So citizens say. They are overwhelming and overpowering in numbers and cast-iron racial ideology. Just cannot be. Unbelievable. Lean philosophically in one direction and the label is applied sharply and gleefully: propagandist. The ability to think and parse does not exist. Incline spiritually in another direction and the knives are unsheathed: partisan. Nothing else is known; no room for other than what fits a preconceived mindset. Has to be.

Take a stand for something, anything, and automatically it assumes the contours and texture of the racial and political. Even though things did not start out that way; or had not a thread of relationship with either of those two damning terminal Guyanese diseases. It is the manmade cancer cultivated within first of the soul, and long before in the national conscience now ruined and in tatters. Only the few brave ones are supremely confident enough (maybe, foolish enough) to challenge the tide and confront the fray. Where are they? In this country, just thinking outside the box is traitorous; any alien articulation politically treasonous. These cultural and environmental truths have mutated into the foundation and edifice of the national character. All of it.

Both sides look critically at outsiders and unknowns. Reflexively, they are suspect and unwelcome and subject to the harshest dirtiest scrutiny. Stand quietly at the periphery: bears watching and doubting. Dare to speak out: ripe for the confronting and upending. Take a step into the snake pit: and it is devising to destroy. There is no trusting of one another; not when politics and power are involved. Men may trust others with family and money; not with politics and power. Unless this society rapidly develop a hitherto foreign capacity for listening, thinking, and dedicating to a more considerate, more expansive, and more inclusive way of life, then I believe that it will always languish at the bottom of the barrel buried in the very depths of the gutter. The bottom of the bottom. Thoughtless. Spineless. Dispiriting.

I am already at a place that prompts me to think that this country not only celebrates where it is at, but belongs there. That it has no interest in going anywhere else. These are the pulsating emotions generated by the ugly sleazy pageantry of dirty Guyanese politics. It is one without spiritual or psychological perception or vision. Thus, a country plunges deeper and deeper into Dante’s circles.