EYEWITNESS: The morning after…


…the bloodletting

It looks like the storm (of anger and hate) broke yesterday…after washing over and ravaging us coastlanders from Sunday afternoon to late Wednesday night.

Your Eyewitness says “coastlanders” because he’s not sure our Indigenous Peoples are susceptible to this particular avalanche of emotions. So, is it too early for a retrospective look at those four days of hate and horror after the murders of young Joel and Isaiah Henry??

Maybe…but we can’t look to what’s ahead unless we know what baggage we may have either picked up or added to, can we?? Yesterday, your Eyewitness described the shaping of the several ethnic lenses through which we look at each other and analyze what happens between us. We saw a spectrum of sentiments on the African-Guyanese side, starting from Mr Gladston Henry on one end and reaching to that person who hammered that Indian-Guyanese man on the head.

On the Indian-Guyanese side, there was just a shocked and numbed disbelief at the violence directed at them after the assumption that the murders were “racial”. The niece of the bludgeoned Indian-Guyanese man happened to be a young doctor, and she expressed her disbelief and anger eloquently.

The other Indian-Guyanese victims were Ganesh Singh and Prettipaul Hargobin. The first appeared to be a revenge killing; and the latter, who had an altercation with protestors, went home, got a shotgun, and returned to vent his frustration. He shot in their general direction, knowing he was out of range; and he paid the price, as they bludgeoned him to death.

Your Eyewitness wonders what the Pastor, who’d ministered to many of the same people who stoned his vehicle and battered him and his Mixed wife, is thinking today. In the latter incident and so many others, however, individual African-Guyanese protestors helped those being attacked. And for this, your Eyewitness has hope that some good might come out of this; but not without reflection.

No one can pussyfoot around the reality that there are deep fears and anxieties anchored in the ethnic identities we’ve all assumed. Folks don’t just up and beat their neighbours on the head with a hammer, unless there’s something serious going on in the recesses of their minds. So how do we deal with that reality?

We can do worse that have a national catharsis. There have been calls for the setting up of a National Peace and Reconciliation Commission for decades – since the inter-ethnic violence started at the beginning of the millennium. In this forum, folks don’t look for retributive justice…just restorative justice.

Not to take revenge on the “other”, but simply to hear and acknowledge the fears and hurts on both sides.

We can talk, can’t we??

…the politicking

After Volda came out with her call to recognise our common humanity, and for the “protestors” to do so peacefully, and not to block the roads (which is illegal) and presumably not bop folks on the heads with hammers, (which is even more illegal!) Granger and Harmon started backpedalling so fast that your Eyewitness was certain they’d fall on their a55es! Their tough (and irresponsible) talk about West Berbicians forming “self defence societies” was thrown overboard, and they became all warm and cuddly.

What happened?? Did they have an epiphany, like the one that Saul had on the way to Damascus and was converted to Paul?? And stopped persecuting the Christians and became one himself? Hardly!! It was all to do with politics. Volda’s statement struck a chord in the hearts of a wide swathe of Guyanese – including many in the PNC camp – who’d been turned off by Granger and Harmon’s race-baiting.

They’re simply – and desperately – trying to head off a palace coup by Volda!!

…and a need for peace

The rapturous reception Volda’s message received signals that most Guyanese are tired of PNC hardliners Granger and Harmon. Ironically, yesterday, a date for Volda’s case of abetting Mingo’s rigging was set.

Oh, how things have changed!!