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OPINION: Those bomb scares

By GHK Lall

There is a confirmed official report of a bomb scare was called into the University of Guyana last week. Last week Monday, it was shared that another of these troubling, definitely dangerous, scares was experienced at a city school. This is not good, whether at an educational institution where there are older, more mature, students or at a school where the audience is younger, much younger, and easily susceptible to issues of panic and control, and unanticipated peril.

For the bomb scare that was called in to the city school around mid-morning on Monday of last week was one attended by children all the way down to the nursery level. This means little children as young as just under four years were impacted. Negatively. Something is wrong with this development; wrong with the picture; wrong with the people actually initiating and executing such a phone call; wrong with the people, the intellectual fingerprints (if the caller was not acting alone) behind such a serious and sordid situation. This should not be viewed as the work of a crank or a prank. That is totally out of any sober thoughtful consideration. Any kind of consideration, including and especially the political, if such were to be the case.

This has to be condemned in the strongest possible terms as the work of social anarchists bent on fomenting dissent, intensifying pressure, and leading to places where this society cannot go, and must not go. It is beyond the unmentionable and unthinkable, it is also highly contemptible, and serves no constructive purpose. None. If, by some chance, there is a political linkage, then this can only be viewed in the harshest, most deplorable light. Let this be made clear and right up front: no aspersion of any kind is intended in that direction, or at any person, or at any group, political or otherwise.

Still, there is much that has to be said and rather bluntly. First, the political history of this society, particularly as matters have gravitated and escalated (declined) during past elections seasons, does not offer either much comfort or much confidence, as to either the reliability, even ability, of key groups to walk a purely peaceful and politically principled line. There are no innocents here. Second, an ugly start has been made at places of learning. Where and what is next on this undermining agenda has to be the automatic follow-up question. There was that occurrence at a top city school a few weeks back, which should be considered of a privately malicious nature. The scare at UG does not fall into such a euphemistic and polite category. It is neither inappropriate nor untimely to question, given what has happened, as to where next and how. And, of course, by whom.

Unfortunately, the field of opportunity is wide open and inviting, be it the copycat, the damn fool, or those reckless enough to play stupid games with the combustible. In addition, tensions are quite high in opposing camps, and sometimes, the die-hards or adventurous take things into their own hands, and too far, without a second thought or a second of hesitation.

Therefore, it is imperative that all political leaders seize the moment not only to caution their followers (especially the known loose particles), but to go out of their way to reassure the public that the well-being of this entire society is of paramount importance to them as leaders, their philosophy and conduct as a political entity, and the clean aboveboard road down which this specific national elections season is going to be conducted. Those messages should be affirmed and reaffirmed at every opportunity, as the alternatives can only be tantamount to Pyrrhic victories. Such public commitments should be followed by other societal leaders and groups, and closely monitored by the media and other civil groups for adherence in word, spirit, and deed.

Further, and even more unfortunately, this could be preaching to political atheists and agnostics, whose first and foremost interests are about party and power, and not necessarily in that order. What follows has to be placed in the public domain: battle stations are being, if not already, drawn, and troops indoctrinated and geared up for a confrontation. Unless sanity and the greatest of care are exercised, this promises to deteriorate into full-fledged conflict.

As is well known, the politics of this country has never been less than hostile, a word closely associated with belligerence is being meticulously avoided. It begins with a “w.” With so many powerful helpful tools around, and resources and agents to match, bomb scares could come to look like child’s play and amateur hour. Let there be great will by one and all through immovable commitment to not descend to such an unrecoverable, harrowing-to-contemplate, abyss. This has to be a time for maturity of the highest order and supreme statesmanship. There will be no winners, if the worst comes to worst. It is hoped that deafness has not already taken hold.