I remain pessimistic about Guyana’s future – race issue remains largest stumbling block to any real progress, development

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MR GORDON Forte must know that DNA is part of the human physiology that evolves quite on its own. If I traced mine it would take me to the home of my ancestors, India. And hasn’t that Indian DNA contributed in great and glorious ways to the advancement of human civilization!Each one of us is trapped – to use Mr Forte’s word – by our individual DNA. It is the hereditary and family lineage of our biological makeup and no one can renounce, deny or reject their DNA. How much DNA has to do with behaviour, and with spiritual and cultural evolution is still a matter of that ‘nature vs. nurture’ debate.

However, evolution is not limited to DNA alone. It is because of my evolution as a free spirit that I reject degraded culture and embrace traditions and values, learned from my ancestors, that uplift the human spirit rather than diminish it.

If Mr Forte has no DNA in his family lineage that he wishes to similarly emulate this is truly unfortunate and must be pitied. We can only hope that his personal evolution will eventually catch up with that of the civilised world where ethnic, cultural, and every other identity – gender, sexual orientation, religious, etc, – are guaranteed, protected and respected through constitutional laws, human rights charters, and by a sense of plain moral correctness on the part of every citizen.

Not many of us wish to repudiate our ancestral past and, in fact, my hot-mouth is very much part of my DNA. It comes to me from my nanee, a proud Indian woman from Port Mourant who gave as good as she got and took no eye-pass from anyone. She would be so proud of me for continuing the tradition and might even have a thing or two to tell Mr Forte if she were still alive.

My nanee and aja and chacha and poowah have all contributed to making me the person that I am and if Mr Forte has no similar family bonds to speak of then his happiness as a person must be truly limited.

My response to Ms Nadia Sagar will be brief. If there is no self-denial then why so shy of saying she is Indian? I could leave it there but I would add that she is much too educated to forward the banality that enjoying one another’s cuisine makes us united. And are Indian, African, Amerindian children not as beautiful or is Ms Sagar proposing that dougla children are the real Guyanese as others have tried to do in similar past discussions?

How many times does it need repeating that we have race-based politics and race-based voting? Both sides are playing the race card. If the PPP is more forthright with its comments, the PNC, now APNU, is more sinister for wishing to hide its racist past.

I can counter any crudity on the PPP’s part with that of a picture of a woman with her legs spread peeing on the PPP flag in public. And now another from Buxton with a woman bent over to show everyone her panty. Are those ugly and destructive enough for you, Ms Sagar?

But none of this is really Ms Sagar’s issue. Her real issue with me is that I am a proud Indian and for the self-denying Indian this is anathema.

I guess Ms Sagar finds comfort in the gimmicky slogans of the coalition which are profoundly race based, anyway, with their promise of a magical post-elections unity which has no foundation in truth, fact or reality.

It must be as comforting as eating cookup with achar. There really is nowhere to go with the simplistic banality of using cuisine and hair length as a yardstick for some idea of an identity that is evasive of a simple truth and fact.

This is probably my last letter to the press before elections day. I hope that peace prevails whoever wins. From the discussions this campaign has raised I feel that we have not moved a millimeter nearer to resolving our race issue. This is the largest stumbling block to any real progress and development so I remain pessimistic about Guyana’s future.

RYHAAN SHAH