"Mamoo Rohan, I am happy that you did not live to see how they dishonour us as the world comes rushing in like a pack of starving dogs."
One Monday morning a year or three ago, I jumped from dreams to the living world to hear that my uncle had died. He was my mother’s youngest brother and my first real friend. My instinct was not to mourn, I comforted my mother. When times are hard, we take care of our own.
In times of mourning and sorrow, I cannot help but think of what politics and the struggle for power by a few men have done to Guyana. I have been thinking of this for years.
All around me, there were minds, young and old, thinking of how they can conquer. Nothing has changed.
Often, those of us who have spoken passionately about change have done so using war metaphors; war language. And every time I hear it or read it, I think that we have forgotten the primary aim of war and its chief motivation.
We have forgotten that those who fight war, fight to possess and for the rewards which come after a defeat that is named a victory. They do not fight for you, or for me or for people like us – the people who work. They fight for themselves and for the spoils of war which now include the promised riches of oil.
This is what we’ve done for a long time, we’ve treated our country like a war-zone and our country men and women as if they were our enemies condemned to be the pawns and spoils of war. We’ve cared for nothing but filling our pockets and securing power. This is why we are a house turned against itself.
The solution is not a complex thing. It’s as simple as choosing not to speak of our future in war language and refusing to listen to anyone who comes to us with such words. Words are powerful. The words we speak shape the future we live.
When they come to us whispering about our differences, smile and tell them that our differences make us strong because we grow from it. Tell them that when times are hard, we look out for our own. Guyanese worthy of the title look out for each other, for our home, for our region. Answer them softly but firmly.
Guyana is at a moment in time where we can secure our future for generations to come. The decisions we make and how we choose to act will be felt by our children and their children. In a time of oil riches and change unlike anything we’ve experienced, we should not be speaking war. Today is not about us. Today is about tomorrow. Today is for our children.
Heal Guyana is a registered, not-for-profit organisation which functions as a civil society platform that focuses on empowering Guyanese and influencing citizens toward positive behavior change.
The views expressed herein are those of the Author; they do not necessarily reflect the views of Heal Guyana or its Executives.