September 27, 2016

Vishnu Bisram should continue to write against race issues

Dear Editor,
Rajendranauth R Singh (a fictitious name?), writing in another paper on February 28, urged the editor of that publication not to feature Vishnu Bisram’s letters. That paper did not carry my response. Let me state I religiously look at papers to see if Bisram has penned any commentary or news report. I look forward to his views. He is erudite and objective. I look forward to and compliment Bisram’s reports on the Diaspora, his travelogues, and his commentaries on varied issues. Bisram has his finger on the political pulse in Guyana and does an excellent job of analysing Guyana’s politics and clarifying issues relating to the political landscape. Few write as professionally and with balance as he does; he lambastes all three parties (PPP, PNC, AFC), exposing their failures, broken promises, and selfishness. He tells us to reject all three for their failed leadership. He is the kind of person the country needs in leadership and I encourage him to enter politics to give Guyana racial equality. I thoroughly enjoy the exchanges between Bisram and Freddie Kissoon. I have not seen any recent exchanges between Freddie and Bisram; I can assure you there is a lot of readership on those exchanges because whenever I visit the roti shops in Richmond Hill, people talk about it. Freddie is anti-PPP but the others give a more balanced view of that party.

Unlike Rajendranauth Singh who wants to bury the race issues under the sand, I applaud Bisram for confronting Guyana’s race dilemma head on and offering a proposal to resolve racial conflict. He calls a spade a spade. He and Ravi Dev have advanced proposals for resolving our racial conflict.   I salute Bisram for his position on resolving the race conflict. He and Dr Hinds consistently call for equitable power sharing so that no race predominates over another race.

Race is everything in life and particularly so in Guyana. If it were not, why APNU would said it needed AFC’s 11 per cent Indians to win the elections? Bisram recaptured some of the difficulties in his commentaries over the years. It is well known that Indians and Africans during the period of the 1960s were at each other’s throats divided in their support for PPP and PNC. But when oppression stepped in during the late 1970s and 1980s, Indians and Africans gravitated towards each other and looked out for each other’s survival. My grandfather was a Police Officer and when he brought home confiscated foods (like sardines, salt fish, bread, potatoes, split peas, channa, etc), we shared with our Indian neighbours. They were treated badly and several of them were jailed by Police for selling contraband goods.

They invited us to jhandi and Koran Shariefs and their Christian services at home. Now, Rajendranauth tells Indians to forget their experience and move on. Is he joking? I feel insulted that someone would tell me to forget racist experiences during the 1970s and 1980s.

How would my African people feel if someone tells them to “move on” from slavery? How would African-Americans feel if someone tells them “move on” from the past experience of Jim Crow racism? And if it is Rajendranauth wants to move on, how come he does not give the coalition government that message to move on from all the allegations being made against PPP? CR Peters says five Indians in a committee of 142 is fair representation. Really? Is that how your parents train you to be non-racial and not to see race? How about if it were the reverse – five Africans (or 14) and the rest being Indians – would Africans accept it? Would Peters accept it? Don’t Peters and Rajendranuath see anything wrong in the under-representation of Indians, Amerindians, Chinese, and Whites – the gist of the complaint reported by Bisram. Have they not seen any value in Bisram’s critique of the composition of the committee? I shudder to think about what they consider as “fair and balanced”. By his view, Rajendranuath won’t have any problem going back to slavery and indentureship because he tells Indians to move on from their past experience under Burnhamism.

Editor, I will condemn my siblings for being part of a committee of 142 that does not speak out against the disproportionate racial composition of the jubilee committee.

Furthermore, I will discourage them from attending any event that does not do justice to the culture of the varied races of the country. We are after all “one people”. Dr Bisram, I encourage you to continue to speak out against racial injustice.

Yours truly,
Tanesha Jacobs

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