OPINION: The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born & The Guyana Man

Last Updated on Thursday, 11 July 2024, 17:34 by Writer

By Dr Randy Persaud

Recently, I took cognizance of GHK Lall’s ‘existential subjectivity’. This was a fancy way of speaking about the fantastic elasticity St. Gabriel takes with facts, with reality, and with the truth. You have seen the ways he bends the facts, twists and turns them, manipulates them, all in the name of achieving a level of textual viscosity, narrational flourish, rhythmic movement, poetry, praise, admiration, even awe. And yes, he has sucked in quite a lot of attention at the expense Irfaan Ali, Bharrat Jagdeo, Ashni Singh, and Nandlall, all good, productive men, around whose name he has attempted to build an empire of falsehoods and lies. To no avail, of course.

All the while, St. Gabriel worshipped the Elder God (Granger), but only to abandon him upon the emergence of the Little God (Lil-G, Hughes) on the political scene. Nigel Hughes has categorically refused to do the right thing and stand down from his relationship with Exxon. This relationship with Exxon is akin to an attorney representing both the plaintiff and the defendant. You should know that one of them is paying a lot more.

This apparent betrayal broke poor St. Gabriel’s heart. This is no ordinary heartbreak because, I feel certain, that GHK fancies himself the articulate Guyanese version of Oyo’s husband, the Man, in Ayi Kwei Armah’s 1968 postcolonial classic, The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born. You may recall that the Man imagined himself as that solitary, solipsistic soul in all of Nkrumah’s Ghana – that refused take a bribe, that followed the law, that saw the destiny of a continent, and the promise of a civilization on his shoulders. Staggering as it may seem, there are these types, and GHK Lall is the Guyana Man, abstract, recondite, committed.

The prize-winning Guyanese sociologist and poet Arnold Harrichand Itwaru anticipated the likes of St. Gabriel and captured them brilliantly in a short poem – “the academic”- (1987)

Abstract, articulate, he does not know

his own abandonment, he swaggers, esoteric

through dawns aflame with sacrifice,

his blind eye speaking savagery.

he mutters self-propped cantos of iambic

oblivion, his wise noise dissolute like smog

he pursues his own voice, his echo modelling

his echo amidst palaces and politicos…

That’s right. Abstract, articulate, he pursues his own voice, he swaggers esoteric. You want evidence, well here is evidence from GHK Lall’s last article – “my life is my not own. It is all I have to give. This message is for Routledge to take to Texas. Let them know that there is one humble Guyanese man who is different” (KN July 9, 2024). There is Armah’s Man, the one and only, St. Gabriel, “aflame with sacrifice.”

One hopes that Mr. Lall gets a grip on himself and of the reality around him. Routledge will do no such foolishness as recommended. Nigel Hughes will not abandon his privileges because of St. Gabriel’s sense of sacrifice. Nor will the Guyanese people fall for an ex-Gold Board official who once believed that God sent Granger to save Guyana. The groveling must stop.

St Gabriel may very well ponder another of Arnold Itwaru’s poems:

Here i cower

from the day’s

drain and glare

a shadow

a wrinkled skin

cover me gently

night’s linen

prepare me

prepare me

Dr Randy Persaud, an advisor in the Office of the President of Guyana, read African and Caribbean Literature with Professor Ato Sekyi-Out, a Ghanian philosopher.