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Let us not be drawn into any form of ethnic revenge or tit for tat by Dr. David Hinds

Tonight (Tuesday) Guyana has crossed yet another dangerous line. A mere 48 hours after a former Head of Government and State publicly suggested to his successor that governance in Guyana should include “kicking some asses,” an activist known for his anti-government protest was shot dead while walking the streets of his community urging his fellow citizens to come out and vote in the upcoming elections.

The barefaced murder of Courtney Crum-Ewing must now alert us that Guyana has become a semi-fascist state where protest by ordinary citizens is punishable by summary execution. This is not the first murder in recent times of an ordinary citizen exercising his or her right to protest against the current government; three years ago three protestors at Linden were shot dead by police while protesting against a proposed government electricity hike. Other anti-government activists, notably Mark Benschop and columnist Freddie Kissoon have been physically attacked. This murder also has echoes of the assassination a decade ago of known anti-government activist, Ronald Waddel.

A few weeks ago, I had begun to warn that this upcoming election would bring out the worst in the PPP’s ethnic arsenal, but I was quickly dismissed as a pessimist who is too preoccupied with race. The PPP cannot escape responsibility for Crum-Ewing’s murder. Political rhetoric matters. The atmosphere that was generated by the theatrics and rhetoric of PPP leaders at Babu John on Sunday is tantamount to a license to wage war. The “kick some asses” statement and its subsequent endorsement by other PPP leaders, in our charged ethnic and political environment, is an expression of political pugilism that could only lead to mayhem. When this is coupled with the clearly expressed ethnic identity of the PPP, the battle lines around the upcoming elections are clearly drawn.

The PPP, already with the blood of the Linden martyrs on its hands, have now claimed another innocent victim. Another father, son, brother and freedom fighter has fallen victim to the insatiable lust for power by the ruling clique. As someone who has been speaking up about African Guyanese victimhood, I am compelled to appeal to African Guyanese, in this moment of murder, the murder of another Black brother, to remain focused.

Let the murder of one of our brothers strengthen our resolve to rid ourselves of this modern day tyranny. Let us not be drawn into any form of ethnic revenge or tit for tat. Let us instead use Courtney’s body as a guiding compass to the ballot boxes on May 11. That is what the brother died on the frontline urging us to do. Let us not touch one East Indian man, woman or child. They are as much victims of the political depravity as the rest of us. Let us raise Black dignity to its highest peak and show the world that blood shedding in the quest for political power is not part of our word view. Let us show those who shed our blood that we are ahead of them; that we are militants for racial peace, justice, equality and sisterhood/brotherhood.

To our East Indian brethren, I appeal to you to disassociate yourselves from bloodletting for political power. Turn your face away from murderous packs. Reach for your nobleness and help rid Guyana of the scourge that has been heaped on us. Do not take responsibility for Crum Ewing’s murder. Join us on May 11 to deliver our country from the depths.

Dr. David Hinds, a political activist and commentator, is an Associate Professor of Political Science and Caribbean and African Diaspora Studies at Arizona State University. More of his writings and commentaries can be found on his Youtube Channel Hinds’ Sight: Dr. David Hinds’ Guyana-Caribbean Politics and on his website www.guyanacaribbeanpolitics.com