Needed: plain, hon­est men and women

Stabroek News Sunday - - LETTERS... -

en­shrine what is right, just, and good for this na­tion that con­tin­ues to re­ject out of hand ev­ery op­por­tu­nity to give it­self a chance? En­shrine pos­sesses an in­de­fin­able sacro­sanct el­e­ment that has been so dis­tinc­tively ane­mic in de­lib­er­a­tions and vi­sions. As we cel­e­brate In­de­pen­dence, there is great fruit­less search­ing for that free­dom of the spirit, that free­dom from fear that in­vig­o­rates the gen­uine and the cleanly heav­ily com­mit­ted. Where is it? Where are they who know only the bind­ing con­straints of unswerv­ing prin­ci­ple, ide­al­ism of rare order, and a sprawl­ing soar­ing pa­tri­o­tism?

It takes plain, hon­est men not cap­tive to delu­sions of per­sonal grandeur, or an­gling for nu­anced ad­van­tage to move moun­tains with bare hands wher­ever they may be. The is­sue might be real con­sti­tu­tional re­form; or sub­stan­tive toothy cam­paign fi­nanc­ing laws. Or it could be pow­ers or groups and how to bal­ance their in­ter­ests and man­age in­se­cu­ri­ties. It is in­struc­tive that, on what ought to be this mes­mer­iz­ing day that is the 26th of May, it took blood and bar­bar­ity to re­mind of the pal­tri­ness of our na­tures, the ve­he­mence of our pas­sions, and the sin­gu­lar neg­a­tiv­ity that saps the vi­tal­ity of a so­ci­ety grasp­ing for foot­ing while reach­ing in vain for nonex­is­tent life­lines. It took mur­ders and sui­cide and crimes to over­whelm tem­po­rar­ily the daily con­cerns and ap­pre­hen­sions about oil, about gov­er­nance, about the ten­u­ous free­doms that feel more like bur­dens, chronic pains, and un­mov­ing yokes.

Plain, hon­est men: can we be? To rise above the swirling con­flicts and sim­mer­ing an­i­mosi­ties to breathe work­able com­pro­mises from slen­der con­sen­sus; to stag­ger away from the cru­cible that de­vours char­ac­ter and vi­sions and the will to craft the new norms of a truly free day and way. The plain, hon­est men of a then shaky United States, united more in name than in re­al­ity, had their own en­fee­bling de­struc­tive race is­sue. They called it that “pe­cu­liar in­sti­tu­tion” of slav­ery. Through civil war and dar­ing con­sti­tu­tional amend­ment that di­vi­sive is­sue still re­mains too psy­chi­cally em­bed­ded; too en­vi­ron­men­tally fer­tile two hun­dred years later. There is that hard les­son for Guyana.

For on free­dom day in Guyana there is still the slav­ery of all too vivid emo­tions, set­tled men­tal­i­ties, and the over­pow­er­ing reach of a per­va­sive cor­rupt­ing ethos. Break out. Break away. Break through. But to where and what are the ques­tions. Those ac­tions re­main all too elu­sive at the in­di­vid­ual and col­lec­tive lev­els. We per­sist in what has em­bit­tered and twisted be­yond recog­ni­tion, in de­fi­ance of com­mon­sense, in de­nial of po­ten­tial. This is what pre­vails. Some free­dom it has been….

It will take plain, hon­est men (and many such women, too) to lift out of the mo­lasses of racial and na­tional dogged­ness. Again: does this coun­try have them? And now in­creas­ingly rel­e­vantly and im­por­tantly, do they care to risk their in­con­spic­u­ous plain­ness and trea­sured hon­esty for what just might be a lost cause? Or in even more stark terms, one not worth sac­ri­fic­ing for? Yours faith­fully, GHK Lall

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