Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 January 2023, 18:13 by Denis Chabrol
by GHK Lall
Peru is in turmoil. Across the ocean, Pakistan is unsettled. Around those parts, Sri Lanka has settled down to a phony peace. Right next door, there is Brazil, and it is rocking. Even fortress America has its work cut out for it. The common thread is that the people are not taking what came out of the ballot box, or the organs of government. Another strain that I detect is that winning is not the end of the matter, corruption (somewhere -treasury, voting machinery, leadership, and so on) is an impassioned accelerant, and the poor left behind are not satisfied with minding their manners, and behaving themselves by keeping quiet.
It seems to me that we have all the combustible elements that roil and shake other societies right here in dear old Guyana, which by the way is no more. Now, we have the greatest live wire of all, oil. It is 50,000 volts and its stretches all the way across the 83,000 square ones. Will we hold or will we fold? This is what bothers me. Because the studies of societies that are more susceptible to, actually live with, conflict on the inside-dormant or flaring, muted or expressive-are those populated by the few haves and the multitudes of have nots. I think that this should sound and feel familiar, and we don’t have to reach for textbooks, or cast our eyes and minds to other shores. It is of where there is the perception (perception only, possibly) that there is a grounded unfairness about how the pot is dished, the manner in which the pie is sliced.
In Iraq, it took on a sectarian flavor and pungency; if those were all, nobody would have cared, none had to intervene. The fallouts-by any means of reckoning, through any convention of calculation-were costly. In Venezuela, the empowered poor, armed with their memories of those who took care of them (even when departed), rise to meet any challenge, resist any inroads into what they got, what they refuse to relinquish. I hope, I think, I believe that the clearheaded among the natives recognize the underpinnings of what I put in the public domain. It is my position too that the learned and wise in this country also have enough of their senses about them to discern what I am projecting from the foundations of the underpinnings that exist today.
It is not comforting what we live with today. There are those in the domestic domain who are viewed as dogs, and are reduced to the level of underdogs. I can identify with having been one, if not both, of those, at some time or the other. This stark and severe condition does not reconcile with all this stupendous wealth flashing about, floating around. It is the stuff from which misunderstanding and misinterpretation are born, take form, become deformed. The result is usually chronic misery, whether through the expression of self-protective fear or bottled-up energy of an uglier putridity; it is a word that begins with the letter ‘h’ and it is usually fueled by fear. Of course, nobody wants to hear about any of this. Or to touch it due to anxieties about whose anger will be kindled. Or to take a stand and say that what we coexist with, in seething fashion, is unworkable and unacceptable and most unwise. That is, considering the enormous bulk of the national treasure, the size of our tiny population, and the optics of what is doled out to some versus what is held back from others. Should anyone need any evidence of what I mean, and where I am, I refer them to last year’s budget, and the one coming up next week, which should be mirror images of each other, in one fateful, arguably fatal, respect.
It is that those who have, those who have already been given much, will have much more to celebrate. And those, who expected much, will have to console themselves that there will be a time and place for them to come into their own; perhaps, to be given some bigger consideration, even to be treated on an equal footing. Of this, the intention is to pen some more a little later this week. Hopefully, there may be that ‘oneness’ of consideration, of inclusion, of the kind of calculation that is generous and unique, because neither has ever been seen before in this Guyana of ours.
I revisit the hotspots and flashpoints identified at the beginning, some cooler now after long years of tensions and destabilizing torments. My interpretation of developments and events is that common citizens are not content to take things on the chin and then retreat to lick their wounds. Instead, they stand up, rise up to full stretch, speak up, and then shape up into the distorted and dangerous. It is what is now a perpetuation of the searing divisiveness that seems to be the norm in many parts of the world, including, of all places, the United States of America. The sheep have departed the pastures; the enraged are the ones that roam, at will. And that could never be a long-term solution. Some may be convulsed with the regular partisan insecurities; I urge to heed the early alerting of what could be, if we decide to keep going like we have done.