I thank my friend Freddie Kissoon for his reply to my letter about his wrongdoings as it relates to African Guyanese honour. By Freddie’s standard it was a mild reply. He expressed his disagreements with me without resort to his usual character assassination. I however, wish to make a few points as I close off this episode. First, Freddie says he does not give a “damn” about Black, White, Indian, etc. Well, Freddie clearly does not realise that that is a privilege he enjoys simply because he is not Black. Black people do not have that privilege. Freddie will never be a George Floyd who lives his entire life with a knee on his neck and begging to breathe. Freddie enjoys privileges simply because he is non-Black. He can choose to be blind and not see skin color. But race is skin color with meaning. I am not surprised that he does not see that. He does not have to.
Second, Freddie says I am one-dimensional in my analysis of Guyanese sociology. I know I am not one-dimensional, and Freddie knows that. But he has to place me there to make his point that Black people are too preoccupied with race. A construct which was invented to deny us our humanity. Yet according to Freddie we must ignore it. We must ignore the persistent threat to our humanity and join Freddie in his foolish chant about Mingo. That may be the greatest threat to Freddie. But race and racism are the greatest threats to Black humanity. Freddie can choose to ignore the fact that Black People are the only group which has to constantly proclaim its humanity.
Third, Freddie says Kwayana is not his hero. That is your business, Freddie. But Kwayana is a hero to Black People in Guyana and beyond. He is our Mandela and Martin Luther King. He is our example of public and private morality. You can criticise his politics or his political thought. But you have gone beyond that. You are seeking to desecrate him. In doing so you are wittingly or unwittingly striking at the heart of Black honor and Black being. And for that you deserve the wrath of our ancestors—spiritual and cultural rebuke. Leave our hero alone, Freddie. That is all we ask of you. You do not see black columnists using their columns to every “two morning” desecrate Cheddi Jagan, or Stephen Campbell or Peter D’ Aguiar. Clean up your act in that regard Freddie, just leave Kwayana out of your nonsense.
Let me leave Freddie with a quote from a mutual hero, the indomitable Walter Rodney, who Freddie tries every day to turn into a Black token in service of non-Black narratives of insult against Black people:
“Black Power is a doctrine about black people, for black people, preached by black people. I am putting it to my black brothers and sisters that the color of our skins is the most fundamental thing about us. I could have chosen to talk about people of the same island, or the same religion, or the same class – but instead I have chosen skin color as essentially the most binding factor in our world. In so doing, I am not saying that is the way things ought to be. I am simply recognising the real world – that is the way things are. Under different circumstances, it would have been nice to be color blind, to choose my friends solely because their social interests coincided with mine – but no conscious black man can allow himself such luxuries in the contemporary world.”
Rodney, our hero, according to your one-dimensional characterisation is very guilty. Freddie, you would excommunicate him from your congregation of Rodneyites. That is another task you have when you visit us in Buxton for that much awaited speech on what Kwayana did when he was Sydney King— you will have to explain to them why your hero is just as one dimensional as others. And while you are at it Freddie, tell Buxtonions if you change your mind about whether Comrade Jagdeo practiced “ideological racism” (systemic racism) when he held office. And why you asked a one-dimensional “racist” named David Hinds to be your expert witness.
This story too sweet, my friend. After the election is over and your workload gets lighter, we will still hang out and have a good laugh at how you let Mingo make you say weird things about your cherished Rodneyite friends and dash them out of your church. Your Rodneyite church is now empty because you just expelled the last two members on Tuesday. You have to recruit new members. Recruitment time—Comrade Bharrat, Comrade Ali, Comrade Priya, Brother Shuman and do not forget those statues of democracy you promised to build around Guyana. Soon full again, High Priest of the Rodneyite church—until your next mass expulsion exercise.
Dr David Hinds