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OPINION: The “zone of convergence” must widen and encircle; must get real

By GHK Lall

It is encouraging to read that the President and Opposition Leader started meeting yesterday (Friday, Aug. 9, 2019) to discuss the way forward. It is the only option: meeting and exploring for finalizing; it is that and nothing else. Nothing else is there, other than the meaningless sounds and postures through public advertisements that do nothing for this country: sells nothing, buys nothing but trouble.

Each leader was accompanied by another from within his inner circle. The gathering must be narrowed from four to two soon. I have been and seen where all others had to leave the room and leave only two. That is how the real, hard, trailblazing business is pounded and grounded into grains, and then sifted meticulously. Both sides know that their positions are palpable, yet invisible to each other, unimaginable to the other, even in the contemplation.

The hands are that obvious; the contentions and promises that unreal, so nonnegotiable in the usual, old way that the uncharted is what it will have to be, where both will have to go. Whether liked or not, this is the way I see it.

Because the way that I view this – and I am absolutely positive that both leaders and groups see things the same way – is that movement is not merely necessary, is past vital, and is now mandatory. They both know that all the prior positions have gone out the window. Yes, they are there; but those positions were always unworkable and unpalatable; and on that, there was only going to be the unmoving.

But moving is happening; and that is an indication that positions neither can be seen nor recognized for what they are. To repeat: they are, in a single word: unacceptable. Unacceptable to one another. Does not sell. No traction. Nor leave any room for me and my people. For, when all is hammered and beaten into the wood of political and racial consciousnesses, that is what pierces and remains irremovably fastened deep into the texture of the flesh of the psyche. The flesh and psyche quiver uncontrollably at the implications of that lack of inclusion, of that unthinking, unsatisfying isolation that abandons, dismisses, and casts out.

It is going to be a most grueling process; this is but the first movement in what is already an exquisitely tuned and timed work of political choreography. I say this, because there was the lush orchestration of “zone of convergence” in that both sides have maintained their existing positions (Stabroek News and Kaieteur News August 10). As an interrogator of, and experimenter with, the language, I certainly do appreciate “zone of convergence” and took careful note of the qualifier attached: maintenance of existing positions. Those are nonstarters, and everybody knows so. My interpretation is: listened to, but not heard; and reciprocal agreement that that is where you are. Chinese water torture in medieval chambers it is.

Nobody is conceding anything yet and hedging bets publicly. The best option is to wait on the Chief Justice (Ag). Wait on the Gecom, as led, if not powered, by its new chairwoman. I did say before that women are the keepers of this Guyanese kingdom and running this country. And after that eternity of five days waiting (to see who comes out ahead and how through what), then leaders will have their own announcement to a waiting Guyanese electorate as to more movement on the way forward. Excruciating it has been, and it will continue to be. As an aside, I see both learned ladies offering a range in which to graze; imitations of the CCJ: fix it politically. Specify it, at the leadership level.

And that realization is why there is movement by centimeters. Make no mistake (remember what I said: choreography), leaders know the end game, where all roads must lead, no matter how slowly, how torturously, how stubbornly. No one man, no single political group, no solitary racial segment is coming out of this pure and like before. Not a single one can be left behind.

To the skeptics, I say: out of the blue (well, not quite), there was that meeting; just like the chairwoman’s consensus appointment. I stand by again, what is my oft-repeated position, the winds of understanding come. Slowly. Almost stealthily. But they come in quiet creep, one bended knee at a time. Just like a toddler groping to find a way forward in a strange, new world. Lots of ground to cover; many options, previously not considered, to be followed and peered into to determine where they will carry.

Political Guyana will persist in being a troubled pathway, until the last one is taken, without public kicking and screaming. All Guyana should expect more smiles, more warmth; and, as artificial as they may be, there will be a different kid of continuity. How can it be any other way?

As a Sunday offering to my fellow Guyanese, I share an extract (many to follow later) from a huge tome I am reading on Exxon. It says, “Exxon’s strategy…the weight of the corporation’s investments and the cash flow it shared with local governments overwhelmed the economy and became the central prize in violent local contests for power.” That was “in impoverished African countries.” Is that not Guyana, too, with its economic impoverishment and (not yet violent) local contests for power?

We have been pitted against one another in very tight, taut, and tense confines. Against each other. It is why I insist that the “zone of convergence” (I really do like that one) has to be movement to some common front, if united in name only. I sense something…