OPINION: The death of a president, the death of decency

Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 May 2024, 22:49 by Writer

by GHK Lall

The world is in an ugly place. I make an adjustment: politics have made for hateful relationships, inclusive of local politics and geopolitics. I point to a development on the foreign front. The death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in a copter crash underscored what I see, hear, and absorb. It emphasizes what I speak to, share in the public arena. Politics have made for a sick environment, a sicker state of mind. To my dismay, this has been seen for endless seasons in Guyana, has gotten unbelievably worse. The conclusion comes from personal experience. But the death of a foreign president first.

The US State Department, NATO, and the UN expressed sympathy at the abrupt passing of President Raisi. In the blink of an eye, the daggers came out. There is a flurry of disagreement and hard criticism. To share condolences on a death is now a matter of condemnation, relations are this bitter, memories much longer. Clearly, there is considerable, unimaginable levels of hate and the malice that such fuels in this world, and which have contorted thinking and expectation. When a death is an opportunity to add to the deformities that plague the times, then it is a grim time, indeed. When the inhumanity in man takes control in a time of death and loss for a nation, for some family, then I assert that man has metamorphosed into the monstrous. When I don’t want to hear the sound of that name (in any context), I do not and cannot find it in myself to utter a good word about that same someone (regardless of the development), then I might as well join the beasts of the field and devour grass. So low would the road traveled be. If there is this twistedness in a time of death, I do not foresee how there can be less of that intensity of passion when there is a birth. Or when there is news about a crippling sickness. When we damn one dead man, then it is so simple, so effortless, to denounce a whole nation, hundreds of millions here, several hundreds more over there.

If anyone thinks that I am leaning on the spiritual, I lean forward to correct ever so slightly. It is reality. Rage and rowdiness. Darkness and vileness that now consume minds, deform societies. The sophisticated countries that have had a head start of several centuries on the huddled masses scattered all over the world are in the forefront of the battleground for brutalizing and bruising (often irreparably) of those declared to be sworn enemies. Who have been more depraved, more deadly, than Europeans, notwithstanding the pockets of great ones among them that did so much for the world? In the world of today, there are not mere passing opponents anymore, only blood enemies lasting a lifetime, perhaps generations. When there are only those in considerations, then all that is desired is to draw blood. Even a death with its sting cannot tame the rabid, turbulent beast that heaves inside. I know that there are some rays of light amid the sweeping, impenetrable darkness. To find them is the challenge, so rare they are. I am grappling to draw close to any one such ray. Any help is welcome.

Looking inward (Guyana), I recoil. It is a war zone, and there is no uncertainty that that is not an exaggeration at all, even an understatement, perhaps. Leaders set the tone in hostility and resentfulness, and their disciples have a bone to chew on and chew on, and nothing else. Opponents get mangled; becomes a source of glee in the battles that Guyanese wage against each other. There is no letting go, only getting even, and then some. The more the blows, the higher the temperature, the more scorching the outcomes, the deeper the joy. Social media is fertile soil for the countless local warzones. Like some of the protestors in the US, some don’t even know what the issue is about, whether objection is justified; all they know is that it feels good to be part of the crowd. The magnetism of an out-of-control mob seizes and doesn’t let go. For me to look for the good in a national leader and have the honesty (gall?) to say it must be there publicly is a cardinal sin. I can persist in my quest, despite serious convictions about the man (men) being personal revilers, national betrayers, and despisers of truth. I may be damned as the worse of the worst, an unforgivable racial renegade, but there is no giving up seeing good in others, to think well of adversaries. I need help. It would be joyful to come across others of a similar mindset. Lord, help us, me. A man, a president, a family member and somebody’s friend, dies in a battering storm. And the best that can be evoked is to continue the battering of the age. Call me an apostate, an incorrigible, but count me out.