Eyewitness: Letting it all hang out

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…at the Henrys’ funeral

Your Eyewitness viewed the funeral service at the Parade Ground of Joel and Isaiah Henry, the cousins who were so brutally murdered behind the back dams of West Berbice. Their bodies might’ve been found aback the village of Cotton Tree, but evidently there’s evidence that the actual killings were done somewhere else and they were dragged to the spot where they were found.

The funeral service was organised by the International People of African Descent Association – Guyana (IPADAG) – even though leader of the PNC, David Granger had promised the families they’d take care of all the expenses – and they shouldn’t take any monies from anyone else. But your Eyewitness figures that since David Granger as President had given IPADAG a $68 million grant to fund their activities, he could count on their support to fulfil his promise.

All in the family?? Well, it certainly looked like the PNC family and relatives. Even though it’s been said –- even by one of the speakers – that these murders were “a Guyanese tragedy”, the gathering was quite partisan looking. Looks like no one bothered to invite anyone from the “Government’s side” – but then, the PNC insists they’re “illegal”. Earlier in the day, President Irfaan Ali had a private viewing of the bodies at the funeral parlour along with Isaiah’s father Gladstone Henry and they both offered prayers. The President said, “In memory of the boys, all of us should commit ourselves to peace, love, and unity and serving God.”

Over at the Parade Ground, it was a different story. First of all, in something new to your Eyewitness, everyone greeted each other with the word “Ashay”, which is of Yoruba origin and means “the power to make things happen and produce change”. There, your Eyewitness caught Nicolette Henry – evidently a distant cousin of the murdered boys – giving an uncharacteristic but understandably fiery speech. She spoke of the boys growing up in a society permeated by “prejudice and inequality” and were “slaughtered by an unjust system”. After five years of her being Minister of Education, your Eyewitness wondered what she’s done during her term to reduce those ailments.

Earlier in the day, PNC Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon at the funeral home had been unrepentant about his earlier endorsement of public protests as a proper response to the murders. He repeated that there must be continued pressure – damn the consequences. But at the Parade Ground, Volda Lawrence – rejected by Granger but still the Chair of the PNC – repeated her conciliatory message of non-confrontation.

All in all, the funeral service was more like a political rally than anything else. The conclusion by Vincent Alexander summarised the mood:

With absolutely no evidence, he declared, “The murders were a hate crime!”

…as war

The ACDA representative read the poem, “If We Must Die” by Claude McKay, written at the turn of the 20th Century when Blacks were being persecuted in the US:

“If we must die, let it not be like hogs

Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot,

While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs,

Making their mock at our accursèd lot.

If we must die, O let us nobly die,

So that our precious blood may not be shed

In vain; then even the monsters we defy

Shall be constrained to honor us though dead!

O kinsmen! we must meet the common foe!

Though far outnumbered let us show us brave,

And for their thousand blows deal one death-blow!

What though before us lies the open grave?

Like men we’ll face the murderous, cowardly pack,

Pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back!”

With us coming off four days of brutal racial confrontation, was this the time and place?

Who’s the “common foe”?

…on Pompeo’s visit

The confirmation that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will be visiting this week and the conspiracy theorists have gone into overdrive.

If they’re to be believed, he’s coming to launch an attack on Venezuela from our soil!!