I WILL only address you as Mr. President when we are in those overly formal situations which demand it. Outside of that formality, you will be Uncle David to me because you are family, and I hope that by holding you so close to my heart, it will encourage you to keep me close to yours.I know for certain that I have faith in you and one or two of your soldiers. I recognise that at this point in Guyana’s history, a government led by you is the best choice for our nation moving forward. But I don’t think many Guyanese realise just why this was so necessary. It is necessary because it is the first step in changing the political tradition which has ripped our nation limb from limb.
Tonight, I expected to be happy now that you’ve been sworn in, but instead, I find myself in a kind of pain for which I am still too young to describe with just the right words.
Tonight, Uncle David, I am in tears, and I look at my family and I look at the walls of my home and I feel as if I am alone here, and as if I am homeless.
Many of us have said much about what one government or the other has done to Guyana. But most of our stories seek only to cast blame on one side or the other. But me, I am lucky that I can see the bigger picture; I see that it isn’t one side or the other, but it is the entire system and tradition of politics which have been responsible for our state.
Let me tell you about my life, Uncle David; let me tell you about what our country’s tradition of politics has taken from me. It has taken my mother’s peace and replaced it with a fear so heavy that it drags her into deep, dark places where even I cannot reach her. It has taken my Nani’s good sense and replaced it with a loyalty to men and women who will never love her. It has taken my family from me, Uncle David, and replaced them with strangers who look at me across our kitchen table with anger in their eyes.
I have looked steadily back at them, and done my best to calm their fears while dealing with my own. I told Nani to remember that the greatest wars in our Hindu scriptures were fought within families to rid the world of evil. I have told her that it is her own wayward family that has blinded her so, and that love is no excuse for tolerating things which are wrong.
I am not sure she could really hear me. Even the woman I have loved best in my life; even she has been taken from me.
This week I walked through my village to shouts of “We done with dem coolie sk*nt” and “Yuh coolie crass, we gon tek back everything now.” These words will hurt me for years to come, but hurt is all I will feel. I will not feel anger or bitterness or the need to retaliate, because I know that this is the legacy of our political tradition. So you see, Uncle David, I have inherited the hate and anger that is directed to that last batch of politicians for their infamous deeds. And this is yet another thing politics has taken from me, Uncle David; it has taken my face and turned it into an icon which represents one section of the elitist group of rulers who have ruined our nation in the only twisted sort of unity of which they were capable.
The things I feel today, I am certain that many Guyanese have felt them to some degree in their lives. But how many have been able to resist the anger that comes from that sort of pain? How many have been able to keep their fear in check, so that it did not manifest into hate? I am afraid of the answer, Uncle David; very afraid. This is not what our people deserve.
I chose to tell you these things today, because I am certain that even as you go through the necessary social rituals, you are well aware of how serious our situation is and just how difficult the road ahead will be. I want you to remember my words, and keep in mind that every day we spend not bridging the divide is one more day of misery for me and you and all of us. Go with our blessings.
(Re-printed from sarabharrat.wordpress.com and written by Sara Bharrat. Published on May 16, 2015)