AFRICANS are strong, resilient, and long-suffering people. They have endured and struggled through the worst violation of their human rights, which is the enslavement of their peoples. This enslavement was brutal against Africans, because it led to widespread decimation of their populations, way of life, and culture.
By the time slavery was abolished over 200 years ago, the state of mind of the African people was not the same; the chains and bondages had messed with it. Their level of consciousness was displaced. Consequently, this move led to the concept of being a free African man physically, but not mentally. The trauma has endured right down the line to many African descendants.
This Emancipation Day gives us the time to reflect on the hard-learned lessons from the experiences of our ancestors and the elderly.
The lessons learned are patience, resilience, love, long-suffering, pride and dignity. Those lessons are what contribute to our blackness, uniqueness, and intelligence as Afro-Guyanese; they also shape our conversations, visions, and aspirations as a people.
So, celebrate your rich and diverse culture in our way of life, tasty food and beverages, clothing, and fashion.
But there must be a pang of hunger that drives Afro-Guyanese towards the attainment of ‘real’ emancipation. By this, we mean freedom from the shackles and bondages that seek to hold us back; in other words, freedom from mental slavery. This form of slavery is responsible for holding up the progress of so many Afro-Guyanese, because they are fearful of putting their trust in others after they learned from the experiences of their ancestors and the elderly population.
This distrust is putting up the walls between the Afro-Guyanese, and what they see as a government which is Indo-Guyanese. The displaced mistrust is not allowing Afro-Guyanese to heal and truly reconcile with the PPP government, because persons or politicians want them to hate each other.
The distrust is leading to countless missed educational and socio-economic opportunities, because of fear and racial hatred. The mistrust of the PPP Administration has been allowed to continue for far too long. This mistrust has occurred despite the party’s reformation of its image. The party is also trying desperately to stand on a middle ground.
The political mistrust runs so deep that they are willing to give the opposition, APNU+AFC, another chance after squandering Guyana’s socio-economic future. Also, the opposition failed while it was in government to look at constitutional reform, electoral reforms, and pilot change.
Real emancipation could all develop if we start by trusting the PPP politicians and their policies a little more; trust what they are saying that they are a Government that cares, and wants to see everyone in Guyana lead, not the good life, but a progressive life with a brighter future.
Also, this emancipation must be celebrated this year by demonstrating a high level of tolerance of the way of life and uniqueness of our multi-cultural society.
President Dr. Irfaan Ali has taken the lead in coming up with a ‘One Guyana Commission’ that strives to foster closer ties between the various ethnic groups in the society. He hopes, through the initiative, Guyanese can eliminate the scourge of racism that makes us keep ourselves divided. We must have faith and confidence in each other.
This initiative is the only way to accomplish real emancipation for generations to come. Afro-Guyanese willing to walk this long and unfamiliar pathway will be rewarded in the end, because they will get the opportunity of all that the government seeks to offer, as well as any direct benefits that flow from their policies.
Additionally, walking this long pathway to real emancipation will guarantee that the President’s vision of uniting all Guyanese under one umbrella has a chance to succeed. Racism and political hate will be things to frown upon, relegating them into the past.