I FIND it nauseating — as a patriot, nationalist and Pan-Africanist — to read in the local newspapers almost on a daily basis, U.S. Charge d’Affaires Bryan Hunt’s comments on every aspect of Guyana’s internal affairs: from when we should hold Local Government Elections to who must sit in the Parliament, to how we must vote in international forums, and how we should manage the wealth from our resources to the legalisation of same-sex marriage, etc.
Pan-Africanist Kwame Toure cautioned us many moons ago that “Black visibility is not Black Power.” He was explaining the deceptive and sophisticated system of control exerted under neo-colonialism. When we were a colony, we could see the white faces in power dictating our every move. Neo-colonialism ensures “black faces in high places,” while empire dictates from behind closed doors, although Hunt is certainly not remaining behind closed doors. He is displaying a disturbing level of confidence as he oversteps the boundary of his role as a foreign diplomat in Guyana, announcing his directives openly and without hesitation.
The language and posturing are disturbing. Language such as “the Government of Guyana has been spoken to” on this or that matter is a warning of what is to come. Hunt was recently quoted in the Kaieteur News as saying that “it is clear that the vision of the new Administration is very close to that of the U.S.A. for Guyana.”
I, for one, would like to inform Mr Hunt that, in the spirit of our ancestors, we intend to demand our right to forge our own national vision, and we do not expect any other nation on earth to have a vision for us, including the United States of America.
I am constantly amazed at the power of white supremacy, especially the way it has imprisoned the minds of non-white peoples. Too many of our leaders are so intellectually incarcerated that they are not even aware of their slavish behaviour and utterances.
Many of them on the one hand proclaim pride in their own culture, and relish events where they wear the clothes, eat the foods, and dance the dances of their culture, but are at the same time unable to view the world from a perspective that is rooted in their own culture; instead viewing everything with a European gaze, a gaze that is so instilled in them that, as I said, they are often unaware of their slavish mentality.
African intellectual warrior Jacob Carruthers said, “Neo-colonialism besieged Africa at the very moment of political ‘independence’ precisely because the African leaders had been nurtured on foreign ideologies and alien principles.” It is these same alien ideologies and principles -– Soviet-style Marxism, Neo-liberal Capitalism, the Westminster system and so-called Liberal Democracy — that have Africa and much of the ‘Third World’, including Guyana, in such a mess today.
This is what made Forbes Burnham an outstanding thinker and leader. Burnham was determined to steer us away from this type of ideological, political, cultural and economic enslavement. Recalling Burnham’s vision for true independence and self-determination all those years ago reminds us of the degree to which our nation has degenerated, making our current state of affairs seem all the more depressing.
Hundreds of years of colonialism ensured that all colonized peoples were indoctrinated with a Eurocentric perspective on all matters – theological, philosophical, political, cultural and economic. In a nutshell, this perspective instilled in us the idea that, in the words of African historian W. E. B. Du Bois, “Whiteness is ownership of the Earth.” This is a false notion that consciously or unconsciously most of our people hold on to until this day.
Afrocentric scholar Molefi Kete Asante points out: “The liberation of the minds of African people (and all colonised peoples) will be a tougher battle than the eradication of settler (colonial) regimes.”
To free oneself from this type of mental slavery requires each of us to engage in a conscious and determined act of relocating and repositioning ourselves and our worldview within our own culture.
Ideologies, as well as political and economic systems, are all products of culture. Europeans have taken what is particular and specific to them and their culture and, in their arrogance, have universalized what is an ethnocentric worldview. They relentlessly enforce this ethnocentric worldview worldwide in a variety of ways, both overt and covert, using brutal military force when all other methods of coercion fail.
It is only by the conscious act of emancipating ourselves from mental slavery that we are able to become fully aware of, and resist, the ongoing tyranny of White Supremacy.
Bryan Hunt, British High Commissioner Greg Quinn, Canadian High Commissioner Dr Nicole Giles and the European Union Representative to Guyana would do well to remember that they are from a group of nations that has no moral or historical right to pronounce on how Guyana or any ‘Third World’ nation governs itself.
They need to be mindful that they represent a group of nations that has committed more human rights abuses, carried out more ethnic cleansing and genocide, committed more war crimes, and plundered more of this earth’s natural resources than any other nation or group of nations in the history of humankind.
Any corruption that takes place in our country or any other ‘Third World’ country pales in significance to the well documented corruption, on a global scale, that the West European and American empires have presided over in the past and right up to the present day.
Driven by the ideology of White Supremacy, these nations are in fact responsible for more terrorism and brutality than any other force in human history. The trans-Atlantic trade in captured Africans alone was a Maafa (holocaust) responsible for the deaths and suffering of millions, not to mention the genocide of indigenous peoples globally. The list of their atrocities is endless.
By referring to themselves as “the international community,” a misnomer for a minority of nations, including the U.S., Canada, Britain and France, they arrogantly place themselves in a position of authority on all matters global while excluding the views of the majority of nations. This racial minority has managed to maintain its control over the majority of the world’s peoples by what Euro-American theologian Rosemary Reuter describes as the three ‘Ds’ – deception, destruction and domination.
American political scientist Samuel Huntington, in his book, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, frankly admitted that “the West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion…but rather by its superiority in applying organised violence. Westerners often forget this fact; non-Westerners never do.”
Are these the values that we wish to inculcate and reproduce as we forge Guyana’s future and the future of the Caribbean as a whole?
The deception and hypocrisy is everywhere to be seen for those who have eyes to see. The new face of imperialism – posing as a defender of human rights, rule of law, democracy and justice — is juxtaposed with a blatant continuation of the same terrorism that has characterised its behaviour for centuries: permanent warfare, genocide, plundering of ‘Third World’ resources, economic exploitation, and regime change whenever a government does not serve the interests of empire. The democracy they speak of is a façade, even in their own countries, where Black youths are being gunned down in the streets; and despite their immense wealth, thousands are homeless and millions are living below the poverty line.
The manifesto of Britain’s RESPECT Party points out that, “The gap between rich and poor in Britain is now wider than when Charles Dickens wrote about the work houses and poverty of Victorian Britain.”
It may seem that in Guyana, “Westoxification” has caused us to forget who these people really are. It may appear that we are swept away by the deliberate promotion of foreign-mindedness, used to manipulate our people’s thinking, combined with the seemingly convincing act on the part of the imperialists to appear as our saviours and protectors from all things evil. However, many of us right here in Guyana and millions of the victims of their crimes worldwide know that despite their deceptive posturing, they are the same “men of death” that Guyanese poet laureate Martin Carter described in his famous poem “This is the Dark Time My Love.” They are still “watching us sleep and aiming at our dreams.”
We are living in dangerous and difficult times. Our leaders are forging ever closer alliances with empire, regardless of what it stands for. They would do well to remember the courageous words of Dr Martin Luther King, gunned down in Bryan Hunt’s country by agents of White Supremacy for exercising his right to the very democracy and freedom of speech that they so love to boast about: “Cowardice asks the question: ‘Is it safe?’ Expediency asks the question: ‘Is it politic?’ But conscience asks the question: ‘Is it right?’ And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but because conscience tells one it is right.”
Our hope lies in the fact that the past and the present are filled with people who will never surrender to the tyranny of White Supremacy. A victory of the people can only come about when we, as a people, find the consciousness and courage to give birth to a truly independent Guyana.
Only then will we have completed the liberation struggle begun by our ancestors, the struggle to exercise our inalienable right to self-determination.
GERALD A. PERREIRA
Organisation for the Victory of the People (OVP)