Last Updated on Sunday, 8 January 2023, 19:06 by Denis Chabrol
by GHK Lall
Huge sections of the population watched, read, listened, and absorbed what has unfolded in Mocha. Today, I make no point about passions, prejudices, or politics. I am thinking of two things; one is business oriented, while the other has to be the worst issue tabled at this time; I raise with trepidation, with few caring. I take the easy one first.
It is one thing to relocate a resident, who is only a resident. That is, one who lives in Mocha around that looming road, but earns their living elsewhere, possibly in occupations that have nothing to do with the land itself. In other words, they are not farmers, nor engaged in rearing sheep, cows, possibly pigs, or any such stock is remedied by the standard response. The standard being here is a house lot, take this cash, and now all is set to start over, other than the nostalgia of roots and years spent in a place called home, and all that such came to mean. What to do with a small man’s crop of animals, his other produce? How to compensate him for what he has, what his breeding (and earnings) potential could be? I don’t think that there were sane heads around this from the inception; or that good faith was practiced. Or, more sharply, when the soberest and coolest heads had to be that of the people spearheading the charge, none could be found.
I don’t know if this is possible in Guyana, but I suspend momentarily the political and racial components, and look at this in this immovable, instinctive manner: this is my home that is under siege, under attack. This is my livelihood, my earning capacity presently, my visions of the future filled in small block by small block, as in one sheep, one cow at a time, and these things take a lifetime. What do I do then? What price to my present, to my projections, to my unearned profits, to my own private vision of my personal prosperity? But of that, I understand that there has not been too much conversation. I am still to finalize in my mind what I would do, how I would react, should such circumstances have to be faced. To pour acid in the eye, there is the understanding (if accurate) that my home, my farm, my future is not in the way of anybody, or anything; at least, not as was originally articulated and accepted. How do I believe anything that is told to me, that it is genuine, that there are no underlying subterfuges, no motives and agendas not yet visible? In human terms, this is what Mocha distils to behind or before the excavators, the show of force, the overwhelming power of the State put on naked display. I am sorry, but this is not about ‘soft skills.’ Rather, it is about good faith and goodwill, and the perspicacity and sagacity, the courage also, to do what is right. Of this I say no more.
In political terms-and I venture there at this point-there are these pockets of resentment, boiling fury, simmering animosity, and poisoned mindsets, even more venomous visions. Human also in its unchanging essences. How do we begin to talk about ‘One Guyana’ in this heaving context, with so many observing, absorbing, analyzing, and coming to their own raw conclusions. What do we do about the many, tumultuous Mochas in the mind? One of anything infers, embeds, instils, and encircles some unifying reality; there is a togetherness, a steadiness, a commitment to mend whatever matters arise, rather than mangle and mash when pain clenches the teeth because the body is bent double. I know that to raise the issue of unity and togetherness (mending and healing) at this time in Guyana is not just out of place and out of order, it is the worst of heresies, the most contemptible of subjects. Oil has mutated us into that kind of heinous, reckless treachery. Any messenger daring to bring such a message, sound such a call, is sure to find no traction, not an ear of reception. I still have my tidings to share, and they will be, regardless of who smirks, who snarls, who screams in primal rage.
We either have one country in the fullest, wisest sense of the term, or we have many enemies under a tent. Or too many scorpions in too small a bottle. We have to bend over backwards and try everything to understand, to reason, to accommodate fairly and squarely. That is the richness of true oneness. I don’t think we even drew near to my thinking, what I recommend. The President ran over before he was run over. As a preemption, it is powerful. But to what degree of lingering, seething antagonism? Money may buy temporary stability, but it never can buy identity and loyalty. The hard hand leads to a heavy heart fuels dark feelings, which is how things flare uncontrollably. In time when a Mocha is thought to be forgotten, it is not. And when all the Mochas are lumped together, and the sum sickens, enrages, and energizes, I hope that somebody out there, up there, listens. I trust that somebody remembers these little sounds from the wilderness, of where Guyana should have been, but is not, because of what leaders and governments did not have any interest doing. Oneness, unity, togetherness, and harmony: how can these be when we have what we just did in Mocha, and in the most callous of terms?