EID-ul-Adha is a very sacred occasion for Muslims across the world. Being observed during The Hajj, it speaks to selfless sacrifice for spiritual upliftment, and the advancement of all Mankind. It also epitomises generosity and equality as traits for the strengthening of bonds, which are important in the quest for universal peace.
Guyana is a multifaceted society in which its diversity has proven to be its strength. With unfettered and enshrined freedom of worship, all of the religions practised, and through their respective national festivals teach similar messages of peace, togetherness and advancement both spiritually and as a nation. All provide invaluable sources of inspiration to guide and to imbue with hope.
These teachings are embedded in our being and are evident in our actions. In many ways, this has led to Guyanese being fondly referred to as extremely hospitable and generous. As a people, we are also known for our steadfastness and resourcefulness that would have resulted from our individual and collective faith and a desire for better lives.
Over time, our people and country were tested, and through unwavering resolve, we overcame those challenges, and fortified our resoluteness in the process. That could not have been achieved without sacrifices, as our history would underscore. With many of our fore-parents coming from various parts of the world, and having to endure unimaginable challenges and undesirable conditions, our presence today is testimony to their sacrifices, and that of subsequent generations.
Even in these modern times, sacrifices continue to be made. Currently, many are affected by the impact of severe flooding and its aftermath in various areas. Sacrifices in those circumstances are unavoidable, and in a national effort to help mitigate the impact, the government’s timely response to provide relief has been welcomed and effective. Those efforts were augmented by the generosity of other Guyanese, either individually, or through organisations and companies.
That was not the first time such national efforts would have become necessary and undertaken. The flood situation of 2005 and in other instances come to mind. It is also not confined to just within our borders, as evidenced by the most recent efforts to assist residents affected by the volcano in St. Vincent and the Grenadines other such endeavours in the past to other sister CARICOM nations.
In all of those instances, it wasn’t just the wealthy that gave, but many ordinary citizens offered what they could in the true spirt of wanting to help others. That, in itself, speaks to sacrifice in the interest of others. Just over a year ago, our country experienced a very dark chapter, when democracy was under siege, and our freedoms severely threatened by the then coalition government, through their glaring attempts to subvert the will of the Guyanese people following the March 2, 2020 elections.
That was an extremely turbulent and testing period, when uncertainty and fear pervaded. In the end, after relentless struggles, the truth prevailed. It was again demonstrative of that ingrained and irrefutable resolve of Guyanese to not just safeguard hard-fought freedoms, but to ensure that efforts for individual and collective advancement would not be compromised, despite the tremendous difficulties.
That is the epitome of sacrifices, and has been characteristic of our people, over time, as inspired by our fore-parents and the teachings of our various religions. Here, in Guyana, all have learnt from each other, and it is customary that we participate in each other’s festivals.
As sacred sacrifices will be made today, the sacrificial meat will be shared with many others across the country, in keeping with tradition and efforts to foster relationships in this enviable multicultural, multi-religious and multi-ethnic society.
It will not just be the manifestation of what Eid-ul-Adha represents, but a reflection of our collective religious teachings, and what defines us as Guyanese. With a history of being able and willing to make sacrifices, and a trait of generosity to be envied, this sacred day of Eid-ul-Adha, in many ways, reflects all of us.